Friday, July 30, 2010

Callous Analysis

I'm coming up on three weeks of down time because of my injured right foot. The pain has dissipated from being focused right on the end of the second metatarsal to now being more generalized and often spread out across the top of the forefoot. I've been wearing the boot as much as possible; it does help minimize any pain and keep the foot protected, although being so rigid I have felt as if I were going to twist or break something else from stepping on the smallest of objects accidentally.

After hearing the doctor note the callous under the end of the second metatarsal and a little Internet investigation I decided to look back at a picture I had taken of the bottoms of my feet a few weeks ago after a hot pavement barefoot run. They really were not as bad as they look in the photo (mostly dust stuck to sweat) but the callouses were real. I've outlined with red where the callous was heaviest from my foot coming into contact with the ground (It looks like a smaller sole within a sole). The dashed blue line indicates where I believe my foot would have been striking if I hadn't been wearing such a motion controlling shoe. The Asics I wear fall somewhere in the middle for pronation control. I think if I had been running exclusively barefoot or in a shoe that would have allowed me to pronate over at least to the rest of the forefoot pad I wouldn't have developed such a callous where in effect I was pushing off over the second metatarsal that is not designed for such a load demand.

Barefoot running may have exacerbated the issue once this callous, that was already well-developed from running in shoes, was subjected to tens of thousands of footstrikes and push offs with the second metatarsal directly above it. Your feet can provide a lot of information. Take a look at callouses and blisters, etc. to see if they're not trying to tell you something. If you don't, I have a sweaty boot and crutches I can loan you.


  1. The callous on the edge of the big toe and edge of the ball of the foot are not from pushing off or striking the ground but rather from abrasion from the mileage in the Vibram FiveFingers.

  2. I kind of figured that. I think your profile shot shows the callous even more dramatically. Looks like it would be painful!