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Lateral Column Overload (Pain)

Lateral column overload is a general term for a condition that causes pain on the outside of the foot through the lateral column. The lateral column of the foot consists of:

  • Heel bone (calcaneus)
  • Cuboid bone (the tarsal bone anterior to the heel bone and before the long bones of the foot)
  • The fourth and fifth metatarsals (long bones of the foot)
  • The associated fourth and fifth toe bones
  • The joints between these bones

 

What causes lateral column overload?

Lateral column overload can have a variety of causes and contributing factors that result in higher levels of stress pressure on the lateral foot bones and joints. These can include:

  • Abnormal foot biomechanics
  • High-arched (supinated) foot type
  • Arthritis
  • Altered gait from injury
  • Injury/trauma
  • Stress fractures
  • Peroneal tendonitis
  • Tarsal coalition
  • Cuboid syndrome
  • Narrow footwear

 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the outside of the midfoot
  • Pain exacerbated by walking
  • Swelling
  • Redness

 

How is it treated?

Treatment must be specific to the direct cause and contributing factors of the problem. Your podiatrist will differentiate lateral column overload from other painful conditions that occur on the outside of the foot.Each treatment plan will be formed on a case-by-case basis, but may include:

  • PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) to relieve painful symptoms
  • Orthotics to correct abnormal foot biomechanics and supinated foot position where present
  • Footwear assessment to ensure the shoes are helping and not hindering recovery
  • Stretching tight muscles that may be contributing to overloading the lateral foot
  • Strengthening weakened muscles
  • Activity modification until the painful symptoms settle