T Nation

Toe/Foot Issues

Here’s a fun one.

2 weekends ago I participated in Tough Mudder New England up here in the cold reaches of Vermont. The course was 10 miles long with another 3.5 miles tacked on with the constant elevation changes, and it was a blast. This one was way harder than the one they had in NJ last year, but that stuff’s not really important.

The point of this post is the injury I sustained while running the event. I wore my Vibram Five Fingers (don’t knock it til you try it), and about 3 miles in when we were going down the ski slopes at Mt. Snow, which are really fucking steep (and VT soil is notoriously rocky), my left foot slid into a sink hole created by all the mud and snow melt and my toes smashed against a rather large rock imbedded in the soil. At first I couldn’t move my smallest two toes at all, but after a few seconds I could force movement. The family members I had there watching me were urging me to drop out, but first off; I’m stubborn as a mule. Second; I paid a good amount of money to take part in this event, and third; I wasn’t about to quit over a couple broken toes. A minute or two after I got back up to continue I didn’t really feel anything and thought that maybe I’d be alright and they’d just be bruised. Wrong, guess again.

After a few more minutes I started to feel a God awful pain every time my left foot hit the ground. I ended up running the entire rest of the event (which is a distance obstacle course designed by members of Great Britain’s SAS, their version of Navy SEALs) limping every left footfall. It wold have been fine if it was mostly flat ground and there weren’t obstacles, but what good is a challenge if you don’t finish with the taste of blood in your mouth, right? >:)

Tough Mudder was fun and all, but afterward I took off my Vibrams and looked at my foot, and my pinky and fourth toes were black and blue and swollen bad, as was half the outside of my foot. The medics told me to ice it but I didn’t have the time since afterward we took my mom out for Mother’s Day dinner and had a long drive to the north end of the state to get home.

Already long story short, I iced them the next day and the swelling went away, but they’ve started to hurt worse since that weekend. It’s not so much my toes (except when I stretch them) as it is the joint or knuckle, whatever you call where the toes attach to the foot. It’s like the outer part of the ball of my foot is all cracked and broken. I was finally starting to walk without a limp when it started to kill again, so now I’m back to hobbling around.

I can move my toes, so nothing’s officially “broken,” but I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of crack or fracture there that’s fucking things all up. What do you guys think?

Oh, and here’s a real fun kicker to add. I cringe at the thought of going to the doctor, as I just had surgery for an inguinal hernia 8 weeks ago and just got the bill for that. FML

Also, I apologize for the lengthy post, but I hate seeing posts with too little info, and for this category of forum it’s probably best to give a lot of info if you’re going to ask other people’s opinions.

Even though you can move your toes it sounds like there is some sort of hairline fracture to them or the pain wouldn’t be so bad. The area of your pain could be the metatarsal which would be in sync how you sustained the injury. Very common in soccer players, rugby players etc when landing hard on the ground.

Other than recommending you go to some sort of therapist (but like you say they don’t come cheap) you could invest in a cyro cuff which is a jazzed up version of an ice pack. It would promote healing faster and can be left on throughout the night etc. Linked below:


I was searching for info about heel problems when this came up so I hope you’ve had better luck since you posted. Hope it doesn’t fuck up your plans to much.

I’ll knock it cause I have been trying it longer than anyone I know. Podiatrists are starting to see upper metatarsal fractures (exactly what this sounds like) pop up among barefoot runners, much the same way shin splints, PF and other problems pop up among regular shoe runners. Do your research and understand the theory. Barefoot training is great, in the right conditions and circumstances.

i think you should go to the doctor. and probably get an x ray.