Running with Hallux Rigidus
Tuesday, 5 January 2016 | Admin
Hurting heel? Aching arches? Tortured toes? The last thing you probably want to do when any of these conditions start to plague your feet is to take on a heavy run, but if you’ve found yourself dealing with a case of Hallux Rigidus then putting off running until the condition get’s better means you can think about hanging up your running shoes for good!
Don't lose hope, though, Hallux Rigidus can happen to anyone, and it happens to the best of us, just ask Sanya Richards-Ross, the American Olympian, or Shaquille O’Neal of NBA fame, both suffered from the condition and came back fighting fit after surgery. If your case of Hallux Rigidus isn’t for any of the common surgical treatments, don’t fear, running still isn’t off limits.
The big toe has an important role to play during running, it’s the point at which the entire foot pushes off for a healthy and correct running gait. If, in order to accommodate your sore toe, you were to transfer this duty to your smaller toes, you’ll soon find your legs, hips and back will not be thanking you for it. But, as they say, no pain, no gain and there are ways around a stiff big toe that means you can still enjoy the life of a runner.
First and foremost is footwear: Are you wearing the appropriate shoes? Comfort and support is important for Hallux Rigidus sufferers when choosing a daily shoe, but for running shoes it is doubly important. You want a wide toe box so that toes are not squashed, similarly you want support from below, thinly soled running shoes may not provide enough support for the metatarsals and cause toes to splay to the point that it causes pain. Some runners may find that a hiking shoe provides better support for their runs. Rocker bottom shoes which feature a curved sole are recommended by some specialists, as they make the push-off easier on your toe joint. Others suggest flatter shoes, or shoes where your forefoot is sitting at a higher point than your heel as this relieves the strain placed on the toe area.
Know thy feet: No one knows how your feet feel any better than you, if you’re experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort then forget what your internal runner voice is demanding of you – your feet need rest and relaxation. The PRICE is always right – that’s Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Heat can also help relieve pain, nothing fancy is needed, this can be as simple as taking a foot-bath or wrapping an electric blanket around your foot.
Insoles: An insert or insole can help provide better in-shoe support for your toe, as well ensure that weight and pressure is distributed evenly around the foot. The RSL Steeper Insoles are specifically designed to target the issues of Hallux Rigidus and provide high levels of support and comfort for the affected toe joint.
Where you run: A change of running surface can help feet feel better. Try swapping hard pavements and roadsides for grass or country roads. Cushioning of your feet doesn’t always have to take place inside your shoes!
Exercise: A few stretches as flexes, like those outlined on our blog post, can help keep your toe as flexible as possible even when managing Hallux Rigidus, it’s also important to warm up the area like this before you head out on your run. For some people, having a sports therapist frequently manipulate their joint with a series of stretches is enough to help them manage the pain of Hallux Rigidus. Supplements such as Omega-3, Ginger, Calcium and Green Tea can help boost the health and flexibility of the joints, which can help boost the benefits of manipulation.
Cortisone shots: For some a steroid shot directly into the joint provides years of relief and is all they need to get back on the track, for others the effects wear off relatively quickly. As with almost every treatment for any foot condition, there is no one cure that is guaranteed to work for everyone, much like surgery is not always successful for 100% of patients!
Ibuprofen: Over the counter painkillers can help on days when discomfort is particularly bad, although it is not recommended to be running if you toe is having a bad day! While it can be effective at masking the pain, these pills will do nothing to treat the issue and should not be viewed as a long-term or even regular means of dealing with your condition.
Hallux Rigidus can be a difficult condition to live with, but don’t let it come between you and living! Whether it’s stretches, resting, surgery or somewhere in between that you find your perfect solution for this condition, each foot is different, and knowing what is best for you can only be decided by you alone!
Visit our online store to find yourself the perfect Hallux Rigidus Insole!