Transitioning to mid/forefoot running- injuries to the foot

edited September 2012 in Running Injuries
I have started my transition from heel strike to mid/fore foot 2 months ago. I bought the Kinvara3 and Brooks pureflo. My hamstring injuries have reduced due to massages and shorter distances. but recently i have been doing brick runs (running after a 20 k bike ride) as this is my main mode of transportation to and from work. My runs are short 1.5k - 2 k each time so essentially i ride to work run for 2 k, end of the day ride home and do another 2 k (2 to 3 times per week). the last week I have been feeling some tenderness in my tarsometatarsal (Lisfranc) Dorsal ligaments. i have been trying to put ice on it.. my distances are not long but can it be that im am not transitioning properly? should i be resting more? does anyone have this problem. the thing is that i only get it on my right foot. and i know that my right foot pronates more than my left. I never have that problem when i heel strick but then my hamstring becomes tender due to overstriding.

im just scared that i am injuring my cuboid or later cuneiform?


  • "Top of foot pain" as it is colloquially called seems to anecdotally be pretty common among people who try to transition to quickly, particularly if you are forcing foot-strike change. I know that I ran too far on my first run in Vibrams a few years back and felt pain in the same area afterward - rested it and avoided those shoes for a few weeks an all was well, then built back up much more gradually.

    Basically, if you are altering your gait you are applying force to the feet and legs in different ways. It doesn't make the force go away, it just shifts it around, so your hamstring may be offloaded a bit but your foot is taking a bigger brunt. It needs time to adapt, so back off for a bit and give it the time it needs to adapt and remodel tissue to handle the new force application. Last thing you need is a problem like a stress fracture that knocks you out for 6 weeks!
  • Thanks for the quick reply! I'll back off running for a few weeks thanks once again. Btw love your reviews on shoes! Btw I'm sure it's somewhere in your blog but can you direct me to the site where you talk about transitional running programs and how to gradually phase in the new running styles ..thanks
  • Haven't actually written a transition program, it's on my list of topics to tackle. Here's my post about my own transition which probably comes closest:
  • I took a few weeks off running now (3 weeks) with nightly ice baths

    starting to begin the transition again. I know that when i run, i make a conscious effort to point my toes down when running... is that bad.. i have noticed that my gait is still a bit long (its about 45-55 cm in front of my center of gravity). should i still be shortening my stride.

    whats the down side of consciously pointing my foot down when trying to change to midfoot running? would i be running into "top of the foot pains again" 

    every week i try to run about 2 times now and each week i increase it by about 2 blocks

    so far i have worked up to 4 k and injury free..should one plateau at about 5 k for 2 weeks and then increase??

    and further advice ..or am i still transitioning too quickly?

    because i really dont want to take another month off running
  • The key is to not force a forefoot strike as that leads to a lot of tension in the foot and lower leg, and I speculate that may be a contributor to this kind of issue. Relax your feet and let them land where they want. Instead, focus on a short stride out front. You'll never land directly under the COM, but closer is what you want to aim for. Use mental cues like "vertical shin on landing" or "put the foot down behind me." If you get the stride right and keep the foot relaxed, things will fall into place.

    Do you know your cadence?

  • I've found that if I have my arm swing way out it causes me to over stride a touch.  I read on the Natural Running site about "nip to hip" arm swing.  I really worked for me!  I has shortened my stride and caused my cadence to pick up.
  • thank you i will try this on my next run by shortening my stride.. It is to be expected that speed would initially decline correct?

    I dont know my running cadence how does one calculate that beside for timing it and counting the number of "revolutions/strides"

    however my cycling cadence is between 83-95
  • I run around 170 steps per minute now which is just counting the number of times your feet touch the ground in a 60 second period.  180 is the general goal.  I have found my speed did not decline as my steps are quicker since they're shorter.

  • As Steve says, if you increase cadence as you decrease stride length, speed should not change much. Speed is simply stride length x cadence. It's OK to have a long stride, but better to lengthen stride through increased hip extension on the backside than reaching forward with the foot on the front side.
  • Thanks im working my proper form now.. so far have been running about 4 k 18 mins and injury free !!

    the rest really did help... now just increasing distance very slowly approx 400 meters each run..

    I'll count my cadence and see if i need to take shorter strides

    in this transition process is it better to run often and less distance than to run long distance and less frequently?

  • I'd lean toward more often, less distance. Less chance of overload I think. When my wife transitioned, she ran 3x per week.
  • Hey Pete just wanted to update you about my current transition since recovery from "too soon too much" so far worked up to 6.5 k and injury free. no more top of the foot pain just slowly adding 500 m each run. cadence between 172-178 and speed is the same.
  • Awesome, good to hear it!
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