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.