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Two Common Foot Conditions Experienced by Runners

My training for the 4-way with cheese at the Flying Pig continues. In the past week I have had the opportunity to run with a couple of new partners. New friends means new discoveries and often new courses and things to see. It also seems to bring more questions… seems it doesn’t take long – once my running buddies find out I’m a podiatrist— for a variety of foot and ankle issues to make their way into conversation.

So I thought I’d share one from last week.  “I get this white stuff between my 2 smallest toes… what’s that?”  (notice I’m not using any names here so as to save embarrassment – but I know you will smile when you read this)  Of course I never SEE the issue, so I’m left to guess.

One of 2 foot conditions common to runners comes to mind:

1: A soft corn (heloma molle) usually occurs at the base of the web space, but can occur closer to the end of the toes. It is caused by the 2 toes getting squished together (in tighter toe-box shoes), rubbing each other, and a build up of skin occurs in response to this pressure.  These are usually most painful in shoes, better when barefoot and feel like a burning sensation.

2: athletes foot (tinea pedis) is caused by moisture building up between the toes (usually if your toes are curled up tightly) making the environment fungus friendly. This may look like a crack in the skin, itches or burns, and tends to be bothersome whether wearing shoes or not.

The treatments for athletes foot vs a soft corn are vastly different:

Home treatments for #1 are: wider shoes, gentle filing, NON-medicated padding (I never recommend acid patches/liquid on toes), toe spacers.

Home treatments for #2 are: better drying b/t your toes, baby powder in your shoes daily, OTC fungal creams. high tech wicking socks.

I hope you find this information usable, informative, or at least worth filing in the memory bank.


Keep running healthy!