If you are a runner and experience numbness in toes when running, then you must read this article. Here, we are going to discuss the possible causes and remedies for this problem.
Numbness in toes is a strange sensation. It can be described as a pins and needles kind of feeling on the skin of the toes. Sometimes, it may get extended to the rest of the feet and ankles. Numbness in toes when running is quite a common occurrence, and every runner has faced this problem at least once. It may or may not be a serious issue, but of course, it is extremely bothersome. You stop enjoying your run and all your focus shifts on the toes.
The most common cause of numbness in the toes is nerve compression. When the nerves that provide sensation to the feet and toes get compressed under the bones or soft tissues, they fail to send proper signals to the brain, and the toes go numb. The nerve may get compressed due to many different reasons. A pair of ill fitted shoes can cause compression in the nerves. It could be your old worn out shoes that do not give enough support to the feet or a new pair of shoes that do not have enough space for the toes, can put unnecessary pressure on the nerves. A swelling in the foot caused by injury or some underlying problem in the foot structure like a flat foot can press the nerves in the foot.
A traumatic injury affecting the nerves can give numb toes. An incorrect running form often causes this problem. In those cases where the numbness is felt on the base of third and fourth toes, the probable cause is likely to be Morton’s neuroma. It is quite common in runners caused by growth of thick scar tissues on the nerve. This is benign in nature and results from repeated compression on the foot nerves.
Too much of pressure on the metatarsal bones that stretch from the arch of the feet that to the toe joints can cause numbness. This condition is known as metatarsalgia and it arises when the body weight is not uniformly distributed over the feet. It may occur after an intense training session or wearing tight shoes. Those who are overweight are also susceptible to this condition. Toes going numb when running can also be a symptom of poor circulation of blood in the feet. It can be a temporary issue where the blood flow gets restricted due to wearing tightly laced shoes. It can also be triggered by a number of health disorders such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, etc. However, in such cases, you will feel numbness in the toes all the time.
The first thing that needs to be done is to ease off the repetitive pressure from the toes. For this reason, you have to wear well-fitted shoes. Discard your old running shoes and buy yourself a new pair of shoes. Before that, consult a podiatrist who will suggest you the right kind of shoes that are suitable for you. Ideally, the size of your running shoes should be half size larger than your regular shoes. There are shoes with special lacing available that are proved to be highly beneficial because you can loosen the front part of the lace while running.
If change in shoes does not help then, the podiatrist may recommend the use of suitable shoe inserts to reduce toe numbness. They are made of cushioning material which when used inside the shoes protect the feet from hard impact of running. If there is some problem in the running form, then you have to train with your personal trainer for some time in order to bring about some changes in it.
When some underlying health disorder is involved, then the course of treatment is slightly different. For treatment of Morton’s neuroma, complete rest, foot massage, and low heeled shoes with soft soles are a must. Sometimes, pain killers are needed for pain relief. When these conservative methods does not show any improvement, then the neuroma is removed with the help of surgery. If studying of the medical history suggests any other health problem, then it has to be treated to get rid of numbness.
Recurrence of numbness in toes when running can be prevented with the help of a few simple measures. A proper warm up of the feet is a must before strenuous athletic activities. Do some exercises regularly to keep the feet strong and flexible. Those who are overweight must lose weight to minimize the pressure on feet.