Running With Foot Pain?
Learn How To Stop Foot Pain When Running

Are You Tired Of Running With Foot Pain?

Most runners don't want to stop running just because they have foot pain.
Watch this video to learn how to stop foot pain when running.

7 Deadly Running Training Errors That Many Runners Make & How You Can Avoid Them So You Can Continue Running The Mileage You Want. More 4 Life Physical Therapy, St. Louis MO

Why You May Be Running With Foot Pain

There are many different things can cause foot pain when running.  Fortunately, the location of the pain can help you figure out what's causing your foot pain.

Common Types Of Foot Pain When Running:

  1. Bottom Of Feet (Arch Pain)
  2. Bottom Of Feet (Heel Pain)
  3. Top Of Foot
  4. Outside Of Foot
  5. Ball Of Foot

Why Do The Bottom Of My Feet Hurt When I Run?

If the bottom of your feet hurt when you're running, you're not alone.

Plantar fasciitis, or arch pain, is one of the most common causes of foot pain when running.

However, not all foot arch pain is caused by plantar fasciitis.  Foot arch pain can also be caused by muscles or nerves in your foot, or sometimes it can be referred from your lower back, particularly if you also get back pain when running.

The reason the bottom of your feet hurt is often due to incorrect running mechanics.

Overpronation is the most common cause of foot pain when running.

Overpronation means excessive flattening of your foot.  When your foot flattens too much, it can overstretch your plantar fascia, plus the muscles and nerves on the bottom of your foot.

But what causes overpronation?

Overpronation can be caused by:

We'll talk about proper running shoes for foot pain later in this post.

Use the links above to read some of our other posts to learn exercises to help you get back to running safely.

Want More Tips For Plantar Fasciitis?

Running with foot pain? Learn how to stop foot arch pain when running.

Why Does My Heel Hurt After Running?

Plantar fasciitis can also make your heel hurt during or after running.  The plantar fascia attaches to the inner part of the heel, and that is one cause of heel pain.

However, there are more common reasons for heel pain when running.

Some of these include:

  • Running with too much heel strike
  • Having a high arch foot that doesn't absorb shock well
  • Ankle joint or calf stiffness

As you can see, there's not always a one-size-fits all solution.

However, the good news is, you don't have to continue running with foot pain!

Learn How You Can Get Back To Running Without Foot Pain

What Causes Running Foot Pain On Top Of Foot?

Pain on top of the foot when running is often caused by running shoes that are too tight, or a toe box that isn't tall enough. This can put pressure on the tendons on top of your foot.

If you have pain on top of your foot, try loosening the laces in the front part of your running shoe.  If that doesn't stop the pain, try getting a wider pair of shoes.

Additionally, if you've recently added an orthotic into your running shoe, make sure that you've taken the liner that comes with the shoe out.  This will allow more room for your foot to fit inside the shoe.

Top Of Foot Pain When Running Can Be Caused By Nerves

If you have current back pain or a history of back pain, make sure that your pain isn't being referred from the lower back.

running with foot pain on top of the foot can be caused L5 radiculopathy

The L5 nerve root can refer pain, numbness, or tingling into the top of the foot. It's terminal branch, the deep peroneal nerve, can also cause similar symptoms.

Entrapment of the deep peroneal nerve, also known as Anterior Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, can cause numbness, tingling, or pain in the top of the foot when running.

Modifying footwear as above, and improving ankle and calf flexibility are the primary ways to treat Anterior Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

What Causes Running Foot Pain On Outside Edge Of Foot?

Pain on the outside edge of the foot can be caused by a number of factors.

If your foot supinates (turns inward) too much, you may land with the weight on the outside edge of your foot.  This can cause pain along the outside edge of the foot.

Additionally, if your foot pronates too much (flattens too much), it can cause the lateral (outside) arch of your foot to flatten and the cuboid bone to "drop" out of place.

As you can see, both too much pronation and not enough pronation can cause pain on the outside of the foot when running.

So how do you stop pain on the outside of the foot when running? 

Custom orthotics are usually necessary as most off-the shelf orthotics only support the medial (inside) arch of the foot and don't support the outside arch of the foot.

Additionally, you want to make sure you're correcting the right problem - over-pronation or over-supination.

Our physical therapists would be happy to help you figure out which problem you're dealing with, and how to stop it so you can get back running your normal mileage.

Need Help For Foot Pain While Running?

Nerves Can Also Cause Pain On The Outside Of Your Foot When Running

Remember the picture above that showed the nerve roots from the back?

Just like the L5 nerve root can cause pain on top of the foot, the S1 nerve root can cause pain on the outside edge of the foot when you're running.

Likewise, just as the deep peroneal nerve can cause numbness, tingling, and pain on top of the foot, the superficial peroneal nerve can cause pain. numbness, and tingling on the outside of the foot.

Running With Foot Pain In The Ball Of Foot

Pain in the ball of your foot when running is referred to as metatarsalgia.

The metatarsal heads (the ball of your foot), can get irritated in people who have a high-arch foot.  In this case, most of the pressure of your bodyweight is on your heel and the ball of the foot.

Additionally, when you're running, you land with an impact force of 2-3 times your bodyweight.  A high-arch foot doesn't absorb shock well, so when you land with this amount of force, and that force is mostly on the heel and ball of the foot, it can easily create pain in the heel or ball of your foot.

A cushioned orthotic can help absorb shock in a high-arch foot and prevent running pain in the ball of the foot.

Running Technique Changes To Help Ball Of Foot Pain

Landing with a midfoot strike and taking shorter, quicker steps while running minimizes the force on the ball of your foot when running.

Stretches For Ball Of Foot Pain When Running

If your ankle joint and calf muscles aren't flexible enough, it causes an early heel lift when you're running.  This in turn causes your weight to transfer to your big toe earlier than it should during your running stride, which can cause pain in the ball of your foot.

Stretching your calves can help prevent pain in the ball of your foot when running, but many people do calf stretches incorrectly.  Learn how to stretch your calves correctly in this post.

Want To Learn More Stretches For Foot Pain?

Running With Foot Pain? Download our "7 Stretches For Plantar Fasciitis" PDF

What Are Best Running Shoes For Foot Pain?

There's no one best type of running shoes for all kinds of foot pain..  There's also no one best running shoe for all runners' feet.

In general, running shoes fall into one of 3 different categories:

  • Motion-control shoes
  • Stability shoes
  • Neutral Shoes

Motion Control Running Shoes

Motion-control shoes, as the name suggests controls pronation of the foot  They are good for severe overpronators.

Some examples of motion-control running shoes are the Saucony Omni 20

and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 Running Shoe

Stability Running Shoes

If you have flat feet that moderately overpronate when running, you probably need a stability shoe.

Stability shoes give a moderate amount of pronation control while being a little lighter than motion control shoes.  Stability shoes are good for moderate overpronators.

Some examples of stability shoes are the Saucony Guide 14 Running Shoe

or the Brooks Launch GTS 9 Supportive Running Shoe

Neutral Running Shoes

Neutral running shoes don't control pronation.  They are designed to keep the foot in a neutral position while providing cushioning and shock absorption.  Neutral shoes are good for people with high arch feet or people who overly supinate when running.

Some examples of neutral running shoes are the Saucony Women's Endorphin Pro Running Shoe

or the Brooks Launch 8 Neutral Running Shoe

Do I Need New Shoes If I Have Foot Pain When Running?


Although having the right shoes is ONE factor that's important in preventing foot pain when running, it's not the only factor.

When runners are injured, the first thing the usually try to do is get a new pair of shoes.

If that pair doesn't work, they try another pair, and another pair.

Here's the thing about foot pain when running...

It's usually NOT just the shoes that are the problem.

It's usually also NOT just the orthotics

...and NOT just the foot or calf flexibility

In fact everything above the foot affects how your foot feels when running. 

So, you can waste a lot of time, money, and frustration trying different shoes, orthotics, and "quick-fixes", or you can find the root cause of your foot pain so that you can get back to running comfortably, AND keep the pain from coming back in the future.

Tired of Running With Foot Pain?

Tap the button below to get your Back To Running Evaluation

What Is The Back To Running Evaluation?

The Back To Running Evaluation includes:

  • Running and Injury Review
  • Training Plan Assessment
  • Running Technique Analysis
  • Strength & Flexibility Assessment
  • Doctor's Report of Findings
  • Therapeutic Recommendations to get you back to running quickly

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