I have been experiencing for pain for some time. The pain has always been located in the front areas; ahead of the ball of my foot and in the toes. Usually, the toe discomfort has been in the second through fourth toes from the base of the toe to the end, but occasionally the large toe joins the action. Itís a sharp, burning pain. The forefoot pain is always between the balls of my foot and the bottom of the toes. The pain is almost always there after a steep and rough descent. Consequently, itís generally at the end of the hike; the final few miles are extremely tough.
Once the pain reaches a very high level I have no choice but to stop and wait for it to subside. Usually, only a few minutes are needed for the recovery. This stop and start routine always happens several times during a hike. A few years ago I needed fifteen to twenty miles before the pain was unbearable. Now, a short hike of seven to ten miles can do it.
Well, seven to ten miles is at best about half the normal hike distance Iím interested in during the summer. A while back I started really digging in for information about the potential problem and possible solution by chasing symptoms on various high-reputation websites. The Mayo Clinic site was one of my primary targets having been recommended by a number of doctors that I have personal experience with.
Last week, we completed two relatively short hikes; Hancocks and Tecumseh. Multiple times on the exit hike for the Hancocks I needed to stop and wait for the pain to go down. The same was true for Tecumseh. I ended the day with sore toes. The toe pain generally remained all week and I started the hike yesterday with sore toes.
In researching the symptoms that I was experiencing the information seemed to point to common causes for two different conditions. I donít know which or even if one of the two conditions is mine but I decided to address the possible cause to see if a solution was available. The first solution I decided on was a metatarsal pad. On-line there are a number of sources for these items. Theyíre inexpensive and available from a number of manufacturers. I was interested in finding a local source. I checked everywhere for these things and could only find models intended for women (evidently, these are popular to address foot discomfort caused by certain shoe types). In the course of my research, I found the same general complaint exists with many runners. Last resort, I called a store that caters to runners and they had exactly what I was looking for. I drove over and picked up a pair.
Friday I installed the pads into my boots. On Saturday, I started the day with sore toes and we hiked the Whiteface & Passaconaway loop. Roughly an hour into the hike I decided the right boot felt great but the left boot needed some adjustment. I removed the foot bed and repositioned the metatarsal pad. Back underway the left boot felt significantly better than before. I didnít make any additional stops to adjust the pads, but there was still room for improvement on the left side.
We completed the hike and I did not make even one stop for toe pain. I canít remember the last time I was able to complete a hike without at least a couple stops. My toes hurt at the end of the hike, but probably no worst than they did at the start. Iím very happy with the change.
Maybe, Iím headed for a solution to the problem.