When Your Foot or Toe Goes Numb When Running

It's one thing for your foot to fall asleep when you're sitting watching TV or during a long airplane flight. It is quite another for this to happen while you are standing up. In fact, it's not that uncommon for people to feel pins and needles in their feet while running. This problem can occur for a variety of reasons, many of which are not serious and are easy to treat.

Causes of numbness in the feet or toes.

Read on to find out what might be happening if your foot (or feet) becomes numb during a run and what you can do about it.

Shoes that don't fit well

One of the main causes of foot numbness in runners is too tight shoes, which put pressure on the nerves of the foot. If you suspect that this may be the reason for the numbness in your feet, the solution is easy: buy new shoes. Go to a store that specializes in running shoes and ask for help from a professional fitter who will consider not only the size of your foot, but also its shape.

For example, if your foot is wide, you may need a style that has an oversized footbox (the area in front of the shoe that houses the forefoot). The fitter will also take into account your running pace. Sometimes numbness develops as a result of a biomechanical problem (see below) that can be corrected with proper footwear.

After choosing a shoe, buy a pair that is one-half to one size larger than your average shoe size. This is essential because when you run, your feet swell, especially when it is hot and humid outside. Going up half or full size will also suit thicker socks if you're running in the cold.

Shoelaces are too tight

Sometimes it's not the shoes that are the problem, but how you wear them, specifically how you tie and tie them. It's common to tighten the laces even more to get a good ankle fit, but this can trap the nerves from the top of the foot at the ankle, an area known as the tarsal tunnel, similar to the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This can be a specific problem for people with high arches.

Try loosening the laces around the ankles. If this makes your feet feel unsafe, try different lacing techniques to find one that keeps your shoes snug without creating undue pressure on the top of your foot. You can also try putting some padding under the tongue of the shoe.

A faulty fingerprint

Sometimes a person's running form can put pressure on the nerves in the foot, causing numbness. For example, excessive skating (landing the heel first with the foot in front of the body's center of gravity) puts the feet in contact with the ground for a long time.

To correct this common running mistake, try to shorten your stride and focus on landing in the middle of the sole with each stride. In this way, your feet will land directly under your body. Run like you're stepping on hot coals, keeping your movements light and fast.

There are other benefits to correcting excessive walking: You will save energy and reduce the risk of leg cramps. A physical therapist or athletic trainer can help you hone your form if you need more specific guidance.

Foot structure

The anatomy of your feet, specifically your arches, can contribute to numbness while running. If your feet are flat (that is, the entire sole of each foot is in contact with the floor when you are barefoot) or if they are excessively flexible, you are more likely to experience nerve compression.

This can usually be corrected with insoles called orthotics. You can buy pills at a pharmacy or chain store, but for best results, have a podiatrist examine your feet. He can guide you in choosing an over-the-counter brace, but if there isn't a ready-made one that works for you, he can prescribe custom braces.

The 7 best orthoses of 2021


Starting a full-strength running program as a beginner or suddenly increasing the intensity and distances of your regular runs can lead to muscle trauma - essentially, injuries to the muscles in the feet that cause tissue to swell and press on nerves. Even if you are an experienced runner, you want to increase your distance, speed, or time in increments so as not to exceed the limits of your abilities.

If you are new to running, take the time to gradually increase your endurance and strength. For example, follow a training program in which you alternate walking and running, decreasing the amount of time or distance you walk in proportion to the amount of time or distance you run.

Muscle Tension

Tight, inflexible muscles anywhere in the body can lead to anatomical conditions that put pressure on the nerves in the feet. Você fica sitting at a table or all day, for example, quadrille flexors tend to be tense and, unless you manage to keep your torso perfectly erect, and ensure that your coasts bend forward, exercising pressing on or sciatic nerve.

Of course, there are a number of ways to relieve muscle tension, both as part of your running routine and in between. Take a few minutes to do some warm-up exercises before you start running so that your muscles relax and are ready to work. Make sure to stretch after the race too.

If you are prone to muscle strain, include flexibility exercises in your exercise regimen. Yoga practice can improve flexibility and alignment of the body. Use a foam roller or other massage tool to remove kinks in areas where stress affects the nerves, such as the quads, calves, hamstrings, and IT band. Regular sports massage or other body work can also help keep your muscles flexible.


If none of these tactics bring you relief, you may have a nerve condition called Morton's neuroma. The condition is a painful condition in which a nerve in the foot, in the area between the toes, becomes dilated or thickened due to scar tissue.

The most common area for a neuroma to develop is in the space between the third and fourth toes, although the area between the second and third toes can also be affected. This condition is especially prevalent in women who wear shoes that don't fit well for long periods of time.

Morton's neuroma may seem scary, but it is easily treated. Consult your primary care physician or podiatrist, who may prescribe metatarsal pads to wear inner shoes to help lift and separate the metatarsal heads and relieve pressure on the nerve. You will place the electrodes just behind where you feel the pain, not directly on it.

Peripheral neuropathy

This is a single potentially serious cause of numbness in the feet. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves that are part of the system that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. It is often a symptom of a medical problem.

For some people, numbness or tingling in the feet is the first sign of diabetes. After ruling out all other causes of numbness in your feet, see your doctor and find out if you could be going through pins and needles due to a medical condition.

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Source: Foot & Ankle Center of Washington

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