About 2 years ago I had a really strange numbness in the top of my right foot around the third and fourth toes. I could “activate” the numbness by rubbing a little spot just below my ankle. There wasn’t any pain involved, so I didn’t think much of it, but I asked my doctor about it when I went for my regular checkup. He ordered an MRI, and called me up to let me know this was the result of a stress fracture and that I should stop running (and cycling and swimming) and wear shoes until I had a chance to get in with a podiatrist.
After three days of wearing shoes (I usually go barefoot), the pain showed up. It wasn’t anything unbearable, but when I got to the podiatrist, he prescribed total rest for a couple of months. I rested it, but didn’t have any improvement, so when I went back he concluded that it wasn’t a stress fracture after all and that it was probably just a neuroma and could be taken care of with a shot or two of cortisone. Man, was I happy I’d spent those months doing absolutely no cardio and losing all that fitness for nothing!
Since then I’ve been dealing with minor flare ups here and there, but I did notice that after my 70.3 race in May there wasn’t any pain at all, which was surprising. Yesterday evening I was about halfway through an 8 miler I noticed a really sever crown in the road. I mean, it all of a sudden seemed like I was running on the side of a mountain. I moved over to the middle of the street and instantly felt relief in my right foot and calf. I’m realizing now that this crown in the road has probably been the root cause of my issue.
I have really high arches and supinate naturally, so I think running on the left side of the road against traffic on our neighborhood roads has exaggerated that. I don’t really run any other places (yet), but I’m going to try out some different routes on sidewalks to see if it makes a difference. I usually avoid sidewalks because the concrete is so much harder than the asphalt on the roads, but I think it may be worth a shot to see if that remedies the issue.