The test run last Sunday (summary: short test run, after 7 weeks of rest) went almost as expected. Monday afternoon through to Tuesday afternoon I felt some neuroma discomfort and then it’s been OK since. I expected that, because I’ve been through this cycle on my right foot which eventually got better on its own. Unfortunately, the discomfort is much stronger than it ever was in my right foot, so I’m not feeling entirely confident.
I know I made some mistakes though:
1. I definitely went too fast and my left calf seized up around the same time that my foot started hurting, i.e. 36 hours later. It’s interesting that my right calf did not. I am fairly sure that calf tightness can compress metatarsals even at rest, because I’ve noticed before that vague neuroma aches sometimes go away with calf stretching. So adding unnecessary tightness in my calf is definitely not helpful. Lesson learnt: ease back into it, go much slower next time.
2. I wore the wrong shoes, but I couldn’t have known that before I ran. When this started flaring up, I bought some extra-wide New Balances to rule out the problem of lateral compression of my foot. I never had much success with them in the few times I ran in them as they tended to rub the inside of my left foot, along the side of my big toe and into my arch. This is a strange place for a shoe to rub and the best explanation I have is that my foot collapses too much (over-pronation) and causes friction against the inside of the shoe. As it happens I’m usually more concerned about the opposite (under-pronation), which wear patterns always used to confirm, so I suspect this is a semi-conscious error and I’m trying to roll away from the neuroma, but it results in a kind of shearing force across my foot. So, I think the NBs provide less support than my other shoes (despite both being neutral), and as the neuroma seems to have not benefited from the extra width, I should go back to my old ones, as well as making sure I’m not actively trying to roll my foot.
The original idea was to do another run this weekend, but I’m going to give it another week let it ‘reset’ more before I try again.
But as of next week, either it handles light running without getting worse or I go to the GP to start the ball rolling on more aggressive treatment, i.e. probably surgery. This will take months to sort out (NHS) so it makes sense to parallelise it with hoping it gets better on its own.