Extensor Tendonitis is what you get when you have just discovered a new running form and have become an over eager newbie barefoot runner. The trouble with barefoot running is that it is so damn enjoyable that you really want to do it every day, never mind that every website and blog is telling you to slow down and add it slowly to your running diet.
Extensor Tendonitis is what you get when you already feel a slight top of foot pain and you ignore it and run through it because honestly, running barefoot takes away the pain, that is, until you stop and then the pain comes rushing back threefold.
That's all you really need to know about it but if you insist on being scientific, here:
The white parts are the tendons and the extensors are the tendons that lift and pull the feet up and towards the shin.
Let us all bear in mind that before we rediscovered barefoot running, we were all running with high-tech cushions on our soles and were heel striking. If you run barefoot and you try to heel strike, your entire body from the heel of your foot to the tips of your hair will get the shock of a lifetime. It will hurt like heck. The only reason why it doesn't hurt when we heel strike with shod feet is all the cushion that goes on in the soles of running shoes. This also means that the tendons, ligaments and muscles in our feet do nothing much, they are basically couch potatoes sitting comfortably in your rocket science imbued running shoes.
And like a kid who has been introduced to the wonders of a slide and has slid 145 times in one day with pure joy each time, your happy feet will be in pain, not exactly the following day, but, as what happened with me, a few months after you first freed your feet and introduced it to barefoot running.
Trust me on this one, you will enjoy running barefoot and you will overdo it.
So, take it from me, who now has to stop running for 10 days, LISTEN TO ALL THE BLOGS AND WEBSITES telling you to pace yourself and add barefoot running in tidbits no matter how good it feels.
How to treat extensor tendonitis?
- Rest for 7 to 10 days. If it still hurts after that, it could be something worse like a tear so visit your podiatrist.
- Ice it or take anti-inflammatory medication. I don't want to do either. I love my kidneys and liver, no meds.
- Stretch! Stretch your calves, the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles so that they wont pull on the extensors too much.
- And, since I can't live right now without physical activity, I am swimming in lieu of my running. Swimming helps the body deal with injuries while keeping you moving.
Here's to hoping I get better and up and running by the tenth day.
In the meantime, run like the Tarahumaras!