Numb Feet During Exercise

November 18, 2009 | Comments: None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Uncategorized

Numbness or tingling of the feet while on an elliptical trainer or on the treadmill is not that uncommon and has several different potential causes, including tight shoes, lack of motion in the feet, improper posture and form, spinal misalignment, diabetes, and neuroma.  Most of these are easily addressed, however, a few require a visit to the doctor.

Most commonly exercisers tie their shoes too tightly or are wearing a shoe that is too small.  When you are looking for a running shoe, you generally want one that is one size larger than what you normally wear to account for the swelling that happens during exercise.  Ellipticals in particular are designed to alleviate the pressure of exercise on the hip and knee joints and because of this, there is little motion in the foot.  So, wiggle your toes, reverse directions, and try not to spend too much time on the balls of your feet.  Clearly, this isn’t the issue on a treadmill!

Improper posture and form can pinch nerves that go to the feet causing the numbness and tingling.  Stand up straight, hips tucked forward, tummy tight.  Don’t lean forward from the hips or slouch.  Even small movements in your shoulder position can translate to your feet and cause discomfort.  And for Pete’s sake, stop reading!  Straighten out your neck and pay attention to your exercise!

A trip to the chiropractor or a few easy exercises may be all it takes to relieve any discomfort caused by a spinal misalignment.  It isn’t unheard of to have a pinched nerve in the lumbar or sacral region cause pain or tingling in the feet.

If you are at risk for diabetes and your foot discomfort extends beyond your workouts, you may want to get to the doctor because this can be a sign of the disease.  It never hurts to ask.

A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue caused by compression and irritation of the nerve.  You may have a neuroma if you have one or more of these symptoms, 1) tingling, burning, or numbness, 2) pain and 3) a feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot, or that there’s a rise in the shoe or a sock is bunched up.  Again, these symptoms will probably extend outside of exercise.  A podiatrist can help with the diagnosis and treatment of a neuroma.  For more information, visit (

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