Common Causes Of Outer Foot Pain From Running

Running has a myriad of health benefits, and it helps you keep fit, but it also comes with some negative consequences. One of the most common effects of running is outer foot pain or lateral foot pain. With this foot problem, you will have some pain on the outside part of the foot which becomes worse when walking and running.

Various things can cause this issue, and it is vital to know them. Also, it is important to recognize signs and symptoms of each because they will help you know the best and easiest ways of dealing with the pain.

​1. Stress Fractures

pain on outside of foot

Stress fractures are one of the leading causes of pain on the outside of the foot and what makes them worse and harder to deal with is the fact that they come in slow and do not feel like fractures. These micro-fractures might be there but not painful until you put the bone under excessive strain when running for long distances and on a regular basis.

Stress fractures can cause pain in different parts of the foot, but the fractures that affect the navicular and calcaneus bones are what lead to the outer foot pain. Because these fractures are tiny, they might not even show on an x-ray until they start healing. However, they are easy to deal with because in most instances a few weeks of rest is all the treatment that you will need.

2. Bunions​

outer foot pain

Bunions are an annoying foot problem both for runners and also for individuals that do not do any running at all. They cause deformity and pain on the outer section of the foot, and they are harder to deal with than other causes of this pain.

Bunions develop when the large toe rotates and faces the other four toes. This rotation causes the bone on the base of the big toe to stick out leading to outer foot pain, inflammation, swelling and redness around the toe. Toe stretchers can help you deal with minor bunions, but in some severe cases, surgery might be the only solution.​

​3. Friction Blisters

Friction Blisters

Friction blisters are another common problem that runners have to deal with regularly. They are a result of shoes and socks rubbing against your foot continuously. The rubbing causes the outer layers of the skin to peel away and create a space that fills up with lymph fluid which is what creates the blisters. Blisters are common for runners, and they are also easy to deal with and avoid.

Wearing the best running shoes with the right fit and enough space is the best remedy for this problem. Also, keeping your feet dry and having something between them and the shoe can also be very helpful.​

4. Ankle Sprains​

side foot pain after running

An ankle injury is one of the common issues that most runners have to deal with it, and it is also a leading cause outer foot pain. Although ankle sprains can affect any of the ligaments in the foot, in most cases they affect the ATFL (Anterior Talofibular Ligament) which gets damaged when you roll the foot inwards while the ankle moves outwards.

This inversion injury tears some or all the fibers in the ligament and leads to pain on outside of foot, bruising and swelling. These sprains are treatable, but it is important to go through rehab to prevent a recurrence. If the ankle does not heal well, it causes instability and pain which can cause future fractures.​

5. Cuboid Syndrome​

The cuboid is among the tarsal bones (they are a total of seven) on the outside section of the foot. Putting too much traction on this bone when running or walking causes it to dislocate which results to the Cuboid Syndrome. This syndrome is in one of the leading causes of side foot pain after running.

Apart from pain, the other symptoms of this condition include excessive pronation and ankle inversions sprain. You can talk to a doctor about possible treatments for this problem, but in most cases, the doctor will recommend rest and to avoid putting too much pressure on the foot. But this will be after determining the extent of the dislocation. In some instances, the doctor might need to reposition the bone to its natural position.

6. Peroneal Tendonitis

outer foot pain

Peroneal tendonitis causes pain on the outside section of the foot and also around the heel. This problem is in most cases as a result of excessive and repetitive tension on the peroneal tendons which results in inflammation, irritation, and degeneration. Frequent overuse of the foot when doing distance running, muscle imbalance, ankle sprain and an abnormal foot position are some of the leading causes if this condition.

Just like with a stress fracture, the outer foot pain from peroneal tendonitis sets in gradually and increases in intensity in over a span of few weeks or even months for some people. The most distinctive features of the pain that it causes is that it tends to be worse in your first few steps in the morning and when you engage in any activities that strain your feet.

7. Arthritis​


Although arthritis can cause some pain in almost any part of the foot, it will in most instances lead to outer foot pain. Arthritis can be degenerative or inflammatory, but regardless of the types that you get, it can still cause some pain. However, the inflammatory type or rheumatoid arthritis is what causes lateral foot pain.

Taking anti-inflammatory drugs is the best way to deal with arthritis, but there are also some other actions that you can adopt to ensure that it does not interfere with your regular runs. Some of these things include wearing the right footwear and also ensuring that you do not put excess and unnecessary pressure on your feet.​


Outer foot pain will make running very uncomfortable for you, and in some cases, it might make it impossible. However, understanding the causes will always make it easy to deal with the problem. The seven above are the main ones, but there are still many other things that can cause the problem. Luckily, in most instances, the problem is easy to deal with once you identify the cause. However, it is critical to know when to talk to a doctor because in some cases the pain might be a sign of a severe foot problem that requires medical attention.​

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pain on outside of foot
Patrick Greer

Hello guys, I am Patrick Greer, the founder of FixYourWalk. I am a fitness trainer and physical therapist. As a physical therapist, I have provided therapy to many people, with different body pain problem. Foot pain or injury is one of the major things that I have found in my career so far. is the result of my thought. I build the website in order to help the people who are suffering from foot pain. In the website, you will find different types of shoes in the world, and the best purpose of using them.

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