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What Causes Pain on the Outside Edge of Your Foot After Running?

Pain on the outside edge of your foot (lateral pain) after running can be caused by multiple things. Learn about the causes and treatments here.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Shir Lapidot
Edited by Shir Lapidot

Published October 31, 2021.

Lateral foot pain occurs on the outside edge of the foot when walking, running, or even from general use. It can occur either before, during, or after activities like running and walking. As with all other types of pain, the key to pain relief is prompt management.

Can You Break the Outside of Your Foot?

In what is known as the Jones fracture, you can break the shaft of the 5th metatarsal on the outside of your foot. It is caused by repetitive stress, overuse, or an acute onset injury and results in significant lateral foot pain. Unfortunately, the area is not well vascularized, meaning healing may be slow or difficult.

Common Causes of Pain on the Outer Edge of the Foot

Lateral foot pain is quite common among runners and athletes in general. Most times, it can be traced to multiple possible different causes, such as:

  • Ankle sprain caused by rolling over on the ankle.
  • Cuboid syndrome (injury to the joints and ligaments surrounding the cuboid bone) that results from repetitive strain.
  • Tendonitis (inflammation of either the peroneal or posterior tibial tendons).
  • Stress fractures caused by repeated overloading during sports activities.
  • Foot bunions that are caused by genetics or tight-fitting footwear with pointed toes or high heels.

Can You Keep Running With Outer Foot Pain?

You can suddenly develop outer foot pain while running. If that happens, do not attempt to continue as it may worsen whatever may be causing the pain. Seek to identify the cause and set about relieving the pain first.

How to Relieve Pain on the Outside of Your Foot

The appropriate approach to the management of pain on the outside of the foot depends on the cause and the stage of healing before intervention. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are the first steps to managing pain on the outside of the foot. You may also need to avoid bearing weight on the limb until your doctor assesses it, or invest in a pair of custom orthotics for running.