What causes top of the foot pain in runners?

Running isn't actually a pain free sport and up to 75% of athletes will get an injury every year. More often that not that overuse injury is not really sufficient to prevent them running and they commonly just need to back off a bit and use some small treatments to let it get better. From time to time the overuse injury is significant enough that it forces the runner to quit on the sport. There are several injuries that could affect athletes, impacting on numerous parts of the lower limb. Among the most prevalent injuries is what has become known non-technically as “top of foot pain” or ToFP. Medically this is called dorsal interosseous compression syndrome. This is an injury that produces pain on the top of the foot, usually around the highest area of the arch of the foot. This commonly occurs in barefoot runners and also runners who have a tendency to forefoot strike as opposed to rearfoot strike initially when they are running. Running in this way has a tendency to try and force the front foot upwards on the rearfoot causing the jamming of the bones of the top of the foot, bringing about the pain in that region.

To begin with it is treated with ice to deal with the inflammation and possibly anti-inflammatory drugs to settle it down. Most runners will need to cut back on their weekly mileage also to help settle it down. A sensible way to treat this is to work with more of a heel strike when running and use foot supports to help keep the rearfoot up so the jamming in the midfoot doesn't occur. Even though the alteration of running method may well be a good way to help this, it's not easy to perform, which is commonly avoided at first to try and address the issue without doing that. When the other strategies are unsuccessful, then a change in the running method is almost certainly indicated.