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Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 4:57 am
by forestkeeper
Just recently, in the past couple of months, I have been having severe pain in the balls of my feet. :( Most recently, this past week, while the weather has been utterly rotten to hike in, I've been going to the gym. To simulate hiking, for one to two hours, I walk on the treadmill starting on an incline of 4% at 3.2 mph, then through the course of an hour or two, increase the incline to 6%, 8%, 10%, 12%, and 14% then back down. Now the balls of my feet have a stabbing pain, and it hurts to walk. Both feet hurt even when lying down. :cry:

Any ideas?

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 7:08 am
by kelkev
Sorry to hear this Forestkeeper, I am all too familiar with what you are going through. I am blessed with high arches, narrow feet, and an extremely thin "fat" pad on the balls of my feet. I've been to a few podiatrists, tried some expensive custom orthotics as well as about every "over the counter" orthotic (Superfeet, etc.) and have had some physical therapy sessions.....but my metatarsalgia still flares up now and then. My issue is primarily "sesamoiditis", which is a chronic inflammation of the big toe sesamoid tendons, along with general ball of foot pain. It never goes away.

Frustrating? YES.

I've got a pair of self adhesive gel foot pads that help immensely, mine have a cutout under the big toe joint (specifically for sesamoiditis), but longer hikes still give me some pain. Cushioned shoes help (I've given up clunky boots for trail runners with more cushioning and wider toeboxes).

My days of mega mileage day hikes are behind me (I'm almost 50 years young), but with my foot pads, the right shoes, and some common sense, I can still hike without too much pain. In your case, I'm guessing the incline on the treadmill aggravated some muscles/tendons and with some rest/ice/stretching, you'll get back to normal in a few weeks. Just don't keep pushing through the pain, in my experience, it only makes the recovery longer.

Kevin

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 7:24 am
by forestkeeper
kelkev wrote:My days of mega mileage day hikes are behind me (I'm almost 50 years young), but with my foot pads, the right shoes, and some common sense, I can still hike without too much pain.Kevin
Thanks Kevin! I'll follow your advice. :) I'm 50 too and can feel every year. :cry:

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 10:40 am
by kepPNW
forestkeeper wrote:To simulate hiking, for one to two hours, I walk on the treadmill
First thought is "repetitive stress." Especially if this is brand new and coincides with a brand new activity. When I was dealing with sciatic nerve pain (halfway between 50-60, here!), I "discovered" something that was a bit counter-intuitive. Relief came from walking on extremely uneven terrain. Taking it easy, walking in sub/urban areas, just plain hurt. Crawling around on rocks and over roots, basically ambling down a trail, was my only source of relief! Maybe it's just the extreme repetition, without variation, that's bringing it on?

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 1:16 pm
by sprengers4jc
Good ideas from Kevin and Karl. I know you have been hiking EC alot and that trail is murder on the feet! So there could definitely be an injury component to it. Also, I have ball of foot pain very badly on my right foot. That is because I had bunion surgery years ago and it changed the way I stepped. I have an enormous callus on the ball of my foot and it will actually wear holes in any inserts I have. So now, I just cut the hole out and move on :D. Problem solved :D.

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 5:27 pm
by forestkeeper
kepPNW wrote:Relief came from walking on extremely uneven terrain. Taking it easy, walking in sub/urban areas, just plain hurt. Crawling around on rocks and over roots, basically ambling down a trail, was my only source of relief!
That's why you are an extreme Loony hiker!!! :lol: :lol: Rocks and boulders.....here I come! ;)

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 5:33 pm
by forestkeeper
sprengers4jc wrote: So now, I just cut the hole out and move on :D. Problem solved :D.
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I'll try the Tom Hanks approach! :lol:

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: December 11th, 2015, 5:35 pm
by kepPNW
forestkeeper wrote:
kepPNW wrote:Relief came from walking on extremely uneven terrain. Taking it easy, walking in sub/urban areas, just plain hurt. Crawling around on rocks and over roots, basically ambling down a trail, was my only source of relief!
That's why you are an extreme Loony hiker!!! :lol: :lol: Rocks and boulders.....here I come! ;)
Ha! "I'm not a doctor; I only play one on the internet!" ;)

All I can say is, while I have no problems walking 25 miles through the forest, I'm hurting after only 5-7 miles on pavement.

Hope you find some relief, too!

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: February 2nd, 2016, 7:42 pm
by Double Tree
Ken I was just going to suggest -- perhaps the hardness of the surface is a problem. Concrete can hurt, but soft duff in the forest doesn't as much. I can walk all day on soft springy trails. Put me on concrete at work, and I feel it.
Kelly

Re: Metatarsalgia (Ball of foot pain) When Hiking/ Walking

Posted: February 3rd, 2016, 1:47 pm
by 5th
Make sure you haven't started over-tightening your shoes in the ball area. I did that and ended up limping for weeks. Crushed some nerves between foot bones. Probably not your issue, but possible...