There are several structures on the top of the foot which can commonly lead to pain after sports. The extensor tendons are a group of tendons on top of the foot that help both the toes and ankle move upward. With repetitive activity or overuse these tendons can become inflamed causing pain on the top of the foot. Symptoms will typically worsen with activity and improve with rest. Tight fitting shoes may also aggravate symptoms.
The joints in the middle of the foot where the long bones connect to the square bones are called the tarsometatarsal joints. These joints along with others in the middle of the foot are called the midfoot. Like other joints in the body like knees and shoulders the midfoot joints can develop “”wear and tear” or arthritis. What’s really occurring is a loss of the cushion (cartilage) in between the joints. Over time this can be progressively painful, and can be worse with sports. High arched feet tend to be stiff throughout the midfoot and arthritis is common in this foot type.
Repetitive high impact activities can lead to stress fractures. This can cause pain on the top of the foot. Essentially, any bone can develop a stress fracture in the foot. Patients will often describe a pain that started as a mild and over weeks or months worsened. Many times there is an increase in activity such as starting a new exercise program, or more training for a race for example. The biomechanics and the shape of the foot are important for the doctor to evaluate as these factors often contribute to these injuries.
The most common stress fracture I see in the office are of the metatarsals, which are the long bones of the foot. The second one is the longest and tends to take up a lot of stress and therefor stress fractures of the second metatarsal are common. High arched feet tend to be prone to stress fractures of the 5th metatarsal, as these feet place more stress on the outside of the foot. A navicular stress fracture can also cause pain on the top of the foot. Stress fractures of this bone are particularly concerning as this bone difficult to heal due to a poor blood supply.
If you are experiencing pain on the top of your foot after sports contact Dr. Desai at 972-727-9995.