Pain on the outside of the foot is generally due to overuse on a particular spot. It’s important to determine which part of your gait cycle is causing the pain. The most common issue is excessive lateral contact, which means you’re landing on the outside of your foot (inversion) before rolling inwards.
This happens due to a weakness in the muscles that’d normally evert the foot, so strengthening the peroneal muscles should be a focus point. One way to do this is with ankle eversions. Place a resistance band around the ball of your foot and the other end around a sturdy structure like a table leg. Move until the band is under tension, sit down and flex your foot away from the table, keeping the heel in one place.
Aim for 12-15 reps.
Another common reason for pain is supination. A supinated foot has poor shock absorption and puts pressure on the cuboid and fifth metatarsal. To relieve symptoms ensure you have a neutral cushioned shoe and, in some cases, a custom insole that has a lateral border to encourage a neutral position.
A key note with this type of pain is to reduce load until your foot has recovered, as continued overuse can cause severe discomfort and inflammation. Work on peroneal strength and ensure your shoes aren’t too supportive – this will solve the majority of lateral foot pain cases. For a more thorough assessment, get your gait analysed.
Richard Felton is Technical Director for Mar-systems.co.uk and sports biomechanics expert