Runners are hard on their feet. We get out and run countless miles and our feet take the brunt of that pounding. When a foot injury flares up, it’s worrisome because they’re some of the hardest injuries to heal. Unless you completely swear off walking, it’s difficult to give your feet a break.

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What’s the cuboid?

The cuboid bone is a small wedge-shaped bone on the outside of the foot. It supports the outside of the feet and is involved in all foot movements. When this bone acts up, walking can become extremely painful let alone running. But the good news with the cuboid – its bark is usually worse than its bite.

How does it become injured?

Cuboid injuries flare up when the bone drops down and becomes restricted. According to Brittany Moran, a Toronto-based chiropractor, this injury can feel like you’ve stepped on something, which potentially causes a sharp pain. “The foot absorbs a lot of shock when we run, up to two and a half times a runner’s body weight. On impact there are 26 bones in a foot that splay to take that shock, but if something isn’t moving properly, the foot isn’t able to splay and can cause pain.” Moran says that a runner’s cuboid can flare up for several reasons: an ankle sprain, poor biomechanics, stepping on something, poor movement through the ankle or dysfunctional loading patterns through the whole body.
Photo: Hilary Matheson

The solution

Sometimes the solution for fixing a sore cuboid is as simple as a little manual therapy to pop it back into place, other times the treatment is a little more complicated. Moran says, “Manual therapy can get the foot and ankle moving better, which can solve the issue. Other times runners will need treatment up the chain in order to fix other issues that may have contributed to poor loading on the feet. Getting a gait analysis can also be recommended to see why your foot was acting up in the first place.”

Moran reminds that if pain persists, there’s a chance you’ve sustained a stress fracture or reaction. In that case it’s best to have your foot assessed by a professional.

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