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 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.
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