Numbness in Foot during running



  • I hear all this talk of numbness in feet and calfs etc. I get a numbness in my fingers sometimes when I have run for maybe 1 hour, I can also get it whilst swimming too, any ideas ? my doctor says it could be a trapped nerve in my neck ??
  • OMG! I am so glad I found this. My foot has been numb for a few days now. My calf feels really tight and it feels weird to walk.
  • I can't believe I have not googled this problem before - I am sooo relived to have found this thread. I have been running for 6 years now injury free with one marathon, one half and many 10ks under my belt. I did the Great North Run last year and all was fine....running tailed off and then picked it back up again at the start of 2007. On my first run back, I noticed my right foot started to go numb after 10 mins and every run since then, it has gone numb always after 10 mins. Both feet now do it and once I have felt a tingling up my left calf. It also happens for me when cycling (after an hour), cross trainer (after 10 mins). I have generally tight calves and on my right foot, I sometimes feel like my achilles is near snapping point. I also have what feels like a permanatly spasmed muscle just under my bum on my right leg. I went to the physio for my achilles and he said it was to do with my lower back which may have been causing the numbness......after weeks of treatment, nothing was changing and he started to get worried about compartment syndromme. He then didnt want to treat me any more in case he caused more damage. I was sent to a neurologist who was baffled - he sent me for an MRI scan of lower back....nothing. Then I was sent for a nerve function test....nothing again. I have an MRI scan on upper back coming up to see if there is anything there. So none the wiser and very frustrated but very hopefull now I have found there are so many others with this problem. I am going to go back to a new physio and show this thread to them - I also plan to send to the neurologist to prove I am not the only one out there suffering from this. If anyone has had any miracle diagnosis that have helped, please please let me know as I really want this gone - beggining to feel like running career is over.
  • I have the same issue when Im running. I start to warm up then start to ran and I get this pain on my left and right calfs, they tighten up, so i have to stop , run, then later my feet go all numb. I dont know , what could be the problem. its so weird. help.
  • I get this too! I don't remember getting it when I was running 3 years ago, but lately I have been getting it. I have also just bought some 1000 mile socks, and they feel quite snug which I don't think my feet like. I unlaced the top holes in my NB 765's yesterday, and loosened the laces considerably, which helped. This is on a 4-mile run, after 2 miles or so. I think the laces need more loosening still, and for short distances I probably don't even need pillows for socks.
  • Ditto.  I do find that stopping and stretching glutes helps. (Lean against a post of some sort, hug one knee to chest with one hand, pull the foot across and up until you can feel the stretch in glutes - may take 4,5 seconds, hold it for maybe 10secs more.  This can release it.  Then again, some days nothing does.

    I am pretty confident the problem is not in my spine, but where sciatic nerve goes through glutes.  Not sure I would try those stretches if I were worried about spinal problems.  I am not convinced that running through the shooting pains in calves is a good idea either.  Impossible to tell whether it is just sensory nerves telling porky pies because they are pinched, or whether the sensory nerves are telling the truth, and because the motor nerves aren't functioning properly the muscles are not releasing, and the pain is the pain of little muscles tearing.

    Kariebo, have you googled sciatica?

  • No need to google it, I suffer from it occasionally image  Mainly down my left side and it's my left foot that is numb.   I guess there's my answer.  uh oh
  • Well I was doing some research and my issue with the calfs tighting up and later the numbness its called compartment syndrome. well I still been exercising doing other actiivities and still hurt a little.

  • I went out for a run tonight, usuual length at just over 4 miles. This time I loosened my NB 765's considerably and had no problems. I think the nerves travelling along the top of the foot can be affected quite easily, and I find that the NB's are quite shallow in this area.
  • I should've looked this up on the forum ages ago, I've been worrying about my numb feet and 'stump syndrome' for ages and its good to know that loads of other people have this problem. 

    I've been trying to work out why, when I did and trained for the London Marathon 5 years ago, that my feet were fine, but since then I've had numbness during a lot of the road races I've done - all distances, from 5k to half marathon. They don't go numb when I train off road. The only thing I was doing differently when training for the LM was that I was doing a yoga class regularly, so perhaps the extra stretching I was doing then must have helped.

  • Numb feet whilst running has been the bane of my life (have posted here before about it) but touch wood for the past few months I've not had a problem and I think I may know why...When my GP said it could be a nerve issue in my back I decided to lose some weight - I wasn't overweight (I was 78kgs and height 5ft 11) but I reckoned if I was carrying a few unnecessary kgs that couldn't be helpful.  So over the summer (when I wasn't running due to an injury) I dieted and lost about a stone to get down to my current weight of 72kgs.  Since then, no numb feet.  Of course it could all be coincidence but for people who have this problem and have tried everything else...
  • Don't know if this helps any of you numb foot people.

    This time last year I had a series of minor injuries and niggles, tight calf, twisted knee and ankle amongst them. Ended up with what Dr thought was a stress fracture on tibia. There was one point that was very tender but kept getting loads of pins 'n needles, odd sensations up and down leg, Pain on top of foot with burning, numb sensations.  At that point most of those felt minor compared to the stabbing pain.

    Eventually went to phisio (whilst waiting on NHS) who said it was probably nothing and could only find soft tissue damage. So had massage and ultrasound, she said I'd be back running soon. That took care of lots of my soreness but was left with the odd numbness, burning, pins 'n needles and pain over foot. Settled down over the months so it only really bothers me too much if I exercise. Then the pain and numbbess gets much worse, especially when flexing.  Then I also get pain in toes and they sometimes feel cold and numb.

    11 months of NHS refferals, giving up on the phiso and they're pretty sure there's a problem where the nerve comes down leg and the point it comes up into foot. Could've been caused by an impact injury or tight calf muscle.

    For someone may be worth googling terms like peroneal nerve.

  • Are most of you getting complete numbness. I mean stick a needle into you and not feel it? Or the sensation of numbness?

    Check your trainers are correct for you, gait is correct and wit this weather are your extremites wram enough. This should solve most problems.

    I have proper complete numbness down oneside and can still finish tris, so don't panic. Compartment syndrome is rare!

  • Ok I went running on the treadmil and felt real good. My feet didnt go numb and all I had was some tightness in the calfs not bad though. I felt real good running on the treadmil that on a dirt track. Im was wondering what is the tighness of the calf and why does it happen?
  • Check out this link

    Sound familiar ? It basically describes just about all of the above symptons in this thread and seems to quite simply describe what you (and I for that matter !) are all suffering. It's pressure on a nerve which runs down the inside of the ankle and into the sole of the foot. Repeated impact compresses this nerve and causes tingling, then numbness. There are a few suggestions about how to deal with it but no magic cure unfortunately. Personally, when this comes on during a run, I stop and wait until the feeling has come back into my foot completely then carry on. Doing this once or twice during a run usually stops it coming back again. Don't be impatient to get going again too quickly as it will just come back. Just stop your watch and don't beat yourself up about having to stop.

  • Oh, and one other thing - a couple of Ibuprofen 20 mins before you start can really help and I usually carry a couple of spare tablets with me on a long run and pop them about an hour and a half after the first ones !
  • I have been reading all the threads on this & cant believe there are so many people out there with the same problem as me. I am getting very frustrated with this as every time i do speed work or a quicker race i get tightness in my shin,calf then my ankle. It eventually goes numb & i have no choice but to stop. Idon't tend to suffer so much on longer races or longer training runs. I am training for London & im upto 19 miles & i don't seem to suffer so much. Yesterday i ran a 4.4 mile race which after 2 miles i was suffering big time & had to stop.I really think i need to stop all speed work to see if this helps.Anymore suggestions....please!!!image
  • Hi, I'm an engineer who's had this same problem, and I think I may have solved it.

    I read a post on maybe page 2 or 3 that talked about the blood vessel on top of the foot, which got me thinking.

    I was intrigued in my case as to why it might only be happening in one foot. Because it happens when you run, it implied to me that it was some sort of physical deformation happening somewhere in the leg, probably by a generalised swelling.

    I looked at the top of my feet the other day and noticed that the blood vessels tracked different paths on the top of my foot. This is what's different between the feet, causing some people to have it in either one or both feet. I cant see anything else that makes the feet different.

    My theory is that the problem is a reduced circulation flow caused by shoes simply being too tight. 

    It makes sense. A congenital defect i thought very unlikely, especially since lots of people seem to have this same problem, and neurologists and other nerve, back, musculoskeletal specialists have all been dumbfounded because they were looking for a "problem" that wasnt there. Dietry or nutritional cuases would imply both feet, and that person who lost weight and had _some_ improvement, implying the extra fat around the foot simply exaccerbated the existing blood flow problem. Some improvements for some people in different temperatures or attempting to looses laces also makes sense; it will work for some people who have a particular shaped foot, vein structure, and run style.

    I've started running at the beach with no shoes, and guess what, problem solved.

    If you're running in the future and you get stumpy syndrome, TAKE YOUR SHOE COMPELTELY OFF and see what happens and let me know.

  • Thank the Lord for this thread! I thought it was just me, until I finally found this thread using the correct search terminology image

    I'm going back to the gait analysis guy this week with a print out of this thread - hope all the problems you have all had over the years are better now!


  • Thank you to everyone who has posted.  
  • I run on an elliptical with two folded bath towels under my feet (for added cushion), with my shoes off, in a pair of socks.  The elliptical eliminates the pounding on my feet and gives a nice gentle rotation of both legs as I run.

     Around 3 miles into my run my left foot begins to go numb.  Wiggling my toes helps, but does not stop the numbness.  Raising my foot on the upward turn helps, but does not stop the numbness.

    I did look at the tops of my feet and indeed, I do see a different vein pattern across the tops of each of them..   The left foot that goes numb has veins that run to the side while my "good foot" has veins that run across the top, but with no shoes on, it shouldn't matter.  The blood in both feet should be free to circulate.

     I have tried 3 different pair of running shoes and my left foot went numb with each of them.  I only run 7 miles, but once it starts it does not go away.

    Vericose veins run in my family, but I do not have any vericose veins in my leg (nothing is showing anyway).

    I have low iron, but I take a good iron supplement everyday along with acidophilus and a multivitamin.  I'm borderline vegetarain and eat healthy foods on a regular basis.

    I do not stretch much before running so I will try that along with arch supports.  My best rusults have come when I run without shoes.  Although the left foot still goes numb, I can run further in socks before it begins. 

    I'm not overwieght (100 lbs.), but if taking off a few more pounds will help it would be worth it.  Still, my sister is at the same weight as me and does not have this problem even when she runs a full marathon.

    Having said all this, it seems like this is a problem within my foot since I can rule out many of the factors already mentioned by other runners.

    It would be nice to take care of it early on because I worry about permanent nerve damage.


  • I too have had this problem for a couple of years - pain, numbness and a crampy feeling in the toes of my left foot after about 7 miles - can be almost unbearable. I'm a non-smoker and on the under-weight side of normal. Pain goes immediately on stopping so not arthritis.

    I have read the 'Chi-running' book and changed my style accordingly to a mid-foot strike and very relaxed legs (bit like Pose method, but different!) As advised in the book I have ditched my heavy duty motion control shoes for neutral cushioned ones, as light as possible. Over the last 300 miles no problems at all! Did 15 miles yesterday without a twinge. Running generally feels easier and I have knocked 3 min off my 10k PB. I would recommend the book to anyone interested.

  • I injured my ankle pretty badly four years ago in volleyball.  It has never been the same but has never given me any trouble until recently.  I run and only get maybe 15 minutes down the road and it goes numb and my foot gets heavy.  I feel like I am running heavier and rolling my feet weird.  It has only happened a couple of times in the past two weeks, but I'm worried.  II was running and as like the past few times my foot got heavy and my ankle went numb.  I ended up tripping over a crack in the sidewalk because of it!   I didn't know if it was just my bum ankle causing this or if there was a problem out there for the problem.  Like the previous person said they wear Brooks and hate them.  I recently tried Brooks from a pair of Asics and wish I hadn't switched. I don't think it's the shoes but they may not be helping the situation.  Is there any solution that helps ankles like this?  I'm going to try some different excercises that will hopefully strengthen it if it is weak.  But I really don't want it to get in the way of my running. 

  • I have this problem too - it doesn't matter how loose my trainers are it almost always happens. One tihng I have noticed though is that running socks made this problem much worse. I don't know but suspect it might be that running socks don't fit everyone properly - I have a very high instep and I tihnk they were just too tight. Incidentally I evn tried running socks in a larger than normal size but this made no difference.   
  •  I have just got back from a run and for half of it i had a numb left foot, i think it's to do with a weakness in the ankle (maybe from an old or recurring injury) and the way i put the ankle down on the road when running. I went to the physio and she gave me a piece of elastic band to practice ankle exercises on it, it is meant to strengthen the ankle.

  • I've just started running again after a knee injury and noticed that the numbness I was getting last year had come back after about 30 mins into a run.  I tried loosening laces and stretching calves after reading this thread last year, and I'm sure stretching helped.  I also changed my trainers and had no problems after that so just assumed it was the old trainers. 

    Noticed in my case that my calves get very tight and then progresses to numbess in both feet - find that slowing to a walk and stretching calves a little helps to ease it and can continue running, but it is very frustrating as I want to keep going.  One thing in common with last year, is the time of year - i,e, winter, so i'm wondering whether in my case my muscles aren't warm enough even though I do dynamic stretching beforehand.  I'm hoping that in a few weeks time it will have eased off as my muscles get used to running again, but will continue calf stretches and loosening laces (anything to help!).

  • i did about 7 miles today and both my feet went numb about 3 miles into the run.  this had never happened to me before. but after reading this thread i remembered that i did not stretch my calves before the run and i hope that if i continue to stretch before i run, as i normally would, that this will go away
  • I. too, have had a totally numb right foot and toes after 5 or 6 miles.

    As far as I am concerned, it has nothing at all do with which shoes you wear, how they are laced, or the amount of cushioning.

    I am fairly certain the problem is neurological and in some way a response to a problem with the sciatic nerve. 

  • Hiya, i dont know wether it helps but i suffer from this too and have been to my doctor who has advised me that i have a Mortons Nueroma in my foot.  Its basically an inflammation of the nerve which runs between your 3rd and 4th metatarsal in your foot and when you run on it i.e aggrivate it it will cause a numbness in your toes, apparently it is quite common in runners and can be caused by ill fitting shoes or shoes that are too tight.  I have googled it and read a little about it, there are a few different treatments for it but as far as i can gather there are no real guarantees that the treatments work and that the only way to permanently get rid of it is surgery to cut out the affected bit of nerve!!!!  EEK, i'm opting for rest and insoles at the moment!  Hope that helps image 

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