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"Jammed" feeling toe (Read 3487 times)


ultramarathon/triathlete

    I've had this nagging toe "injury" for several years now.  Basically, it feels like my right toe is perpetually jammed. 

     

    Short version:  I think it's related to running on the treadmill --when I do the bulk outdoors it is not bad or almost gone.  SEEMS to come back when I ramp up the treadmill miles.  But the treadmill fits into my training schedule so well.

     

    Long version:  It started maybe 4 years ago when I was in high monthly mileage training for the NYC marathon --much of the training was done via treadmill due to time constraints (running at lunch = quicker than running outside since I had to go a ways to get a good route, being in Manhattan --mentally I can handle the "wall stare" for 40 minute runs several times a week).  I do my long runs outdoors.

     

    Eventually I went to a "standard" podiatrist who made orthotics that seemed to alleviate the pain.  Soon my left hip got out of whack, which was way worse, so I ditched the orthotics (probably should have gone back to that POD but did not.) --hip got better, toe got worse.

     

    Another year went by (this is not horrible pain, but annoying and constant and affects me more when not running than running).  I went to a "sports specific" podiatrist  who said (if I recall correctly) I over pronate on that foot and constantly jam the toe.  He said the orthotics I had were not sports specific so he made a "run specific" pair.  Those did not really help the toe at all, but did cost me $500 --my insurance did not cover them. 

     

    I stopped wearing those because again my hip started to hurt (I never seem to learn!) and they were not helping the toe anyway.  I should have returned them, but don't know if you can do that kinda thing.  And I was lazy. 

     

    When I was training for IMLP'11 last season I added a lot more x-training, almost all running was outdoors.  Toe pain seemed to mostly go away.   After Ironman, I became lazy in training and the toe pain completely went away.  I was running maybe 2x a week then, outdoors only, as opposed to 6x a week --much of which was indoors when the toe was always hurting.

     

    After a month or so of the lazy spell, I ramp'd up my running (outdoors only) and all was well until I started to add more treadmill time (my office has a gym so I can duck down at lunch and get 40 minutes in very easily).  Toe pain is back.  I think it really gets worse when I add treadmill running, but I'm not living in a perfect research vacuum so who knows, maybe it is just related to general increased mileage regardless of the surface. 

     

    So, thoughts on this?  Could it really be a function of running on the treadmill?  Should I get different shoes for treadmill work, maybe use my vibrams (which I don't love, but that's another story).  I'd hate to not run on the treadmill because I can easily get another 25+ miles a week in that way on top of my evening and weekend runs.   

     

    Thoughts or suggestions?  

    HTFU?  Why not!

    Coach: Empire Tri Club 

    Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club
    USATF Coach

      I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "jammed". The end of the toe is pushed up against the shoe? Or the toes are squashed together sideways? If either of these then it sounds like the shoes are too small - either not wide enough or too small a size.

       

      What kind of surface do you normally run on outside?


      ultramarathon/triathlete

        It's jammed in the sense it "feels" like I stubbed it, maybe a few days ago, realllly hard, and it still aches but is getting better.  Though it never actually gets better.  The jammed feeling comes from the joint where the toe connects to the foot.  It's not really the tip of the toe, more the joint of the toe.  It's kind of a dull throbbing feeling.  He POD did xray it and said it was not broken, fractured or missing cartilage. 

         

        Outside I run on the road a lot, asphalt.  Some trail runs which I'm doing more of, but there is a lot less trail than asphalt in NYC. 

        HTFU?  Why not!

        Coach: Empire Tri Club 

        Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club
        USATF Coach

          Pain in that area is sometimes associated with gout - maybe that's something that you could ask your doctor about?


          ultramarathon/triathlete

            I'll look into that, but I don't have any other symptoms that would suggest gout (the joint does not appear warm or red and is not  tender to the touch).

             

            Also, I seem to be able to directly link it to increased mileage, but I'm just not sure if that is general mileage, or treadmill mileage.   And would an increase of uric acid show up in a physical with a blood/urine screening?  I recently had one and my results were 100% good on all counts. I have the print out of the lab results, but not sure what to look for to see uric acid (if that was even tested).

             

            After finishing the final season of The Tudors, I hope it's not gout!  That looked pretty crappy! Dead

            HTFU?  Why not!

            Coach: Empire Tri Club 

            Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club
            USATF Coach


            Feeling the growl again

              Do you use the incline?  How much?

               

              It is certainly possible that it could be related to the treadmill.  I know for a fact that I use different form on the treadmill than outside.  My shoes even wear differently.

              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

               

              RunAsics


              Person of Interest

                 Why does everyone always say gout?  Someone at work was told he had gout because of similar pain... not gout.

                 

                I have a similar toe issue and I know what caused it... stairclimbers and froggers, in soft shoes, during a CrossFit class over the summer.  Toe jamming to the max.  Anyway, it took at least 2 month for the pain to go away.   It recently came back.  I initially feel tightness on the top of my toe then a dull pain in the same area spreading to the joint as the toe is flexed up while running and sometimes walking.  Does not hurt to touch.  It's either a deep bone bruise in the joint and/or a sprain.  

                 

                My self treatment thus far has been NSAIDs and ultrasound.  However, I'll likely end up at the Dr if things don't improve. But I know for sure that he'll tell me to stop running then send me for an x-ray and say take NSAIDs.  After that he'll state that I to see a specialist who'll then state I need surgery after some other highly expensive procedure, like an MRI.

                "Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin, unless this is the action, which it is."

                  I previously had a similar issue with the big toe on my left foot (it 'seemed' to be after treadmill work & hurt more when walking later than when running).  Around the same time, I was at one of those hotel gyms with too many mirrors and noticed I was running pretty forward (close to console) on the treadmill.  I positioned myself more in the middle-to-back of the belt and have since tried to be aware of where I am in the treadmill.  My toe problem went away - but it could be completely unrelated. 

                   

                  I vaguely remember something to do with the dress shoes I wore at the time.  I was convinced they were part of it.  I would kick them off at first opportunity at end of day.  I now have another pair of shoes for that purpose.  So there are two possibilities, either of which may be unrelated. 


                  ultramarathon/triathlete

                    My self treatment thus far has been NSAIDs and ultrasound.  However, I'll likely end up at the Dr if things don't improve. But I know for sure that he'll tell me to stop running then send me for an x-ray and say take NSAIDs.  After that he'll state that I to see a specialist who'll then state I need surgery after some other highly expensive procedure, like an MRI.

                     

                    Well said!   The big reason why I generally skip the Dr (on these minor things) as much as possible.  Always the same fix --"that hurts?  don't do it" rather than "that hurts, try doing it differently --here are some non surgical suggestions."  

                     

                    And for the record, I do believe NSAIDs do the trick, though I'm not keen on taking meds at this point, as it's not killin me pain-wise.  

                    HTFU?  Why not!

                    Coach: Empire Tri Club 

                    Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club
                    USATF Coach

                       Why does everyone always say gout?  Someone at work was told he had gout because of similar pain... not gout.

                       

                       

                      I didn't say it was gout - I said that pain in that area is sometimes caused by gout. If you don't know what the cause is then it's reasonable to consider any plausible causes for your symptoms. Clearly some people do get gout...

                        Which toe is it?  I had some soreness in my second toe (which is a tad longer than the big toe), particularly in the joints, where it joined up with the foot, and into the ball of the foot.  It did feel sort of jammed as you described it, but my main worry was that I had a stress fracture.  I talked to an ortho about it informally and he thought it might be something like hammertoe.  Not rising to the level of a deformity requiring surgery, which is what you'll see if google hammertoe, but enough to cause me to put extra pressure on that toe and its joints when I pushed off with that foot while running (I've been running for a few years and oddly, it just started happening this year.  Not aware of any changes in my running form, but in any event....).  I started taping the problem toe and the soreness went away within a week or two.  By winding a short strip of sports tape from the bottom of the big toe, across the top of the second toe, then back under the third toe, it seems to keep that problem toe better aligned and stops me from pushing off with it.  

                         

                        Never did officially consult any sort of MD or POD about it since the soreness has abated.  I'm going to keep wearing the tape for a few weeks then try running without to see if I've trained my funky second toe to stay in line.  Anyway, just thought I'd throw my experience into the mix, FWIW.


                        Marathonmanleto

                          Try a bigger shoe.  Sounds simplistic, but I had the same issue for many years.  Always lost toenails--still do, but went up 1/2 size in my shoe size and many of my issues disappeared.  Someone said that over the years as we run our feet get flattened and actually increase in length.

                            I didn't say it was gout - I said that pain in that area is sometimes caused by gout. If you don't know what the cause is then it's reasonable to consider any plausible causes for your symptoms. Clearly some people do get gout...

                             

                            I didn't say it was gout either.  But it was (for me).  Serum uric acid level and other criteria were used in a diagnosis I had neither considered nor cared to consider.  I searched for 'big toe treadmill' just now to update this specific thread.  A certain RD in TN has instilled a fear of NSAID in me.  And now I have a bottle of indomethacin.  Fantastic. 

                             

                            So I hope 'Jammed feeling toe' issue was much simpler and not even a concern at this date and time.  But just in case people find this thread later, I thought I'd add a follow-up. 

                             

                            Good luck & have fun.  

                              Dave, 

                               

                              Did the podiatrist give it a name?

                               

                              I have capsulitis (aka predislocation syndrome) which sometimes feels as you describe.  Orthotics help some, but taping and icing also help.  I wasnt really on board with the icing at first, but it helps tremendously (better than NSAIDs) so now I do 10-15 min every day.

                               

                              I can offer some taping tips if you think this is your condition.

                               

                              And yes, a treadmill can change your gait, and it can make a difference to a sensitive foot.  Think about (or look at) your form next time you're on one.  Make sure you're not landing differently, and not pushing too hard with your toes ("toe off" late in gait).  


                              ultramarathon/triathlete

                                Podiatrist didn't seem to be helpful, and I stopped going.

                                 

                                But I've switched entirely to Saucony Kinvara for ALL of my running (previously only ran up to 10 or so miles in them).  I've run 5 marathons in them this year alone, and there is no toe pain anymore.  I'm aslo running on the treadmill again, though always at at least 2% incline now, so a bit slower. 

                                 

                                Anyway, for several months there's been no toe pain.  I think maybe the toe box in the kinvara is bigger than the Asics DS Trainer that I used to do my long runs in.  Maybe that fixed it?  

                                 

                                Anyway, at least for now, I'm happy and pain free!  

                                HTFU?  Why not!

                                Coach: Empire Tri Club 

                                Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club
                                USATF Coach

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