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How To Keep Toes From Going Numb on Elliptical Trainer

You Asked: My Toes Go Numb on the Elliptical?

Hey FitSugar,
When I use the elliptical machine, my toes go numb at about the 10-minute mark of my half-hour workout. Could this be caused be my stance? Or possibly my shoes? I don't get the same sensation when I ride a stationary bike or run outside. Help!
— Walking on Egg Shells

You are not alone in experiencing this problem, and fortunately there are a few easy fixes for bringing sensation back to your numb toes. To learn my suggestions,


I think the problems could be both shoe- and stance-related, so I would approach the issue with changes to both. First, try loosening the laces on your sneakers to give your toes some wiggle room. Experiment with loosening the lower laces, closer to your toes, while keeping the laces tight near the top to maintain arch support. You also want to make sure your shoes are sized correctly. My toes used to go numb when I ran, and after getting fitted by an experienced runner at my local running store, I moved up a half size in my sneaks and opted for a wide shoe. What a difference! My toes no longer go numb. I wholeheartedly recommend getting fitted by someone who knows athletic shoes to ensure that your sneakers fit properly.

As for stance, don't work out just on your toes. It is easy to focus all your weight onto your toes when using the elliptical. This pressure on the front of your foot can disrupt blood flow to your toes. Your foot should roll through each step, heel striking first, roll through the middle, and push off with the toes. Try alternating where you focus the pressure of your foot when on the elliptical and press through your toes for two minutes, then focus on keeping your heel down for the next two. Additionally, pressing primarily with your toes will work the front of your thigh more while pressing through the heel will fire up the back of your leg. So revamping your chance will affect more than your toes.

If you try these solutions and your toes are still going numb, make an appointment with your doc or a podiatrist since it may be something more serious than too small shoes.


Join The Conversation
hkdkat hkdkat 8 years
I usually do change it up pretty often and my toes still go numb, so I'm either going to have to change my stance or move my feet on the pedals (we don't have pedals you can move I found out).
jazzybelle jazzybelle 8 years
Weird! This just happened to me for the first time yesterday! I usually go for aerobic (some backwards)interval or hill but yesterday I decided to go for a longer time at just level 4 any my toes went numb. So maybe it also makes a difference if you are just going along at a steady pace vs. changing it up.
ldny ldny 8 years
I used to have to take a 2 minute break every 10 minutes on the elliptical because of numb toes. I was fitted for proper shows, saw a podiatrist, tried every trick in the book, but nothing helped - until I bought "rocker" shoes, which have eliminated the problem completely. I now spend an uninterrupted hour on the elliptical every day and I can feel my toes the entire time :) Added benefit is that when I wear them all day, my posture is greatly improved and my lower back pain has vanished. There are 3 options for the kinds of shoes I am talking about. One is very inexpensive, one is a bit pricey and one is very expensive. The cheap option is the Curves Toning Sneaker (from Avon ) for $40. They are the least comfortable to wear all day, but still wearable if you only use them for the elliptical or treadmill. The more expensive option is Sketcher's Shape-Up Sneakers (Zappos has them ). These are a bit more comfy and much better made than the Curves/Avon shoes, especially if you wear them all day. The best, but most expensive option is the MBT shoe ( and as well). You can read all about the benefits of these shows on their website, but they are amazing. They also cost between $200 and $300, but they are worth it in my opinion - and not just for the benefits on the elliptical, which are just a bonus, but for your posture, back and overall walking pleasure. I'm not affiliated with any of the above, but I have bought and worn each of these shows. I have 2 pair of MBTs and one pair each of the Curves and Sketchers. I rotate them throughout the week - although the Curves shoes I only wear at the gym.
sfprgirl sfprgirl 8 years
I'm thinking that there are enough of us suffering from this to form a support group! :) Thanks for the info Fab.
Zivanod Zivanod 8 years
Yeah I get numb toes too. I also get it when using my roller blades.
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
ps if you own an elliptical see if there is any way to adjust the machine (move the footplates).
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
My father-in-law owns a company that sells fitness equipment and he said that more often than not it has to do with the MACHINE -- the shape of the elliptical is not suited for everyone and sometimes is too "short" or steep. This is stance related but it can be hard to get a perfect stance on a machine just not suited to your size. Gwencaprica - that's why changing your shoes didn't help. Before you plunk down $80 on a new pair of shoes try all the machines your gym has -- my gym has 3 slightly different elliptical machines and each has a totally different feel to them. There's one I just can't work on. And of course loosen your laces.
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 8 years
This happens to me all the time.... Spin class is the worst, elliptical second. Sometimes I get it while running on the treadmill. Thanks for the tips!
TammyO TammyO 8 years
Wow! Thanks! I was at the gym this morning on the elliptical and FitSugar came to mind. I thought "Why do my toes go numb while on this damn machine? Someone should ask this question on FitSugar!" I must be psychic. Finally some answers!
nancita nancita 8 years
This happens to me too. I will definitely try loosening my laces and changing up my stance. Thanks Fit.
hkdkat hkdkat 8 years
I get this too and I know it's my stance, not my shoes as I usually don't wear shoes when I'm on the elliptical. It's one I own at home and I usually just wear socks. Maybe that's a no-no, but my bf and I didn't want to dirty it up w/shoes. We don't wear shoes on our wii fit either, just socks. Is that bad?
healthgal healthgal 8 years
Thank you for posting this! I've been having this problem for years now, but mostly with the StairMaster. I will be sure to try the stance suggestions, but I just bought new shoes... so that's on hold for now!
imcs imcs 8 years
OMG - I seriously thought this only happened to me!!! I'm not alone :-) Actually, it happens to me on the stationary bike, and when I'm doing spinning. It's not the shoes for me b/c I've already gone 1/2 size bigger and it still happens. If anyone one has any thoughts on this for spinning please let me know.
psterling psterling 8 years
I thought I was the only one! Thanks Fit!
ChristinaVal ChristinaVal 8 years
Thanks!!! I thought I was the only one with this problem! I need some new SHOES! :)
mrsld mrsld 8 years
Thanks FIT!!! I thought I was the only person suffering through this. I will try the rotating of pressure and see if that works. The laces and shoes haven't done it.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
This happens to me all the time, thanks Fit!!
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
Eh. This is the reason I quit the elliptical. I'm sure it's more stance-related than shoe related since I don't have any trouble when I'm out pounding the pavement. I usually only use the elliptical if it's dark out and all the treadmills are in use, anyway... but I think I'll still pass.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I used to get this all the time. The only thing that helped was going half-forward and half-backward so that I wasn't pressing with my toes all the time.
Dana18 Dana18 8 years
I hvae add this problem. I loosen up my laces and it helped.
BeautyQueen20 BeautyQueen20 8 years
I have tried the stance idea but I didn't think about the laces. I will try to loosening them at the bottom... makes sense!
GwenCaprica GwenCaprica 8 years
I have the same problem, but after I tried with 3 different shoes I usually do 10 minutes forward, and then 3minutes backwards through my whole workout, that the best way for me to prevent my toes going numb ;)
queenegg queenegg 8 years
Thank you so much. I'm haivng this problem and it makes me not want to work out. I've tried the lacing idea, but din't think about my stance.
danni2009 danni2009 8 years
Wow I get numb toes when I'm on the treadmill and the cross-trainer so this is useful, thank you.
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