Numbness in Foot during running

Would anyone know what could be wrong with my foot/ankle?This is an ongoing problem for over 2 years.The outside of my right ankle will get uncomfortable and then my foot will go completely numb starting at the big toe and working to the whole foot.I can't run on it as my foot feels like lead.I have no pain when I stop running.This seems to occur randomly and may not appear for a couple of weeks or it could appear everyday for a week.Running uphill seems to ease the numbness.I have been to countless physios but nobody to date has diagnosed the problem.I haven't met any other runners with the same problem.


  • Funny you should mention it... me too. I get numbness mainly in my right foot, sometimes both. After 20-30 minutes running I have to stop and massage some feeling back into my feet. But, this only happens with one pair of shoes - Brooks (b*****d) Beasts. I've had asics, nike, Mizunos, no problem. The only way I've found to prevent this is to lace the shoes very loosely but this is uncomfortable anyway. I really should have ditched these shoes, I hate them, but after shelling out 90 odd quid I intend to persist with them a bit longer.
    In the 2 years you have had this problem have you changed shoes? I suggest you try a completely different pair.
    Hope this helps.....
  • I am experiencing the same problem. My shin goes tight and calf then my foot goes numb, feels like i am running on a stump, been running for years and have never had the problem before. I have bought some new shoes about sixty miles ago. Could it be shin splints? I am thinking maybe its lack of circulation, I know I cant wait for it to pass. I am still running on it and it comes and goes. Good luck.
  • I got something very similar especially on longer runs

    started running in shoes 1 size too big and that worked very well until I upped my distance further

    it came back on a long run this week but went away quite quickly when I stopped to loosen my laces, take my anti-blister socks off (wondered whether they might have shrunk in the drier along the way), and wiggled my toes

    sounds obvious and trite but it worked for me and I did have all sorts of worries going through my head
  • Matty I -- I've had shin splints and would say the numbness in the foot is not related. Shin splints are like a horrible stabing pain in your shin and the surrounding area (sometimes hard to tell it is your shin). Not numbness. I have had the numbness problem, maybe 5 or 6 times in the past two years. Seems to happen especially if I am very hot. I have read somewhere before, probably in RW or on this forum, that it can happen if your shoes are laced too tightly and to make sure your heel is all the way to the back of the shoe when you lace up. You can do this by gently kicking your heel against a wall just after you put your shoes on and then tie them.
  • YES YES YES!! I thought I was the ONLY person in the world to have this problem! It totally freaked me out when it first came on. It gets worse when I try to up my distances (which is frustrating as I'm training for my first half now)

    EXACTLY the same symptoms as you guys.

    I've bought a pair of Adidas trainers - I can't remember the name but they're the BIG cushioning ones, and that made a huge difference, although the numbness (and stump) does come back now and again.

    I think the tight calf is key because I've started stopping every 3/4 mile or so and stretching them for a while. Yes it's frustrating but the fact that I can keep going makes it more than worthwhile. Toe-wiggling helps too.

    If anyone finds the cure, please let me know? I'm desperate to sort it once and for all...

    But thanks for this thread - it's really encouraged me!!
  • I'm glad I'm not the only one. Both my feet start hurting around the ball of foot, toe area at about 3 miles, then I get the pins & needles and finally at about 5 miles they go completely numb and feel like I'm running on a couple of rocks. I changed from Asics to Nike Pegasus but problem remains. Its really getting me down as I can't increase my distance. Might have to fork out to see a specialist soon.
  • Thinking the same, Jacqui. If anyone on this thread sees a specialist, please post the would be so welcome.
  • I too have noticed the problem. I am training for my second flm and a few weeks ago notice a numbness and tingling in my right foot when sitting at my desk at work. I also on a few of my long runs suffered a painful inside ankle bone on my right foot. I noticed last week on a short 3 mile run that my right leg seemed to be stiff when running and not going back like it normal does when running. I am now noticing a slight tingling up my calf muslce and up as far as my knee along wihth a numb feeling. Geting a bit down as dont know whats causing the problem and i dont know what it will do on training days or if it will improve. I have been using newbalance 854's with no problems so anyone know whats wrong? I havent been warming up or down as of late so could i have injured myself this way and also I have a bruised toenail on my right foot so could this affect the muscle or nerve maybee and why do the symtoms also occur when sitting down?

    Please help
  • do your feet swell up?

    are the laces tightening up and putting pressure on nerves?
  • Thanks for the advice folks I am running 14 mile trg run on sunday I will let you know how i get on. I shall try the lace trick, kicking my heel and all that. Bloody pain though isn't it.
  • Done a fourteen miler today with the laces alot loser. Got to about four miles and the old feet went numb again. Stretched of the calfs at a water stop and the rest of the run i was fine with no numb feet. I think my problem could have been a combination of laces and tight calfs stopping circulation. Hope that helps
  • interesting i have tight calves as well especially for first few miles - maybe when I was wiggling toes I was in fact loosening my calves too

    I also started wearing waterproof sock things which are a bit looser than normal socks and that helps me go longer before the numbness creeps in
  • Hopefully this might help somebody. I am so glad there are people out there with the same problem as me. I never met anyone with this problem before and was beginning to think I must be abnormal...

    Hav been going to a sports specialist this past few months and don't know if this, decreasing my miles or doing more running on grass is helping prevent the numbness. However, I am now upping my mileage again for London Marathon and am dreading the numbness coming back. I change my shoes every couple of hundred miles (though Mizuna's seemed to be the worst for me) and it does not help. I also have tried all the advice re loosening laces, wearing a bigger sized shoe, stretching out, etc.

    My sports physio cannot pin-point the problem, but seems to think it may be something to do with the sheath/band at the bottom of my right ankle that covers the point where the tendon and muscle meet (I think I have got this right!). Apparently, this sheath protects the tendon and can sometimes become damaged. She says when you run (especially longer mileage) and increased blood pumps through your muscles, they expand causing the sheath to expand also. If this is damaged it may not expand and thus can compress the muscle and nerves, thus causing the numbness. By holding some part of my ankle/foot during one session, she was able to reproduce the numbness in my foot. She also said tight calves may be a factor as well.

    When she works on the area around the tendon, it is extremeley painful but seems to be doing the trick (however, I also decreased my mileage at the same time which might be a factor). I was told after every run to stretch and ice this area of my ankle. She also said, to turn the water to cold when showering and run on my legs for as long as can be beared, which will help reduce any inflamation.
  • Good luck Cait, Plenty of stretching helped me during training runs, remember it does not matter if you stop and stretch when your training. stop the watch if your timing your self and restart it once you get going, and be positive.
  • I got this problem after wearing XC shoes on frozen ground at the Minnis Bay XC recently.

    My ankles cramped so bad I had to stop and walk, afterwards towards the end of the race my right foot went numb and continued until I finnished.

    The coach at my running club thought It may have been induced by the very cold weather (1 degree centigrade and icy wind) plus the fact it was like running on piles of bricks. In hindsight I would have been better off running in my normal Aasics, as the XC shoes are a tighter fit (which is needed in thick mud etc, but not on frozen mud) and probably caused that numbness.

  • wow! I thought numb toes was just my problem.
    I have recently swapped from squashy Nike Pegasus to Aasics1080 and fing the harder sole helps a bit. Overpronation could be putting extra compression on some nerves perhaps?? I found stopping for 10 seconds or so and wiggling my ankle helped hugely and occassionally running with duck feet spread out for a few paces! Maybe RW could run a whole big article on this!!
  • I am now running in Asics 2070's and find these a lot better. Maybe it's because they are a broader fit thus not squashing my foot and compressing the nerves.
  • Have just done 5 miles and had numb feet after 3 miles. I had kicked my heels before tying my laces a little looser and went for the toe wiggle as a last resort.

    Now it may not be very scientific, but I found it easier to wiggle my toes if I wiggled my first 2 fingers at the same time. Numbness disappeared in 50 metres and I didn't have to stop running.

    I also run in Asics 1080's

  • hey Bullfinch, waytogo! it's pouring here and I'm snowed under with work-rather be running!! Any advice anyone on running on a blister-it hurts!
  • j L My advice - don't.

    Cycle, don't run.

    My car had been in for repair so I ran to the garage to collect it. It isn't raining here, but I ran into the teeth of a gale all the way. It felt more like 8 miles than 5.

    By the way, I work from home and started at 5 a.m. today. Bloody Self Assessment~!!

  • Got rid of the pain in ball of foot by placing Scholl pressure point pads just behind ball of foot, and managed to get to about 4 miles before both feet went numb, but it was great not to have the pain which normally comes on at about 3 miles so I do feel I am getting somewhere. Will report back if I find magic trick for the numbness!
  • ive got the same left foot goes numb after running for 35/40 mins.Im pretty desperate because im training for the london marathon.Went to see a physio who diagnosed the problem as scar tissue affecting the nerves.At the moment im having ultrasound treatment on my calf and have been told to do plenty of stretching.hope this might be of help too someone,although it hasnt helped me yet after two sessions with the momemt im running though the numbness which lasts about 15 mins and then completely disappears,which apart from being very uncomfortable is probably not a good idea
  • It has been a problem I have had on and off for quite a few years now. I have tried the shoe lace thing and it does work most of the time. However, the way I have got rid of the problem most of the time has been by using half insoles, to raise my heel just a bit. See, I was told years ago, that the pain may be coming from a short Achilles tendon. Now I do not know whether this is true, but it definetely worked for me. Careful, though, cos using the insole will also make your foot to be more tight in your shoe. Try it. It worked for me. And the half insoles are not expensive.
  • numbness in both feet is a problem I have had for quite a while now and still havent found the solution. It occurs about 30mins into a run and slowly works through the foot until it feels like im just running on stumps. ive tried most of the suggestions on this forum but unfortunately to no avail. saw the doc about it but couldnt help much except to say that it wasnt a nerve problem and might get easier as i get fitter but i dont really have much confidence in this.
    It really is annoying as it stops me running to my potential and dont think i could do more than 10k due to it. I think the stretching of calf muscles it the best solution but feel this is not an instant fixer and will take time. If anyone knows of a real solution to this pls let us poor stumpy feet sufferes know. my poor feet will be very gratefull.
  • I have experienced the same problem in the past.. I actaully consulted the doctor , a podiatrist and a physiotherapist....

    Two similies came out of this...that the cirulation was caused by the effects of my smoking for a great deal of my life while I was younger.. I was on 60 a day up til 1986.when I stopped completely and started running... two of the consultants said that it will get worse with age...theres nothing that can be done about it and to try different methods to alleviate some of the problem..

    The two that I found worked best for me were changing the lacing in my shoes..(there was an article about this in either RW or RF sometime ago).. and wearing thinner socks. I tried different width shoes..but this didnt seem to have any effect on the problem
  • I had this too years ago when I first took up running - it got so bad my knees became painful as I ran with little feeling in my feet. I tried the bigger shoes, arch supports, etc but eventually gave up.

    I went back to running just before Christmas - I still get it occasionally - it's worse if my calves are tight from a previous run - at the first sign, wiggling my toes does sometimes help.

    ANYWAY, I saw an article recently in RW about exertional compartment syndrome - muscles fill with blood tightening the muscle covering which puts pressure on nerves within the muscle compartments - this all makes sense but I can't believe doctors/physios haven't sussed this out when confronted with such symptons??

    Any other suggestions/thoughts?
  • Seems as though a lot of people suffer this! I too got a numb right foot after running about 4 miles while I was training for the London Marathon. I carried on running and it disappeared after about 15mins. I too tried lacing (New Balance 854)differently to no avail. Could it be a winter phenomenon? Because I haven't noticed it since. Funnily enough I didn't notice it during the Marathon - perhaps I had too many other things to worry about! I think it might be due to blood flow as my foot felt much warmer after the numbness went. Glad to hear it's a common problem, as I was worried that at my advanced age,it was a blood clot.
  • Like you Shelia,I only seem to get this "injury" during the winter months and I too find it goes after a few minutes of slowing down,though as I am slowing from 9 minutes a mile to 10 it's not surprising it feels easier as I'm almost walking !.
    My main concern at the moment is a slight burning sensation on my left heel.It recently seems to have kicked in after about 6 miles and lasts for the next 2.I
    thought it was my trainers (Saucony Jazz 6000) but I've also notes it to a lesser degree with my walking boots when the pain starts at about 15 miles and goes after another couple .
    Any ideas or solutions are most welcome !
    Keep smiling ! Keep running !
  • I'm not saying this is what the problem is, but foot numbness is one of the symptoms of compartment syndrome.

    A doctor diagnosed me as having compartment syndrome years ago, (and gave me the helpful "don't run" solution) it turned out to be shin splints, but I only figured that out after a couple of years of no running, and lots of reading.

    Anyway, when I thought that is what I had, I did lots of reading on compartment syndrome, and numb feet is definately a classic symptom - because of the constrictions.

    Would also make sense if it was linked to shin or calf pain.

    There is loads about it on the internet, but this looked like a nice description.
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