Why Your Foot Goes Numb While Running

  • Last Updated: October 29th, 2019

Running is a great way to lose some weight, gain some stamina, and even help you think. If you are a runner, you are probably all too aware of the effects that hard running can give like muscle soreness or even blisters.

However, if you are your foot goes numb while running, similar to your legs going numb when sitting cross-legged for too long, you might start to panic and even back off on your running!

Why Your Foot Might Go Numb When Running

Some people report feeling that numbing sensation makes it difficult to keep their balance, and so they stop running with fear of pinched nerves or worse.

However, there are a few remedies that can easily help rid your body of that tingling sensation that makes it seem almost impossible to keep going. Here is what you need to know.

Get the Right Fit

Often, foot numbness while running is caused by running shoes that are too small or too tight in the toes. If you’re experiencing numbness while running, check the toe boxes on your shoes.

If there seem to be seams that could be pressing into your feet, you might want to invest in a new pair. Remember that your feet tend to spread out when you run, so you should get running shoes only after you’ve experimented with the fit of the shoes.

If you aren’t in the market for new shoes just yet, try experimenting with the lacings to give yourself more room to move.

Look at Your Training Plan

Sometimes, people jump right into running without giving training and conditioning much thought. However, if you aren’t giving yourself enough time to warm up, condition and train, you could be feeling these numb feelings along with putting yourself at risk for injury.

Try adding a bit of walking into your running routine by taking intervals. If you feel the numbness decreasing, try working on your conditioning and training aside from running to build up strength in your legs and ankles. If the problem persists, try taking out more running or just taking a few days off of running to a condition in another way.

Sometimes, altering your running plan could be just what you need to fix the numb feelings.

Check the Way You Run

Some people think that midsole should land first and others think that toes and heels should land first. However, you need to find out what you are doing and try to adjust. Often, adjusting the location where your feet hit the payment can help alleviate any numbness you might have while running.

This should be a gradual change, however, and not a quick adjustment. Start by running without worrying about your form. See where your feet strike, and make a gradual plan to adjust your form. Start by walking around or jogging by using the new foot strike. This can help you change where your feet hit the surface and hopefully relieve the numbness.

Consult a Doctor

Though you shouldn’t panic and call your doctor as soon as you start feeling that numbness, you should consult your doctor if you’ve tried everything without relief. If the problems go away for a while then come back again, you should make an appointment with an orthopedist or a podiatrist to have them look at your ankles and feet. There might be another underlying issue that is causing the numbness to persist.

However, if you try something and it removes the numbness, you shouldn’t need to speak with your doctor unless you are uncomfortable running on your feet.

How to Treat Foot and Toe Numbness When Exercising

This video below from the guys over at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington does a good job in explaining more on possible causes of foot numbness and how you can further treat the condition.

The Bottom Line

Running is a great way to stay in shape and improve overall endurance. If you are a runner and begin to notice your feet feeling numb or tingly when you’re running, you shouldn’t worry.

There could be something simple like the wrong shoes, the wrong workout plan, or the wrong foot strike that is causing the issues. However, if you try everything, but the problems persist, you might want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to check everything in your feet and ankles to ensure there are no underlying causes of the numbness.

So that’s it, now you know why your foot goes numb while running. Remember, just like professional athletes, you should take care of your body. That feeling of numbness is not fun, but it is typically something minor. With a few adjustments, you’ll be back pounding the pavement in no time.

Scott Holliday

Scott Holliday has been coaching athletes of all levels for over 10 years and is certified by the acclaimed International Triathlon Coaching Association (ITCA). He works with athletes of all abilities to help then unlock their potential.