That pain in my big toe just has not been going away. So, I’ve been doing a lot of research and I found three common injuries to the big toe in runners: Turf Toe, Fractures, and Sesamoiditis. Before I get into these injuries, let me show you a little about the foot.
“The sesamoid bones are two pea-shaped bones, located in the ball of the foot beneath the big toe. Acting as a pulley for tendons, the sesamoids help the big toe move normally and provide leverage when the big toe “pushes off” during walking and running. The sesamoids also serve as a weight-bearing surface for the first metatarsal bone (the long bone connected to the big toe), absorbing the weight placed on the ball of the foot when walking, running, and jumping.” [Foot Health Facts.org] Now that we know a little about the sesamoids lets get into three common injuries.
This injury causes immediate, sharp pain and swelling. It affects the entire joint and also limits the toe’s motion. Sometimes at the time of injury a “pop” can be felt.
Well my pain has been ongoing and changes constantly. There was no “pop” and my toe can still move so this isn’t it.
A fracture in a sesamoid can either be acute or chronic.
An acute fracture is caused by trauma to the toe. The pain and swelling are immediate.
A chronic fracture is a hairline break in the sesamoid and produces long withstanding pain in the joint.
Trust me, I would know if I had a fracture. Which brings me to
This is an overuse injury involving chronic inflammation of the sesamoid bones and the tendons involved with those bones. Sesamoiditis is caused by increased pressure to the sesamoids. Often, sesamoiditis is associated with a dull, longstanding pain beneath the big toe joint. The pain comes and goes, usually occurring with certain shoes or certain activities.
So I’ve decided that the pain in my big toe is sesamoiditis. My pain has all of the characteristics of it. Now what am I going to do about it? I did some more research based off of a conversation my hubby and I had a few months ago. He has had some major feet issues since about April or May of last year. He got Plantar Fascitis in BOTH feet so he hasn’t been able to run much until recently. We started talking about feet and how we can treat them better. We both basically came to the conclusion that we should give minimalist running a try. He was very much into the idea of trying out the Vibram Five Fingers but I was very apprehensive about it. Instead I’ve been trying to find a shoe that has a lot less bells and whistles but I haven’t found one that feels just great yet. So back to my research. (In the interest of keeping this from being the longest post EVER, I’ve linked some of the articles that gave me my conclusion.)
I’m going to give barefoot running a try. Not right away though; I’m going to use my time away from home to ease the transition so I can come back stronger and injury free (hopefully!). Then I’ll get back into my marathon training and the aim is to complete the Holualoa Marathon on December 11, 2011.
Until then, there’s going to be a lot of toe strengthening and ice in my future.