Going numb

First time on the forum - only signed up on the website this morning - so be gentle.

Anyway, my health worries. I've been running for 3 years, had a quite summer and have recently picked up the training again for the Great North Run. But now my right foot keeps on going numb - never done that before.

I'm not doing anything different, I'm not wearing a new pair of shoes and no, my laces aren't done up too tight.

Does anyone else have a similar bizarre affliction, or is it just me?


  • Might be a nerve thing - which can be caused by your laces being too tight, but also by pressure on the appropriate bit of your foot I think. Exactly why it should suddenly start though I don't know. Maybe your shoes are getting old so not stopping you pronating so much?

  • You say you aren't wearing a new pair of shoes - are you wearing a very old pair? Perhaps the cushioning has gone in them. How many miles have they done, and have you put them through the washing machine? Even storing them near a heater can wreck the midsole.

    Just a thought.....
  • Cheers Iain. My shoes are pretty new and should certainly have many more miles in them. I dusted off an old pair the other night to see if the same thing happened - and it did.
    I was wondering if it could be connected to not running much for a couple of months and then throwing myself back into the training, but you're probably right with the nerve theory. Guess I'll just have to keep an eye on it.

  • Nessie - I've had my shoes for a few months and run a half marathon in them, but they certainly shouldn't be worn out already.
  • According to Horwill, [http://www.serpentine.org.uk] numbness of the extremities can be associated with iron-deficiency anaemia. Quite common in runners. Just a thought...
  • I've had this for the past 2 years, after running about 4 miles my left leg goes numb all the way from the thigh down to the foot and stays that way until I run through it, usually at about 8 or 9 miles. In my case it comes from the sciatic nerve in the back and buttocks. At the beginning of the year I was totally sidelined with lumbar pain and was told the numbness should clear after about 6 months, but I still have it.
    Nothing to do with my shoes.

    Sheila Anne
  • I get numbness sometimes when i wear my old trainers - which is one of the reasons I bouhgt new ones. The people in Sweatshop said it was to do with my trainers being too narrow and the laces too tight.

  • When I took up running again a couple of years ago I regularly experienced numbness in my right foot. Like Sheila, I would get pins and needles after running about 4 miles. The pins and needles would then usually climb up my leg, sometimes reaching my thigh, but by about 8 or 9 miles it would clear up. I did also get numbness in my left foot but not as frequently or to the extent as that in my right foot.

    I tried several pairs of running shoes and varied the way I tied my laces but it didn't seem to make a difference. However, I did feel that it was related to factors such as the speed at which I ran, incline/decline and camber - I tended not to get it if I ran slowly on flat surfaces. Incidentally, my foot would only ever go numb when I ran. It didn't seem to be affected by other sports, like 5 a-side football.

    In the end I went to see a physio and after him ruling out my footwear and running style concluded that I was "stiff as a brick" - his words not mine! He thought that my calf muscles were particularly tight, which meant that I wasn't absorbing the shock effectively when my heel struck the ground. (Don't ask me why this should give my pins and needles). Anyway, he gave me a number of exercises to do which concentrated on stretching my calf muscles, quads and hamstrings which seems to have done the trick.

    Hope this helps.

  • I went to see a physio last night about my numb toe and other pain roughly in the same area - suspecting the worst and that she was going to comfirm my worse fears and tell me that the GNR was off limits.
    Instead she told me that it looked like I had sprained my second toe sometime ago and with a bit of massage (done by myself) I should be fine for the GNR! I am so pleased that I went to see her as I was starting to get some serious pain. It isnt always a bad diagnosis!
    Dont try and run through an injury - get it checked out.
  • Absolutely, Polarbear! Don't ever try and run through an injury. I've been around in the athletics world for a very long time (probably longer than most of you have been alive!) and can say I've experienced just about all the common running injuries over the years. With time you come to recognize the things you can treat yourself as opposed to the ones needing professional help. But if there's ever a doubt, don't run, see your physio instead.
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