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You Asked: Numb Toes When Running Outside?

Dear Fit,
For a few weeks now, since the temperatures have plummeted recently where I live, I've been experiencing numb toes while running. Not only does it feel weird, but I'm worried that not feeling my feet will cause me to fall. Any suggestions about how to prevent this form happening?
—Numb Norah

It may make you feel better to know that numb toes are not uncommon. I'm sure fellow FitSugar readers can relate. To find out how to deal with this annoying problem


Numb toes can be caused by a number of circumstances, so go through this list to see what might be causing yours.

  • Your socks are too thick. Cold weather definitely calls for warmer socks. If you're sporting thicker socks than you were in the Summer, but you're wearing the same sneaks, then your shoes may be too tight now. You may want to spring for a new pair of Fall/Winter shoes that are a half size bigger. Be sure to bring your thicker socks to the store when trying on new sneakers.
  • Your sneakers are tied too tight. Try loosening your laces slightly. This will allow more movement in your toes.
  • Your sneakers don't fit well. If you've recently bought a new pair that you're breaking in, or your pair is too old, numb toes could be the result. Look for styles that have wide-toe boxes.
  • Your feet are cold. If your sneakers are covered in that meshy material, they're letting in wind. So get yourself a pair of windproof sneakers that are made of solid leather.
  • Your body is cold. If your core is freezing, then blood will move away from your extremities to ensure that your main organs stay warm so they can function properly. This means that blood won't be circulating to your feet or hands, so be sure to dress warmly. Wear layers so if you get hot, you can easily shed them. You can also try overexaggerating your movements. Lift your knees as high as you can with each step to build warmth and get the blood flowing to your tootsies.
  • You have a physical injury. If you've broken or sprained any part of your foot or leg, then your blood may not be circulating or your nerves may not be functioning properly. So get checked by a doctor to see how they can help.

I sure do hope these suggestions help because I have found it my feet aren't happy, I'm not happy.


Join The Conversation
charlotteannette charlotteannette 8 years
My toes always go numb when I am on the elliptical--someone suggested getting thin socks that arent made of cotton, but I'm not convinced. I have tried loosening my laces until the shoes want to fall off to no avail. 5 mins on the elliptical and darnit!
RECkate RECkate 8 years
I'm really surpised no one brought up Morton's Neuroma!! Every time I exercised my toes would go numb--particularly the 3rd and 4th toes. Google it, I'm seeing a podiatrist now for it!
Caity111 Caity111 8 years
My toes go numb when I use an elliptical machine. Is that normal?
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i've been known to get numb toes from time to time and it's typically because of tying my laces too tight. i think that we have all been there - so fear not!
alerixon alerixon 8 years
My toes go numb on the elliptical too! I've been using it for about 5 weeks, and about 5 minutes in my toes are numb until I'm done. Does anyone know why the elliptical in particular causes this?
pandacn pandacn 8 years
i'm training for a half-marathon (and hopefully marathon after that) and i get this problem too! my shoes aren't too tight though, i've tried many things, but to no avail. i do have really bad blood circulation though. my hands and feet are always freezing, so maybe i should wear 2 pairs of socks? my toes turn numb on the treadmill too though. and it might just be me, but not all my toes turn numb, it's really just the outside edge of my left big toe. maybe it has to do with my running form?
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
My toes used to go numb on the elliptical for some reason.
superfoxml superfoxml 8 years
My toes get numb's totally because I tie my shoes too tight.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I think it has more to do with the shoes being too tight than the temperature. Make sure that there is a lot of room for your toes to wiggle. When you run your feet kind of get pushed up to the front so you want room there for your feet to move up and down inside the shoe. Also, your toes/feet swell a bit while running so even if your shoes seem too big beforehand, they will become much more fitted during your run. After my runs, my toes used to hurt a lot! I bought new sneakers with more room in the toe and now I never have that problem.
hottpink hottpink 8 years
I used to get this also and ended up buying a pair of sneakers with more room in the toe.
gooniette gooniette 8 years
I used to get numb toes all the time. I think my shoes were tied too tight and I was doubling up on the socks...
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