Numbness in Foot during running



  • i have run almost every day since my post 2 and a half weeks ago and i have stretched my calves beforehand every time.  the problem has gone away completely. this might be something for the rest of you to try, though i doubt it will help with nervous system problems
  • I get the numbness in the last 3 toes on my left foot.  I can cope with it when running but when skiing recently I was in so much agony I took my boots and socks off and stuck my toes in the snow! and the pain getting the boot off was unbearable.  I changed my boot for a full size bigger.  It was like skiing in wellies but the pain had gone. 

    I think the key is looseness around the area.  After reading about it a bit I'm sure mine is damaged nerves from years of cold feet plus a bit of arthritis.  The joys of getting older hey.

  • I get this in my right leg/foot. I do loads of streches before and after I go out to try and stop it. It seems to be worse when doing hill work. It starts off with my  right calf tightening loads and slowly I get pins and needles in my foot before loosing feeling completly. I have a  gait analysis whenever I get new trainers and the sports bods don't seem to be able to offer any advice apart from stretching. I went for my LSR this week and it struck quite quickly at about 2 miles and stayed with me until mile 7 when it just dissapeared.

    I did break a metarsel in my right foot a few years back and wonder if this is the cause. Ahh I guess we will just have to live with it.

  • Hey, I was having this pain as well and I just started running,  Very weird after about 4 miles the feet, sometimes one sometimes the other, would go numb and felt like i was running on a stump. 

    Today I got back from a run and all I did was take my socks off!

    No problems whatsoever.  I usually have to stop around 5 or 6 miles but went 10 today.

    Hope this helps you all too image
  • Hi,

    I've had my feet go numb when I've been running and by experimenting I have discovered that it was the result of heel striking.  When I altered my gait so that I was striking the ground with my mid/fore foot the problem went away.

    I hope this helps.

  • Well not sure if this helps anyone, but the same are of the foot that was numb hurts when I sit in traffic jams and touch the accelerator.  In my case it's the outside of the ankle in the space where the shin bone meets the foot.  Im thinking of going to a sports physio and will post findings and any recommendations.
  • I recently ran a 10K (part road, part beach) race and about 40 mins in my whole left foot went numb. Wasn't particularly painful but felt that I had no real control over my foot, as it was full of pins and needles. I tried stopping and wiggling toes but as that didn't work, I carried on running to the finish. After finishing the race, the numbness gradually disappeared without me doing anything - not even taking off trainers. I checked laces and they seemed fine. I've been wearing the same trainers (saucony) for a few months now so can't understand why this has suddenly happened. It really freaked me out!
  • After a month of problems, i finally found the exact cause and a possible easy solution (yay). First of all, here is what the problem was:

    • pain/numbness in toes/ball of foot (only on right foot)
    • sometimes tingling in toes (only on right foot)
    • starts around mile 2-3
    • goes away if i walk

    I used to run on my heels, and recently had switched to running on the balls of my feet. This is when I first noticed a problem.

    Here is how I discovered why it was happening:

    1. place both bare feet on a flat floor (either bathroom or kitchen, for example)
    2. curl toes inward (just slightly enough to apply pressure to the floor, not a full curl)
    3. look at your toe joints; some of my right toes' joints buckled, looking like hammertoes

    I could only tell i had this problem when i curled my toes on the ground, otherwise my feet look 100% symmetrical and show no signs of hammertoe.

    After searching online, I *think* a good solution to this is to strengthen the toe muscles though physical therapy. One possible exercise i found was this:

    1. curl toes, hold for 5 seconds
    2. rest for 5 seconds
    3. raise toes, hold for 5 seconds

    Another one:

    1. place bare foot flat on carpet
    2. curl toes at the carpet; pulling the carpet towards you.

    So far, it looks like my right foot's toes are beginning to curl more naturally, but there's still room for improvement. I havent ran since i discovered this; i'm wanting to make sure those toes are stronger before i do another run.

    My solution might need more work, like the assistance of toe stretchers or hammertoe pad things, but just knowing the cause of the pain is a huge relief to me.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!

  • I posted back on here in 2007 after getting numb feet from running for over 7 years.  I still get them image but have now been diagnosed with reynolds syndrome and aneamia - neither of which will help, according to the doctor.  He reckons it's a problem with my blood vessels not carrying enough blood to the feet that is the problem, probably due to swelling during the run.  He said it would gradually improve as I run more and my body adjusts....
  • I ran 5 miles last night and after roughly 2 and a half miles my feet both went numb, this was preceeded by a tightness in both of my lower calf muscles.  This was really quite annoying as my head and lungs were feeling absolutely fine so I continued on for another mile and a half on stumps until a mile towards the end when the feeling miraculously returned to my feet.  They had recovered so much they felt like new feet so I managed the last mile easily.  Not sure why I suddenly got this.  Have felt a slight tingly numb sensation before but its not as a result of trainers being too tight, as they're a size bigger than actual.  It might've been the laces though.  Calf strain is also an issue but I've attributed this to wearing high heels predominantely over the last 20 years which I understand can shorten the calf muscle.  I'll take on board some of the tips on here and am relieved its not just me who's suffering with this. 
  • I get this sometimes Zoe (hi namesake!) and my doctor said it can be sign of diabetes, but thankfully wasn't. I have tight achilles' and just stretch them more (heel doesn't lift & lower properly so I get more pressure on balls of feet.) Or something like that!. Mostly helps. I'm going to try heel lift/support insoles if they exit for trainers. I have them in my ski boots and they make all the world of difference.
  • Thanks Zoe!  Took your advice and have since made sure I stretch properly before every run, for about 5 mins in the garden before I set off.  Fingers crossed, since then no foot numbness whatsoever.  Managed to run 6 miles twice last week too!  Thanks for the advice, am also considering heel lifts as well. 
  • thanks to everyone who contributed so far, i would like to share my own case and (partial yet helpful) solutions, and failed solutions for that matter.

    i happen to suffer from both numbness at predominately right feet and rarely n. at left feet, and a strain in my right back-calf, to the right side of the achilles tendon. Even though numbness and strain/aching do not always coexist, they mostly do and hence probably are related.

    by the way i run about 60- 80 mins, keeping very slow (about 10 km/h ), feeling very comfortable in terms of heart beat throughout the run.

    i have been to an orthopedist, and got several scans of my musculature, bones etc only to find out that nothing was noticeably wrong with bones/joints/circulation

    i am 25, spent years up to age 20 playing lots of serious football, so i dismiss the possibility of having weak muscles for runnning,

    what works for me:

    -stretching/releasing exercises - your oldschool leg/knee achilles exercises work unbelievably, doing them for at least 3-4 minutes instead of my previous ignorant 30 secs worked -exponential- wonders!

    - loosening the laces at the front foot area.

    -taking slight breaks, even though i hate 'em.

    -running with a higher stress on toes, avoiding excessive heel impact., as suggested by several posts so far.

    what does not work, or works too slightly to take seriously:

    -various brands of sorbothane running insoles purchased for around 25 pounds at ebay (though i havent tried scholl's yet)

    -switching among different brands/models of r. shoes (tried various popular brands/models so far, being careful about my type of pronation etc.)

    -visiting a specialist (even though it helped with my fears of having a serious condition which might prevent running for the rest of my life),

    hope this helps, best

  • Hello - I haven't read through all the posts but I went to see my physio yesterday for niggles on a leg and one of the issues is numbness in big toe on left foot which spreads - usually when running and not all the time.

    Physio thinks it's due to some baseball boots I wear during the day which are not giving me adequate support, as I have also had this issue with those shoes and no others that I wear day to day.

  • Barky - I am glad you mentioned about your ski boots.  I had forgotten that my feet go numb in those too, and I had heel lifts put in which have improved it (although not got rid of it altogether).  My walking boots are the same....  I'm becoming increasingly sure this is an achilles thing so I'm going to start achilles specific stretching and see if that helps things.
  • Im 24 and started medium distance running about 5 months ago. About 10km per day. Anyway around 2 months ago my right foot started going numb almost every time I went running. So i went and saw a guy about it and he said that all the muscles in the back of my legs, expecially right at the top underneath the bum, were far to tight. So now before i run, and most importantly after i run, I do that stretch (amongst others) where i bend over, keeping my legs straight and attempt to touch my tose with my hands. At first I found it incredibly hard because all my back leg muscles had become so tight, but over time I can how stretch down far enough to put my hand under my toes. I hold this each time for 3 minutes. Your legs muscles may start contracting but I was told this was good, and as long as its not too painful try keep the stretch for as long as you can (well for the full 3 minutes).. Anyway this has totally fixed that numbness in my foot. I really recommend it to anyone. Proper strething really is the key i've found.

    Anyway I hope this helps anyone with the problem, I know how frustrating it can be

  • At last, I'm not going insane! I started running again a few months ago and I noticed my right foot going numb a short while after I start a run, about 2-3 miles in it fades away but it's a real hassle, especially if running on xc terrain and uphill as I've fallen from not being able to lift my foot properly.

    Since then I have begun to notice a dead leg sensation which appears to be getting worse evey time I go out running, except it feels much worse when I stop. It started out as a dull ache in my right quad and has slowly made it's way down my leg with a throbbing pain on the inside of my shin. It's driving me insane! Do you think the numb foot and dead leg are linked? Not sure what to do about it at the moment but really don't want to stop running! I have tried the swaping trainers but to no avail.

     Any advice/suggestions welcomed! Thanks

  • truly reassuring to know this numbness condition is not just me. i am just returning to the activity after a year+ layoff due to a string of injuries. although i previously had experienced the numbness in my right foot described so accurately by many here, i have been scared to death that this numbness was the same old injuries creeping back into my routine. strange. there is no pain associated with my numb foot but as some have described here i do experience either tight calf muscles or hamstring tightness prior to most episodes. like many here i know i do not stretch as well as i should prior to running but i'm going to start.

    good luck!
  • I used to get pins and needles/numbness in my feet. Have found that if I leave the 2nd and 3rd holes unlaced from the toes downwards so that no laces are criss crossed across the middle section of my feet then it goes away. So thread the laces through the first top holes then miss out the next 2 lots and start from the 4th set of holes nearer the ankle. Hope that makes sense.
  • Has anyone else experienced numbness, tingling, pins and needles, burning etc in a foot at rest (always fine when I run but running and tight calves are almost certainly a contributory factor)?  And more importantly, has anyone got a solution for such a condition?



  • Hi All,

    Just a note to review the type of clothing you wear when out running. I know it sounds daft but I suffer from 'occassional' numb feet and noticed that when I wear normal jogging trousers my circulation is much better than when I wear my Solomon 3/4 length trousers. My body tends to swell slightly (noticably in the hands) when running and I think the type of clothing I wear is affecting my circulation. Try loose clothes, and loosen the laces (a must as feet swell) to see if that helps.

    Also, I use Nike Zoom Structure Triax 12 and am not having much success with them. I think they are too clumpy on the heal and too supportive for my feet. I've been running for 2 months (achieved 10km under an hour on Sunday) and I probably should try different shoes. Unfortunately everyone is different and a potion of it is trial and error. Running should be natural and not a concentrative effort to overcome aches and pains.  

    Best of luck and happy running, I know I love it!!


  • Hi all,

    I just read the first 15 or so posts.  I have the same issue, pain at the ball of my foot and numbing toes then pins and needles in mny toes (both feet) to the point of forcing me to break from the run.  I get the same pain on the road, the elliptical, and the bike.

     I found a website discussing neuromas of the foot (basically inflamation of a nerve in the toes).

    My next step is to try the metatarsal pad recommended in this article.  I met with my physiologist today and he has never heard of this, so I'm glad that I found this posting.  I may meet with my orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist to ask for further suggestions.  There is a surgical remedy, but I'd like to leave that to the last option.

    I hope that this is helpful,


  • I experience the same issues. I found only loosening my laces have helped but not always. The symptoms come and go irratically. Don't know when and for how long. I found an article at the following link that helped explain this medically. I'm going to try a few of their suggestions to see if I can make this go away reliably. Hope it helps someone else too. Good luck to all on this post.

  • Oh thank god its not just me!!

    I find this happens in my right foot about 2-3 miles in as well - left leg/foot feels totally fine but pain on he inside of the right calve (above the ankle) and numbness across the top of my right foot. I'm really trying to stretch out well both during and after a run but still this pain persists in about 90% of my runs! so frustrating as I end up going at a snails pace due to the pain! I echo what everyone else has said, if anyone find out what it is please post on here!

  • One of my clients, who took 45 seconds off his mile time this year,  just sent me this forum because a fellow runner is sufffering from numbness in both her feet when she runs.  I am so sorry all of you are having so many problems...but,

    Finally some good information concerning all the previously mentioned problems and many others.  How do I know this?  Because I am a Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Certified Specialist that has worked on runners and many others for over 7 years helping to resolve these problems for my clients.  The national web site is This technique was developed for the specific purpose to help professional athletes to endure the punishment their bodies endure day in and day out performing thier respective sports and it can help you as well.  If you want to find a specialist that can help you locally please check out the website for one located near you who has experience with foot function.  I have taken the class 3 times and I still feel like I don't know all there is to know about the foot ...when the foot hits the ground  - you know what hits the fan!!!!

     The bottom line is that the majority of these conditions and ailments are caused by muscle imbalances that cause compensation patterns THAT CAN BE SOLVED BY WORKING WITH A MAT SPECIALIST..  Compensation patterns stress other muscles and the joints they are attached to and help regulate which can lead to impingement of nerves that cause numbness and tingling.. 

    As long as you run and want to stay healthy set aside some time and money to keep yourself running for years to come.... If you have more specific questions feel free ask...

    I hope this gives you all hope and a place to get some answers...

  • I too suffer from Achilles tightness followed by foot numbness approximately 2-3 miles into my run.  I currently wear Saucony ProGrid Guides in order to correct over-pronation but I'm starting to think they hurt rather than help matters.  Aggressive stretching seems to be the consensus on this thread.  I will try to be more diligent about that but so far it hasn't proven very helpful. 

     I have already tried loosening laces, getting thinner socks and experimenting with different surfaces. 

     I am 30 years old and weigh about 155 lbs.  Have any of you found solutions that don't involve surgery/extensive treatment?  I have read conflicting information on increasing/lowering one's heel height in order to alleviate the strain on the Achilles tendon. 

  • Hi Tim

    The best thing you can do is use isometrics on your feet... you suffer from muscle imbalances in the foot and lower leg which can be caused by the repetitive stress of running.  Go to this web site ---not mine and I get no financial gains from referring someone to it... for the track and field DVD workout that has a great lowerleg and foot exercise program included for $100 us dollars... don't stretch as it makes the situation worse in the long run.  a good place to start is to curl the toes and internally rotate the foor in then curl and rotate the foot out.  Use different heights of rotation to work different muscles... if you can provide your email address to my website, I can send you a pdf file of the exact exercises you can try on your own.  Sincerely Kim  ps this exercise I discribed above will most likel y cause the foot to cramp, but continue after the cramp subsides and your commitment to stronger feet will benefit you in the long pun intended lol

  • So glad I stumbled accross this.  I started running a few months ago, was feeling quite pleased with being able to run for longer and suddenly I started to get a really numb right foot, it starts going numb then I get the 'running on a stump' feeling, then I get a pain across the top of the foot and I feel like a can no longer flex my ankle at all as if it is locked in the neutral position.  I have to stop running when this happens as it makes me run all strange!  Plus it hurts.

     Once I stop running within a few minutes the feeling is totally back and it feels fine.  It is also completely fine in between running and also fine when I go on the crosstrainer or stepper!  It was really worrying me as I like running round the local area and thought I had maybe really damaged my foot.  I havent tried loosening my trainers, and thinking about it I suppose they are reasonably tight.  Think I will also try stretching more now before running which I admit I dont do much at the moment.

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions, at least I know its not just me, thought maybe because I am getting older my body just wasnt fit enough for running!

  • An update for anyone interested image

    I loosened my trainers today so they were a loose as I could get them and I had no numbness in my foot! I can't believe it was really as simple as trainers being too tight, feel a little silly image but at least my problem is solved (for now!)

    Thanks all.

  • Hi All,

    Finally a few answers to a problem ive had on and off for years. Very similar, foot starts going numb about 30 minutes in. Nobody I know has had the problem and it drives me mad. It starts to get the better of me mentally on the longer runs. I lol forward to trying some of the suggestions out in the upcoming weeks.

    Thank you

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