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The top of the foot consists of many bones, nerves, ligaments, and tendons that can all be affected and painful. The foot was made for stability and mobility – two distinct and naturally exclusive functions. This demand on the foot necessitates many different “pieces” to accomplish its role in movement. Most all activity of our daily lives and our athletic lives puts significant strain on the feet and can lead to different injuries.
There are varied causes for top of foot pain. This situation makes it difficult to diagnose for a non-medical professional. However, location is the most reliable determinant and can help with early detection. The following three conditions are the most common causes of pain on the top of the foot.
Tendonitis (Extensor Tendons) – Tendonitis is the most common cause of pain at the top of the foot among athletes and active individuals. The pain is generally felt near the toes and emanating into midfoot. Tendonitis is often caused by overly tight calves, tying shoes too tight, or general overuse tendonitis from repetitive movements such as running. Tendonitis is often experienced during the latter portions of training for a marathon when high mileage runs are prevalent. Running on hard surfaces, excessive hill training, and poor footwear are factors that make an individual at a higher risk for extensor tendonitis.
Fractures – Fractures are a rare but serious cause of pain on top of the foot. They are most prevalent in older individuals that remain active without proper form and diet. Fractures can also be caused by acute trauma such as kicking a door, having been stepped on, or falling. Swelling and pain occur at the fracture location, with the pain being felt during any movement and to the touch. Tarsal fractures often occur at their distal end, near the toes.
Arthritis – Arthritic conditions can cause any number of additional issues that cause pain. Spurs are often formed that then irritate the nerves. The nerves can then swell (neuroma) and become entrapped between the tarsal bones, causing severe pain during gait. Arthritis also causes a decrease in bone density and makes the individual more likely to experience fractures. Bony swellings often form at the location of arthritic joints and can easily be felt. Flat feet, genetics, and increasing age are all factors that could cause arthritis in the foot.
This KT Tape application will help to reduce pressure among the different components of the feet, increase circulation to combat inflammation, and relax the muscles associated with the pain*. The following additional tip should be followed to combat top of foot pain effectively:
• Proper footwear • Evaluation can correction of gait problems • Weight loss • Rest • NSAIDs • Variation of exercise (trade run days for swimming, cycling, yoga, etc) • Anti-inflammatory diet • Massage • Thorough calf stretching regimen • Ice after activity
For additional resources, please visit the KT Tape Forum.
*NOT CLINICALLY PROVEN FOR ALL INJURIES