Numb foot while running

So does anybody have any ideas why my foot when numb during my run today. I am doing the C25k program and was doing a 2.25 mi run and half way through my foot felt like it was asleep. I was able to keep running but the numbness only went away after I stopped. I have good shoes and wear arch support inserts so nothing has changed recently. Any body else ever had this happen?


  • tmm_0127
    tmm_0127 Posts: 545 Member
    Do you have flat feet?

    Do you properly stretch before and after running?

    Do you have tight ligaments?
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,265 Member
    This might sound nuts, but are your shoes tied too tight? I used to get the same feeling and realized that my feet really expand when I take long walks or when I run. I end up with tiny bows on my shoes because I need all of the lace to keep it open. Oh, and I don't have wide feet either. Just a thought.
  • Contrarian
    Contrarian Posts: 8,138 Member
    Your shoes are probably tied too tightly. Your feet swell a bit when you run.
  • Runs4Wine
    Runs4Wine Posts: 416 Member
    This might sound nuts, but are your shoes tied too tight?

    This would be my first guess too.

    ETA: I had this happen and I had to loosen the laces up toward the toes/at the top of my foot.
  • AlexisJ330
    AlexisJ330 Posts: 97 Member
    I will try tying my shoes less tightly. I have to laugh because I didn't even think of that.
  • froeschli
    froeschli Posts: 1,292 Member
    I will try tying my shoes less tightly. I have to laugh because I didn't even think of that.

    also look up 'straight bar lacing' i read somewhere that it's a recommended way to lace running shoes since it reduces pressure to the top of the foot. i switched mine and find it quite comfortable...

  • granitendirt
    I hope that it's something simple as suggested here, like shoes being too tight.

    Compartment syndrome can cause this. It's a serious enough condition that it's worth being aware of. A sports med doc diagnosed me as having it maybe 6 years ago, but it didn't progress and I recovered just fine. My symptom was my right foot falling asleep during my run, to the point that my foot would start dragging.
  • auroranflash
    auroranflash Posts: 3,569 Member
    This doesn't happen to me when running on pavement, but it does on elliptical and treadmill machines. I'm guessing the shoes being tied tightly may have a lot to do with it. I can only guess that my feet are arched up more on these machines because of motion (elliptical) and elevation (on the treadmill), but it can be quite uncomfortable.
  • aliciarose511
    aliciarose511 Posts: 37 Member
    I was having this problem on the elliptical. I ran a few searches online and saw some suggestions for loosening my shoe laces a bit. Sounds way too simple but it worked! Hope it works for you, too. :)

    I have also heard for running that you may want to invest in some good running shoes purchased at a specialty store. They usually look at your current shoes to see where they are worn, take a look at your stride, etc., to find the best fit.
  • AlexisJ330
    AlexisJ330 Posts: 97 Member
    Thanks for all the advice.
  • jcdoerr
    jcdoerr Posts: 172 Member
    I'm going to throw this in just because, but beware it is the old "I had a friend..." story. :wink: So, here goes. While training for a half marathon last year with a friend of mine, she started having the same problem. She tried different things, including different shoes and chi running techniques, but nothing really helped. Turned out it was a pinched nerve in her lower back, and it took many visits to a chiropractor but the problem did finally improve.

    Now the moral of the story...start with the simple solution but be aware that it could be something further up the chain. And by all means don't ignore it if doesn't go away! Good luck.
  • MorganLeighRN
    MorganLeighRN Posts: 411 Member
    Like everyone else said, check to make sure that your shoes aren't too tight. Also, do you curl your toes when you run? I had that problem and the outsides of my feet would get tingly.
  • crista_b
    crista_b Posts: 1,192 Member
    Here's a link with different methods of lacing your running shoes based on your foot (high instep, wide forefoot, etc.):
  • Docpremie
    Docpremie Posts: 228 Member
    I was going to ask about the shoes being too tight, or if you'd changed to thicker socks.
  • Melina48
    Melina48 Posts: 7
    I have that issue too! On the treadmill and on the elliptical, anytime I'm active for more than 20 minutes. It always feels like it starts at my heel and ankle and then at a certain point I stop because I'm afraid of rolling my ankle.

    After checking it a LOT for like swelling or tight shoes or socks, and noticing that there wasn't really any reason for it to be numb (since the other foot swelled exactly the same amount but it was only happening in my right foot). I tried a spin class for an hour and I was fine. Walking also no big deal. I finally went to my Dr, who told me she was concerned about "blood flow" issues and sent me to a specialist and a chiropractor (cut to me freaking out more!).

    Turns out it was just that I have a pinched spot in my sciatic area on my right side! I knew that, because I feel it after a long day sitting at work (also in my hamstrings). I had no idea it could impact my heel & ankle!

    This could be a totally different situation than yours, but I thought I'd let you know just in case!! They didn't really give me much to do about it though, just stretches to help me prevent my lower back & sciatic from getting too tight & tense, especially mid-day at work.

    Side note: I just realized that jcdoerr posted something similar- good to know I'm not the only one! (but I'm not the "friend") lol :)
  • amybg1
    amybg1 Posts: 631 Member
    When this happens (rarely) I find it's my shoes are too tightly laced up. Could be caused by your being too tight in key points or a pinched/affected nerve
  • melindasuefritz
    melindasuefritz Posts: 3,509 Member
    Causes of Foot Numbness

    Foot numbness is most often caused by a compressed nerve. The nerves that cause sensation in your foot and ankle can get trapped between bones or soft tissue. Because the nerve is compressed, it's unable to send the correct signals to your brain from your skin and soft tissue. Nerve compression can make your foot feel like it's on "pins and needles," or it can make your foot completely lose sensation. The feeling sometimes makes you want to take off your shoe and rub your foot. It's usually localized to one part of your foot, often your toes; occasionally, your entire foot may feel numb.

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    Causes of Nerve Compression

    Nerves in the foot can become compressed for many reasons, including:

    Poorly fitting shoes. Shoes that are too tight, which don't have enough room in the toe box, or are laced too tight can cause the nerves in the foot to become compressed. Thick socks may be another culprit.

    Trauma. An injury that causes the tissue in the foot to swell, or causes direct damage to a nerve, can lead to foot numbness. Increasing your running mileage suddenly can cause trauma to your feet; likewise, improper running form may cause damage that in turn can lead to foot numbness.

    Foot structure. If your feet are flat, or if the sole of your foot is overly flexible, you are more likely to compress the nerves of your foot when you run.

    Scar tissue. Occasionally, a nerve that is repeatedly compressed becomes thickened and develops scar tissue. This is called a neuroma; the most common neuroma is between the second and third base of the toes, and is called a Morton's neuroma.

    Foot numbness, especially heel and base of the foot numbness, may also be caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that runs from the spine down the back of the leg. This nerve may be compressed by a herniated/slipped disk, or by muscles that overlie the nerve.

    Self- Help

    There are steps that you can take to prevent or alleviate your foot numbness: Buy larger shoes, and make sure that there's adequate room in the toe box at the front so that you can wiggle your toes freely. Buy shoes with a stiffer sole; shoes with a pliable sole can cause swelling and trauma to the ball of your foot, where the nerves to the toes pass through the bones. Don't lace your shoes as tightly. Loosen the laces on your shoes to relieve any pressure points on your foot. Try wearing thinner socks, which take up less room in your shoe. Pay attention to your running form. Avoid "slapping" or "pounding" your feet on the ground as you run. Don't suddenly increase the duration or distance of your run. This may lead to trauma.

    Medical Treatment

    If these steps don't alleviate your foot numbness, a trip to a foot and ankle specialist, orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine doctor may be in order. The specialist will ask about your medical history, to rule out any diseases that may be causing your foot numbness. He may obtain X-rays and examine your foot to try to identify the source of the nerve compression. He may prescribe special shoe inserts, anti-inflammatory medications, or special exercises. Occasionally, more severe cases of foot numbness, including numbness caused by a neuroma, may need treatment with injections to the nerve, or with surgery.


    Although foot numbness while running is uncomfortable, it is often easily remedied by relieving pressure on the compressed nerves. Simple remedies such as buying larger shoes, lacing your shoes less snugly, paying attention to your running form and making increases in running time or distance gradually may be enough to keep foot numbness from occurring. If self-help fails, a physician may try other treatments to relieve the discomfort.
  • Lonewolf1507
    Lonewolf1507 Posts: 507 Member
    Bump for when I get more time to read :smile:
  • brynnlantz
    I get the same thing after about 30 min of working out. Only thing that helps me is wearing thin socks and loosening up my shoes. The local running shoe store here suggested wearing compression socks as that can help with the circulation in your feet, I got one pair but they were kind of thick and I haven't tried looking for a thinner pair but it might be worth a shot.
  • sukatx
    sukatx Posts: 103
    I don't disagree with the shoelace loosening idea. In fact, it was the first think I thought of when I read your question. But I wanted to throw my own two cents in.

    I used to have a similar problem, where my baby toe would fall asleep and go completely numb while I did cardio. I tied me laces many different ways and none of it helped. I finally decided it wasn't a big deal so I taught myself to ignore it. A while later, I developed a shooting pain in the ball of my foot and bought some really good running shoes. I went to a running shoe store and had them watch me walk and jog so they could choose a good shoe for me. The pain in my foot is gone, and after a while I realized I could feel all ten of my toes!

    So may all you need is a new pair of shoes. They're not cheap, but they make it possible for me to work out so they're worth it.