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why do my toes go numb when running

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. Numbness or a tingling sensation (unrelated to the ) in the toes is a common complaint among runners. Often, the cause is wearing or tying your shoelaces too tight. Your feet swell when you run, so you should be wearing running shoes that are a half size to a full size bigger than your street shoe size. If you have a wide foot, you may need to get a running shoe that has an extra-wide toebox. You can ask a salesperson at a for advice on the right shoes.

Make sure that the salesperson also checks your running gait to make sure you re wearing the correct shoes for your running style. Sometimes toe numbness can be a result of a biomechanical issue that can be corrected with the right shoes and/or inserts. If you think that you re wearing the correct running shoes for your foot size and gait, you can also try stopping to stretch when you start feeling the numbness. Sometimes tightness in our legs may lead us to run with, which may put pressure on a nerve and lead to the numbness. So a quick stretch of any part that feels tight may help. When you stop to stretch, also try to move your foot around and massage it a little, just to get the blood flowing to the areas that feel numb. Running on your toes for 30 seconds or so can also help. If you continue to have a problem with foot numbness and you re prone to muscle tightness, you ll need to work on relieving the tightness.

Go for a professional sports massage or try using a foam roller or other massage tool to roll areas where runners frequently get tight, such as your quads, calves, hamstrings, and. Try doing some and to relieve your tightness and improve your flexibility. Also, make sure that you do some before you start running so your muscles are warmed up before you start running hard or long. If you don t see any improvement with the above advice, it s important that you see your primary doctor or a podiatrist. You may have a nerve issue called a. Though it may sound scary, a doctor-recommended under-the-foot pad can help treat the condition by taking pressure off the nerve. The numbness may also be the result of something more, like an illness, tumor or nerve condition. If your symptoms persist, don t wait to get checked out with your healthcare professional.

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