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Parts of Both Feet Going Numb Simultaneously While Exercising, Why?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 22, 2011 at 4:23 AM

While exercising on an elliptical, both my feet go numb at the 2 mile mark (i.e., after about buring 250 calories or at the 25 minute mark). Any idea?

The parts that go numb are all 10 toes and the toe mounds: about top 1/3 of the foot. Below the mounds, i.e., the inner and outer arches and the heel, I'm okay. I walk off the machine, shake my feet, walk around, and them I'm fine. But I'm stumped why this would happen exactly to both feet at exctly the 25 minute mark after I've burnt 250 calories. What could be in the toes and toe mounds that are making the feet to go numb? Wouldn't the nerves and small blood vessels be rather eveny distributed?

Are my feet telling me to get off the elliptical? I stop then, do some sit ups and other exercises. Get back on the elliptical after 15 minutes and the same thing happens a bit earlier, at the 200 calories burnt or 20 minute mark. Anyone else experience something similar?

Update: Based on some astute observations here, it seems that this is unique to the elliptical due to the peculiar motion of the feet. Why do I work out on the elliptical? Well, one of my legs is shorter by about 1/2 an inch or so. So if I run, I usually get a tendinitis of my right knee. To fix this, I've had to get a heel prop to slide under my right sneakers, but I don't like wearing the prop; my heel usually ends up getting sore from this compensatory move. I plan on ditching the elliptical and just do some brisk walking on the treadmill; usually this does not induce my tendinitis. I do like the elliptical. But I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, so I'm afraid to stress my blood vessels.

81a52efad6effda9eff3a3dcbc5f0ec6

(47)

on October 23, 2011
at 06:24 AM

Yeah, this is probably what it is. I plan on just doing brisk-walking from now on. Since I have neuropathy of feet already, I don't need this from the elliptical.

81a52efad6effda9eff3a3dcbc5f0ec6

(47)

on October 23, 2011
at 06:22 AM

I also notice that if I pedal backward, I can delay the onset of numbness. I think this is what it is.

81a52efad6effda9eff3a3dcbc5f0ec6

(47)

on October 23, 2011
at 06:21 AM

This seems plausible. My feet are always at the top of the pedald and I always push my feet up to slide that way.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 22, 2011
at 11:27 AM

An unnatural repetitive motion that causes inflammation and numbness is nothing to worry about? Get a new doctor.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on October 22, 2011
at 05:59 AM

I have problem hips, so the answer he gave me is surely relevant to my particulars. It was only ever that one device; I can run longer on the treadmill with no effect. But your thought makes sense too -- loosening the shoes may be just the thing for Ipso.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on October 22, 2011
at 04:48 AM

How many different times (i.e. diff days) has this happened? Does it always happen?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on October 22, 2011
at 04:38 AM

That's interesting; I would have guessed that it's due to the feet swelling with blood and the shoes being tighter than pre-exercise levels.

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4 Answers

best answer

2
3c6f4e7b56361080955ab6cfce6a2772

on October 22, 2011
at 05:56 AM

One of the other things the elliptical can do is push the foot up in a way that compresses the top of the foot. So, maybe a shoe that isn't too constrictive to circulation when you climb up there becomes so once you start to get pumped up.

Just noticed that Travis already suggested this. OK!

81a52efad6effda9eff3a3dcbc5f0ec6

(47)

on October 23, 2011
at 06:21 AM

This seems plausible. My feet are always at the top of the pedald and I always push my feet up to slide that way.

2
Dfdb2eb08f53835d7aab81136a5faa33

on October 22, 2011
at 12:47 PM

Pedal pump! We have a plexus of veins on the bottom of our feet, when we walk and toe off for the next step it squeezes (like a tube of toothpaste)the blood out itmohe lower extremity back to our heart. It's my guess this numbness does not happen while walking, or even on a treadmill, only ellipticals. The elliptical keeps the foot stationary, with the majority of the pressure on the forefoot, neglecting the pedal pump motion. Blood pools to bottom of your foot putting pressure on the nerves and giving you that tingling feeling. I suggest to ward this off to actually pick your feet off the foot pedals and slap the down as if you were walking for 1 minute every 3-4 minutes on the elliptical. That should help.

81a52efad6effda9eff3a3dcbc5f0ec6

(47)

on October 23, 2011
at 06:24 AM

Yeah, this is probably what it is. I plan on just doing brisk-walking from now on. Since I have neuropathy of feet already, I don't need this from the elliptical.

2
Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on October 22, 2011
at 04:34 AM

I used to get this all the time. Yep. I know it well, and specifically from the elliptical. The longer I'd go, the tinglier my feet, esp the toes. You're not alone!

My doctor told me it was inflammation in my hips giving me pins and needles downstream, and that the particular motion of that machine likely was making it a bit more inflamed, but that it was nothing to be alarmed about. He said it's a simple mechanical issue; my joints don't like that machine. He told me to do what I was already doing and what you've done: break up the workout, walk around, etc.

All those machines force every different body type into a single mold and single motion. I can't imagine it works just right for every different height, stride length, etc. I tend to use the treadmill now, where I can use my natural stride length -- and no weird tingles.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 22, 2011
at 11:27 AM

An unnatural repetitive motion that causes inflammation and numbness is nothing to worry about? Get a new doctor.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on October 22, 2011
at 05:59 AM

I have problem hips, so the answer he gave me is surely relevant to my particulars. It was only ever that one device; I can run longer on the treadmill with no effect. But your thought makes sense too -- loosening the shoes may be just the thing for Ipso.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on October 22, 2011
at 04:38 AM

That's interesting; I would have guessed that it's due to the feet swelling with blood and the shoes being tighter than pre-exercise levels.

1
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on October 22, 2011
at 11:59 AM

I had this problem too. I remember I fixed it by adjusting the way I was standing on the machine. IIRC, I made sure my feet were in the middle of the foot section thing (what the heck is that called?!) and then I made sure I was leaning back just enough that I could feel my abs contract. Seemed the more I "held on" with my core, the less foot problems I had.

I'm not really sure I'm explaining this well (I'm not really awake right now...) So, you can kind of get what I'm saying if you stand up straight and then lean the top half of your body back about an inch. You should feel your stomach muscles tighten. You're basically going for that effect on the machine.

I think I had a tendency to lean slightly forward on the machine and it was just putting my body in a weird position and making everything off balance.

81a52efad6effda9eff3a3dcbc5f0ec6

(47)

on October 23, 2011
at 06:22 AM

I also notice that if I pedal backward, I can delay the onset of numbness. I think this is what it is.

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