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why do toes go numb when running

Shelly Congratulations on your commitment to running and your upcoming race! The good news is that you have already seen someone regarding your back and it appears to be clear of issues. First, check the toe box of your shoe and make sure it is WIDE enough. You need to have plenty of room for your toes and forefoot; remember, your foot spreads out upon impact, so allow for that increase in width. Examine the toe box carefully, look for any seams that could be pressing on your foot or toes. Check the lacing pattern of your shoes. Experiment with alternate ways to lace your shoes, like every other eyehole, and make sure they are not tied too tightly. Next, obtain a proper shoe fit by a running store professional, a Physical Therapist, or other sports medical expert. Check the size of your running shoe; most runners need running shoes that are a full size or more larger than street shoes. This larger size accommodates socks and room for feet to expand while running. Consider trying out a totally different shoe too. Some brands come in different widths, which may be helpful to you; and you can try models that correct rolling in (over pronation), rolling outward (over supination) or a neutral shoe, and see if the numbness still occurs. Assess your training plan, make sure you have allowed plenty of conditioning time. Try integrating some walk intervals into your running and see if the symptoms persist.


For example, try running for 3 to 5 minutes, then walk for 1 minute; run for another 3 to 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute, and so forth. Continue repeating this sequence for the duration of your run. See if running with walk intervals delays, or even alleviates, the onset of numbness. Hopefully, this technique may allow you to get more distance in before experiencing any issues. If your shoes and your training appear unrelated to the numbness, then I would suggest finding a podiatrist or a sports orthopedist in your area that sees runners. This may be an issue that requires medical attention. Numbness is typically a nerve related condition so you would be wise to consult with a medical professional if these symptoms persist. A medical professional will be able to figure out exactly what the problem is and treat it appropriately. Ask the physician for specific shoe recommendations for your foot and gait pattern too. Landing on "toes or heels first" is a controversial issue. There are some that believe everyone should land mid- or fore-foot, others believe heel first is best. Regardless of where you land on your foot, toes or heels, your toes should not go numb while running. To figure out where you land on your foot, try running, without thinking about your form, and notice where you naturally strike. If you wish to change your foot strike, it should be done very gradually, in small increments, over a long period of time due to the risk of injury involved with any change in running pattern.


All the best to you! Susan Paul, MS
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 www. trackshack. com. 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. 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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