why do my toes go numb when i exercise

Q Sometimes when I exercise my hands and feet go numb. What s up? A Numbness in the extremities during certain movements is generally the result of continuous pressure on a nerve, which can inhibit pathways to and from the. Two places it often occurs: the bike and the elliptical machine. For cyclists, the most common cause is when one of the nerves of the hand gets compressed as the hands rest on the bar, says Doug Dengerink, DO, a sports-medicine physician in San Diego. Dengerink suggests frequently adjusting your grip, wearing padded gloves, and possibly raising the handlebar height. A bar that is too low can cause you to put too much pressure on your wrists or hands. If you re experiencing pain in other parts of your body, such as your neck or shoulders, bike fit and other bio-mechanical issues could be to blame. Consult a
-fitting expert to make sure your bike is set up properly for your body.


In some cases, an adjustment of just a quarter of an inch can make a dramatic improvement. On the elliptical machine, numbness can occur because your feet stay relatively fixed for an extended period of time. Since you don t push off the ground or stride in the same way as when walking or running, your shoelaces don t get stretched and your feet swell slightly, which can lead to compression of nerves in the feet, Dengerink says. He suggests making sure your laces are not too tight, altering the shoe-lacing pattern, adding padding to the tongue area of footwear, adjusting your position occasionally, or changing pedaling direction. To prevent numbness, the American Council on Exercise recommends that you do not stay on the balls of your feet while on the elliptical machine, but instead perform a rolling motion from the balls of your feet to your heels as you move.


If you experience hand or foot numbness that doesn t go away when you stop the activity, consult a chiropractor or a physician. Thanks, Laura Laura, the sensation of numbness is nerve-related and worthy of investigation. This could be something as simple as the fit of your running shoes or a more complex medical condition, so please don't ignore your symptoms. I suggest consulting with a medical professional, your physician, or a sports-oriented podiatrist, for a thorough examination. Along with a medical exam, health professionals can perform a biomechanical analysis of your running form and foot strike. This analysis would help determine if poor running form or improper foot strike is the cause and resulting in too much pressure on the nerves in your feet.


You may be a candidate for orthotics, which is a custom-made shoe insert, or an over-the-counter shoe insert may suffice. They may also recommend specific strengthening exercises to improve your running form and foot strike. In the meantime, you can begin investigating some of the simpler causes. Since the numbness has occurred in both an old and new pair of shoes, start with a shoe evaluation. Your local specialty store staff should be able to help you with this. A shoe evaluation should include checking the wear pattern on your current running shoes to determine if you are wearing the proper type of shoe; as well as the size, fit, and lace pattern. Some runners need a running shoe that is at least a half size or more larger than their street shoes.


You may need more support, motion control, or more stability than the shoes you are currently wearing. You may also be tying your laces too tightly. A wider shoe, or a wider toe box, might give your toes more room; remember, that your feet swell slightly during longer runs. Also, examine your shoes for any seams that may be putting undue pressure on your toes. Check out alternative methods of lacing to reduce foot compression. Another lacing option would be elastic laces; they will БgiveБ more than traditional laces. Best wishes, Susan Paul has coached more than 2,000 runners and is an exercise physiologist and program director for the Orlando Track Shack Foundation. For more information, visit. Have a question for our beginners experts? E-mail it to. NOTE: Due to the volume of mail, we regret that we cannot answer every e-mail.

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why do my toes get numb when i exercise