It seems that the tops of my feet don’t really like what the bottoms of my feet are doing to them. And my calf muscles must take some of the blame too.
When you overdo it with barefoot running, one of the common ailments is called top of foot pain (TOFP). I have it in spades right now. It hurt so badly last weekend that I actually had an MRI done because I was convinced I had a stress fracture. Thankfully the scan came back clean, minus a bit of “lighting up” on my fourth metatarsal. Now the other foot has joined the party and I’m left with really bad TOFP–so bad that I am putting running on hold until it clears out. My fear is that if I don’t lay off running, it will result in a stress fracture, in both feet. Did you know that they can’t double boot you in that case? Which I guess would mean either a wheelchair or doing one foot at a time until they heal. Yeah, I am NOT going there!
You’d think I’d be crushed because I was only six or so weeks back to running after my horrible lay off from ITB. I am bummed, of course. But I can deal with this. For one thing, I have no races on the horizon. For two, I wasn’t back in fighting shape yet anyhow, so as far as fitness goes, there’s just not that much to lose right now. And hopefully, hopefully, a few weeks away from running will help.
I’m lined up for a massage today to focus on my calf muscles and acupuncture next week. I’ve of course checked in with the sock doc on this and his thoughts are that a weak bottom of the foot often causes pain on top of the foot. That makes sense to me. In spite of the fact that I have gone without orthotics for several months now and spend the vast majority of my waking hours in bare feet, the reality is that my feet were encased in shoes for years and are still weak. I got caught up in how good it felt to run barefoot and overdid it.
Will I go back to barefoot running once my feet calm down? Yes, yes, yes. I am convinced it’s the best path to better running form. I just need to be more cautious. Lesson learned. Now if only my warring parts will kiss and make up, there might be some peace and harmony to my running.