One of the most common issues faced by runners is numb toes when running. This can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience, especially for those who love to run regularly. In this blog post, we will explore what causes numb toes when running and what remedies are available to prevent it from happening.
If you are looking for the answer to the painful question of how do I stop my feet from going numb when I run, look no longer.
Why do toes go numb while running?
Toe numbness when running may result from a number of different running mistakes and medical conditions. You can prevent it by incorporating some useful tips into your running routine. However, if you experience regular numbness, it is a good idea to consult your healthcare provider to check for any possible injuries.
5 The Main Reasons Why Toes Go Numb When Running
Some runners may experience a tingling or numbness in their toes during or after a run. This can be uncomfortable and even painful, and it’s important to understand why it happens. By understanding the potential causes, you can take steps to prevent numb toes and enjoy a comfortable and pain-free running experience.
Let’s discuss the main reasons why toes go numb when running.
1. Poorly Fitted Shoes
One of the most common reasons for numb toes when running is poorly fitted shoes. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause pressure on the nerves in your feet, leading to tingling or numbness. It’s important to ensure that your running shoes fit properly to avoid this issue.
2. Cold Temperatures
Running in cold temperatures can also cause numb toes. When it’s cold outside, blood vessels in your feet constrict to conserve heat, which can reduce blood flow to your toes. This lack of blood flow can cause numbness or tingling. Wearing warm socks and shoes can help to prevent this issue.
3. Poor Running Form
Poor running form can also contribute to numb toes. When you run, you should land on the middle of your feet, not your toes. Landing on your toes can cause compression of the nerves in your feet, leading to numbness. It’s important to work on your running form to prevent this issue.
4. Nerve Compression
Nerve compression can also cause numb toes when running. This can occur when nerves in your feet or legs are compressed due to various factors, including tight shoes, injuries, or even anatomical issues. If you experience numb toes frequently, seeing a doctor to rule out nerve compression is important.
5. Medical Conditions
Finally, medical conditions such as diabetes and peripheral artery disease can lead to numb toes from running. These conditions affect blood flow and nerve function, leading to loss of sensation in your toes. If you suspect you have a medical condition, seeing a doctor is important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Why Do Toes Go Numb After Running: 5 Core Reasons
Many runners also experience numbness in their toes after running. Here are the main reasons why toes go numb after running and what you can do to prevent it.
1. Tight Muscles
Tight muscles in your feet or legs can cause numb toes when running. When your muscles are tight, they can compress nerves, leading to a loss of sensation in your toes. Stretching before and after your run can help to alleviate this issue.
Injuries to your feet or legs can also cause numb toes after running. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis or stress fractures can pressure nerves, leading to loss of sensation in your toes. If you suspect you have an injury, you should see a doctor or physical therapist to address the issue.
3. Poor Circulation
Poor circulation is another common cause of toe numbness. Your body needs more oxygen when you run, and your heart pumps faster to supply it. If your circulatory system is not working correctly, your toes may not get enough blood flow, causing them to go numb. You can do exercises that strengthen your legs and feet, or wear compression socks to improve circulation.
4. Pinched Nerves
Sometimes, toes can go numb due to pinched nerves. This can happen when you run on uneven surfaces or wear shoes that don’t fit well. When a nerve is pinched, it can cause tingling or numbness in the toes. To prevent this, try to run on even surfaces and make sure you wear shoes that fit well.
Overpronation is a common foot problem that can cause toe numbness. This occurs when your foot rolls inward too much when you run, which can pressure the nerves in your toes. To prevent overpronation, wear shoes with good arch support or use orthotics.
5 Ways to Prevent Numbness in Your Toes When Running
Whatever the cause, numbness in your toes can be uncomfortable and even painful. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent this from happening during your runs.
1. Proper Footwear
One of the most common causes of numbness in the toes while running is wearing shoes that are too tight or loose. This can cause pressure on the toes, leading to numbness. Invest in a good pair of running shoes that fit properly, with enough room for your toes to move around comfortably.
Another way to prevent numb toes from running is to stretch properly beforehand. This can help to improve circulation and reduce the risk of cramping or pinching nerves in your feet. Take a few minutes to stretch your legs and feet before you hit the pavement, and consider doing some foot exercises to strengthen your toes.
3. Adjust Your Form
Sometimes, the way you run can create a situation where the big toe is numb after running. If you tend to run on the balls of your feet or with your toes pointed downwards, you may be putting too much pressure on your toes. Try adjusting your form to land on your midfoot or heels, and keep your toes relaxed as you run.
4. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can also contribute to numbness in your toes when running. Ensure you drink enough water before, during, and after your runs to stay hydrated. This can help to improve circulation and reduce the risk of cramping or pinched nerves.
5. Check for Medical Conditions
If you’ve tried all of these tips and are still experiencing numbness in your toes when running, it may be time to see a doctor. Numbness can be a symptom of underlying medical conditions, such as nerve damage or circulation problems. Your doctor can help to diagnose and treat any underlying issues, allowing you to run comfortably and safely.
8 Ways to Get Rid of Numb Toes After Running
Let’s discuss some simple ways to get rid of numb toes after running. These tips can help if you don’t have an underlying medical condition.
1. Change Your Running Surface
Running on the same surface can cause numbness in your toes. Try changing your running surface to a softer surface, such as grass or a track. This will help to reduce the impact on your feet and toes, which can help prevent numbness.
2. Massage Your Feet
Massaging your feet can increase blood flow to your toes, which can help to prevent toe numbness when running. Before and after your run, take some time to massage your feet. This will help to loosen up your muscles and prevent any soreness or numbness.
3. Take Breaks
If you run for an extended period of time, take breaks to rest your feet and toes. This will help to reduce the impact on your feet and toes, which can help prevent numbness. Taking breaks will also help to reduce any soreness or tension you may be experiencing.
Subscribe to Our Running Newsletter!
Get free running tips from renowned professional athletes and discounts from top-notch brands.
4. Change Your Running Shoes
If you are experiencing numbness in your toes, it may be time to change your running shoes. Choose shoes that fit well and provide ample support to your feet. You can also try getting custom orthotics to help support your feet and reduce numbness.
5. Adjust Your Laces
If your shoelaces are too tight, they can cause numbness in your toes. Make sure to adjust your laces to be comfortable and provide enough space for your toes. This will help to reduce any numbness you may be experiencing.
6. Pick Proper Socks and Arch Support
Wearing proper socks can also help prevent numbness in your toes. Look for socks that have a snug fit and are made of moisture-wicking materials. Avoid socks that are too tight or too loose.
Having proper arch support can also help prevent numb toes. Consider getting shoes with arch support or adding arch support inserts to your shoes. This will help to distribute your weight evenly and reduce pressure on your toes.
7. Warm Up
Warming up before your run is essential to prevent numbness in your toes. Take some time to stretch your feet and toes, and do some light jogging before you start your run. This will help loosen up your muscles and prevent any soreness or numbness.
8. Change the Running Route
Running the same route every day can cause your feet to become accustomed to the same type of terrain. Try changing your route to different types of surfaces, such as hills, trails, or pavement. This will help prevent your feet from becoming too used to one type of surface.
Can Numbness in the Toes from Running Indicate a Medical Condition?
If you experience regular toe numbness after running and these simple tips don’t help, it may indicate a number of different medical conditions. Here are the most common:
1. Nerve Compression
Nerve compression is one of the most common reasons for numbness in the toes when running. Nerves in your feet can become compressed due to tight shoes or laces, or even from running on uneven or hard surfaces. This can cause numbness, tingling, or even pain in the toes. In most cases, adjusting your footwear or running on softer surfaces can alleviate these symptoms. However, if the symptoms persist, consulting with a medical professional may be necessary.
2. Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves in the peripheral nervous system. This can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the toes and feet. While there are many potential causes of peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetes, it can also be caused by repetitive motion activities, such as running. If you are experiencing persistent numbness in your toes while running, it is important to consider the possibility of peripheral neuropathy and consult with your doctor.
3. Morton’s Neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is a condition that affects the nerves between the toes, typically between the third and fourth toes. This can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the toes, as well as a feeling that there is a small pebble or marble in your shoe. Running and other high-impact activities can exacerbate Morton’s neuroma symptoms. If you are experiencing persistent numbness and pain in your toes while running, it is important to consider the possibility of Morton’s neuroma and consult with your doctor.
4. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the tibial nerve, which runs along the inside of the ankle and foot. This condition is caused by nerve compression, leading to numbness, tingling, and toe pain. Runners who experience these symptoms should seek medical attention to determine if tarsal tunnel syndrome is the cause. Treatment may include rest, ice, compression, and physical therapy.
5. Raynaud’s Syndrome
Raynaud’s syndrome is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the toes and fingers to narrow, leading to numbness and tingling. This condition is more common in women than men and can be triggered by exposure to cold temperatures or stress. In runners, Raynaud’s syndrome can be triggered by repetitive stress on the feet and pressure on the blood vessels.
6. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. This condition is common in runners and can be caused by overuse or improper footwear. In some cases, plantar fasciitis can also cause numbness in toes when running.
If you experience numbness in your toes during or after a run, it is essential to consult a medical professional for a proper diagnosis.
Frequently Asked Questions about Numb Toes Running
When Should I Be Worried About Numbness in My Toes?
Various factors, such as poor circulation, nerve damage, or a pinched nerve, can cause numbness in the toes. If the numbness continues or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, swelling, or difficulty moving, it’s important to speak to your doctor. Don’t ignore any unusual sensations in your toes, which could indicate a more serious underlying condition.
How to Lace Running Shoes for Numb Toes
If you’re experiencing numbness in your toes while running, the problem might be how you’re lacing your shoes. Try using the “window lacing” technique, which involves skipping a set of eyelets near your toes to create a wider opening. This allows for more blood flow and can help alleviate numbness.
Final Thoughts on Numb Toes When Running
Numb toes when running can be a frustrating experience for runners. However, by understanding the causes of the problem and implementing the remedies discussed in this blog post, runners can reduce the risk of experiencing numbness in their toes. Remember to wear properly fitting shoes, run on softer surfaces, and take breaks to stretch and move your toes. By doing so, you will hopefully be able to enjoy your runs without the discomfort of numb toes.
If you continue to experience numbness in your toes while running, it is important to consult a doctor or podiatrist to rule out any underlying medical conditions. By taking these precautions, you can prevent numb toes from interfering with your running routine and continue to enjoy the many benefits of this healthy activity.
Do you have any questions about numbness in the toes when running? Feel free to ask them in the comments below.
- Running in 100 Degree Weather
- Best Cold Weather Running Gloves
- 30 Minute Run Workout
- Benefits of Hill Sprints
- From 5K to 10K
- Best Running Shoes For Achilles
- Best Running Rain Jackets
- 7 Minute Mile
- How to Carry Water While Running
- Best Beach Running Shoes
- Exercise-associated numbness and tingling in the legs // PubMed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22159060/
- Differential examination, diagnosis and management for tingling in toes: fellow’s case problem // PMC: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5810784/
- Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK442009/
- Morton Neuroma // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470249/
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513273/
- Raynaud Disease // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499833/
- Management of plantar fasciitis in the outpatient setting // PMC: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4853481/
If you have any questions or suggestions, you can contact us via email – [email protected]