Flying to the Finish

Help! My soles are burning


I have a problem with burning soles (on the balls of my feet). This only happens after about 45km on the road. I have tried cotton socks, thick socks, thin socks and different inner soles. I ran the Two Oceans Ultra recently and after about 45km, my feet burned intensely. I didn’t get blisters, but my feet felt very sensitive. I run in ASICS (model GT2150) and don’t know what to do anymore. I have been trying to find the root of the problem since Comrades last year. I am 36 years old and weigh 52kg. – ANNELIE VAN DER MERWE (CENTURION)

As you have tried all the conventional ways of reducing the burning of the metatarsal area of the feet, I would suggest an ultrasound to investigate the possible presence of a digital neuroma. A neuroma is a swelling that occurs in the substance of the nerve.

The fact that the burning only starts after 45km, could indicate a small neuroma. Another possibility is that this nerve is being compressed by pressure from dropped metatarsal heads (when one or more of the joints on the ball of the foot becomes inflamed).

The burning of the feet is not a simple issue to resolve and further investigation is necessary to ascertain the actual cause of the problem. I would recommend that you consult a foot orthopaedic surgeon in this regard.

Modern Athlete Expert – Franklin Dubowitz
Medical Orthotist and Podiatrist at the Centre for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics in Rosebank, Johannesburg, with 28 years experience in diagnosing and treating runners and other sportspeople, including many top cricketers.