Running is not actually a pain free exercise and as much as 75% of athletes may get an injury each year. More often that not this overuse injury is not really enough to prevent them running and they commonly just have to back off somewhat and use some modest interventions to let it heal up. In some cases the overuse injury is significant enough that this forces the runner to discontinue on the running. There are several injuries that can happen to athletes, impacting on numerous areas of the lower limb. One of the most prevalent injuries is what has become known non-technically as top of foot pain or ToFP. Clinically this is whats called dorsal interosseous compression syndrome. This is an injury that causes pain on top of the foot, usually around the top area of the arch of the foot. This typically happens in barefoot runners and also runners who are more likely to forefoot strike as opposed to heel strike first when they are running. Running this way is likely to try and drive the front foot upwards on the rearfoot causing the jamming of the bones of the dorsum of the foot, leading to the pain in that location.
Initially top of foot pain is managed with ice to deal with the swelling and maybe anti-inflammatory medicines to settle it down. Nearly all runners will need to cut back on their weekly distances run to also help settle it down. The simplest way to treat this is to work with more of a heel strike when running and use foot orthotics to maintain the arch up so the jamming in the midfoot doesn't occur. Even though the change in running technique may very well be a good way to help this, it is not easy to undertake, which is generally avoided to begin with to try and deal with the problem without doing that. When the other strategies don't work, then a change in the running method is almost certainly indicated.