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Foot Numbness During Work Outs

When I use the arc trainer after about 12 minutes my feet go numb, kinda on the pinky side into my toes. On the eliptical I can go about 20 min if I use a high angle.

I cant use the treadmill because I have plantar fasicitis (sorry bout spelling) so long walks on there any good for my arches even with orthotics, the podiatrist said the treadmill is the last thing people with my condition are able to do again.

Does this happen to anyone else? Does it get better with time/weight loss? Am I doing something wrong possibly?

Mon. Apr 16, 3:54pm

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Below is a link to a similar thread. In case it doesn't work, the subject line is "Numb foot and elliptical".

My quick-fix: consciously shift your weight so you're carrying a little more on your heels instead of your balls (the ones on your feet, of course). The numbness should start to dissipate pretty quickly.


Monday, April 16, 2007, 4:20 PM

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Definitely happens to me too!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007, 4:27 PM

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I have that problem from time to time and I wiggle my toes and push with my heels and it helps.

Monday, April 16, 2007, 4:29 PM

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me, too.

Monday, April 16, 2007, 4:43 PM

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Its from a lack of circulation to your toes because of your posture or your exerting your self a lot and all of your blood is going to more critical areas like your internal organs but the more you exercise the better it gets.


Monday, April 16, 2007, 6:26 PM

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Could you have possibly tied your shoes too tight? When I run I don't want my runners moving around, but there is such a thing as tying them too tight...

I never understand how walking on a treadmill can be out for a person... unless they're already with a walker or wheelchair...

Monday, April 16, 2007, 6:52 PM

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I think the above comment is sort of obnoxious...Im not the OP but I have a back problem and was told to stop ALL exercising...walking, running, elliptical, etc. And I am not in a wheelchair.

Monday, April 16, 2007, 9:06 PM

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If muscles aren't used, they atrophy. Walking is generally how people get around- sure, you can fly or drive, but you still usually have to walk to your car or to your seat. If you have to stay off your feet for an injury, or can't use your legs, of course a treadmill is out. But if you walk through the grocery store or the mall, you can use a treadmill. Of course, that doesn't mean you can run on it. A treadmill isn't just for running.

Monday, April 16, 2007, 9:56 PM

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I get numbness too, on my fourth toes. Drives me nuts! Would love a solution. And it's just with a lot of hard working out of various kinds, not tight shoes or anything obvious. I start imagining my toes are going to get gangrene or something and that kinda takes the fun out of the workout.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 1:33 AM

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I had/have plantar fasciitis as well. I have to tell you, I have been able to stop the pain almost entirely. I had a cortizone shot several years ago. That helped, but supposedly, its affect is not permanent. At the same time, my podiatrist explained the problem to me and showed me exercises to help. I found it difficult to do the exercises as he had said, but found something similar that helped me immensely.
Find a curb or small ledge. Put your heel on the bottom surface, and your toes up on the top ledge. (Keep your foot in a straight forward position.) Now, keep your heel down and gently lean in toward the ledge pressing your foot down to get a stretch in the arch area of your foot. When you feel a good stretch in the arch area, hold the position while you count to about 30. Stretch it out. Try doing the same thing with just your toes pressed straight up against the wall or ledge. At first, I did this about 5 times each morning, and it has made a huge difference to me. When my foot felt better, I just do it as I thought about it or when I was standing near a curb at the bus stop or something. It's been at least 5 years since my corizone shot now, and I've probably only done this exercise 4 or 5 times in the last year. When my foot starts to hurt - as it occasionally does - I do it again, and the pain is gone. Walking rarely bothers my foot at all. Good Luck -- I hope that helps.

On the numbing thing -- it really could be that your shoes are too tight - since you said it was mostly on the outside. I would venture a guess that your foot is wider than your shoe near the toes, and that the exercise action pushes your toes into the shoe.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 1:33 AM

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I used to get that numbness too, whenever I got on the elliptical. I'd always understood that it was a nerve thing rather than a circulation thing.

I can only echo the previous posters and say to put more weight over your heels. You could also start pedaling backwards. That almost always makes the feeling come back for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 2:57 AM

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wiggle your toes

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 4:05 AM

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manurse wrote that it gets better as you exercise more. i totally agree with that! i was discouraged at first when the numbness hit me...i though maybe i was too heavy to use the eliptical trainer i had just spent $200 for. but i persevered and, alas, the numbness has virtually gone completely.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 9:24 AM

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to the OP,
I get numbness too. I've been using the elliptical for a while and it still happens. It isn't my shoes or posture, it just happens. I shift my weight or wiggle my toes and it seems to help.

As for not being able to go on the treadmill:
I am a 21 yr old very healthy person and I was told by my doctor not to use the treadmill. I have bad knees from being in dance for 15 years. It litreally takes 5 minutes of walking on the treadmill for my knees to give out. I can run outside, but the bounce in the treadmill and keeping a straight line, not maneuvering turns and curves, causes my tendons to cramp and I have fallen 3 times due to this problem. So before you say ANYONE can use a treadmill, think of all the possibilities. I do heavy cardio workouts 6x a week including spinning, striptease aerobics, step, and elliptical, but the treadmill is simply out of the question.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 11:02 AM

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the second part of my post above was not for the OP, it was for the person who said anyone can go on a treadmill if they aren't in a wheelchair.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 11:02 AM

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my feet go numb too. i've tried wiggling my toes, shifting my weight and even buying a half size bigger shoe. no luck... i can go 10 min max on an elliptical, then it become so painful i find it hard to walk. so i mix 10 min on the elliptical with 20 min treadmill and 20 min treadclimber for a total of 50 min.

it also keeps from getting stuck in a rut with cardio.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 4:27 PM

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i agree. i just purchased new shoes and i think as dumb as it sounds, i was tying my shoes a little too tight.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 1:07 AM

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I have plantar fasciitis, and I use the treadmill. I used to run, and I haven't been able to yet, but my doc sure never said I should stop walking.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 1:40 AM

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I get it too. My shoes are definately not too tight. Thanks for all the suggestions I will defiantely try them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 10:45 AM

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I had the same problem. I couldn't go more than 5-6 minutes w/o numbness. I even tried w/o shoes at all! The only thing I found as a cure was to switch to the treadmill. No problems there.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 12:38 PM

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I've had the same problem. I find it worse the tighter my shoes are. One thing that helps me is to lift my foot slightly off the pedal as I walk. I only do this occasional. I also find this worse with different ellipticals. I've tried several kinds. I too have issues on the treadmill with knees, ankles and shins. I definitely find the elliptical less stressful to my joints.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 2:16 PM

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The elliptical is FAR better for your knees and your ankles than a treadmill machine, _especially_ for those who, like us, have been carrying extra weight around for some time, already overburdening our joints just from standard walking.

I have gotten that numbness as well, however, and, like others here, found that it does away if I shift my weight onto my heels instead of the toes, lift my feet up off hte pedal a bit when weight is not on that foot, wiggling my toes, and making sure I am wearing wide shoes as my feet are wider than normal and not tying them too tightly (so, a combination of all the above). Specifically, to avoid getting the numbness to begin with, I would concentrate on proper form, which is to imagine you are walking and not peddling like bike, imagining stepping on the ground beneath you, more erect, so that your weight falls more naturally on your heels as you push the pedals--it's a bit awkward at first, but you can get into a rhythm. I had some physical therapy after being bedridden for four weeks ina hospital recently, and one of the exercises I did (to also bring back some balance I had lost) was to walk around a large room on my toes. If I did that for any great distance, hmmm, my toes owuld start to go numb! As a guy, it definitely made me more strongly in favor of women wearing flats whenever they want than I already was to begin with!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 5:00 AM

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Uh, no, ellipticals are not better for your knees. That is some BS that elliptical makers fabricated to sell their product- sadly, even some health care providers have bought into it. Your knees were designed to handle the movement of walking and running. Walking is how cave people got from A to B and running is what they did to catch food or not become food. The bizzare movement of being on an elliptical does not mimic ANY natural movement, and often causes other joint problems.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 9:56 AM

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So glad to read this...had huge numb patches on my feet after 3 full days of hiking. It worried me tremendously.

They are recovered (part of it was callouses) except for one weird patch underneath my second toe on one foot.

From the research I did, it seems to be a nerve problem and a foot trauma problem. I have has similar problems with my fingers when I bike. So it is a traumatic overuse injury. Need to play with things and make some changes.

Maybe for the eliptical users changing from that machine every few minutes and getting off your feet for a curcuit of "something else" will help. Then return for another short blast. Repeat until you are done. With experimenatation you can learn what works and what doesn't.

Thursday, October 23, 2008, 10:10 AM

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9:56am -- do you have any studies you can link for us? I don't care about manufacturer adveritising -- to me it just seems like common sense that, while the knees were designed for the _motion_ of walking and ruhnning, yes, but I don't think they were designed to have the force of gravity on the fat of an overweight and especially not obese person. The force of bone against bone, not the movement of joint ligaments between them, is what concerns me. I know sijmply from personal experience that my knees hurt more (and longer) after an hour of running than they do after an hour on an elliptical machine. And I'm only 20 percent over my optimum weight.

Friday, October 24, 2008, 2:30 PM

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This happens to me too on the elliptical. I now just make sure to move my feet around a little more to improve circulation.

Saturday, October 25, 2008, 3:01 PM

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Thanks Manurse!

Thanks Manurse! Information about foot numbness almost always blames it on shoe fit, but I exercise barefoot, so that doesn't apply. I never considered that my heart is borrowing blood from my toes! This is the first time I've had numb toes... but I am returning to exercise after a long hiatus, and my fitness level is probably the lowest it has ever been. This makes perfect sense and I really appreciate that you took the time to post your logical answer! Thanks again!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009, 12:48 PM

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