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TOPIC: Why do my feet fall asleep when I exercise???

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January 19, 2011 12:28 PM
I have a potassium deficiency and I know that's part of it, but my feet go completely numb after 30 minutes on the elliptical or stationary bike and take about an hour to get all of the sensation back once I stop exercising. They go numb when I go for long walks outside too, but not as quickly. I can swim and do water aerobics without problems. It's just exercise that keeps me upright.

I have good, comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, eat plenty of nutritious foods, try to keep my potassium levels from getting too low (my body doesn't absorb potassium properly, so I eat high potassium foods and take potassium supplements), but I'm getting tired of my feet going numb all the time, especially because it means I can't go longer than a half an hour on the machines at the gym.

Does anyone else have this issue and, if so, what have you done about it?
January 19, 2011 12:32 PM
Are your shoes at least a half a size bigger than your normal shoes? I wear my sneakers a whole size bigger than my normal shoes because your feet tend to swell at a certain point while doing cardio and that may be the problem? =)
January 19, 2011 12:33 PM
This happens to me. I will talk to my teacher and see if he knows. If not my bro in law is a podiatrist and I will ask him.
January 19, 2011 12:33 PM
Are they tied too tight? I had a problem with that happening and loosened my laces and that helped. Just a suggestion. Hope someone else has something more insightful for ya!! :)
  66790
January 19, 2011 12:33 PM
I have the same exact problem, especially on the elliptical. I try scrunching my toes together to try to get the feeling back. Its very frustrating though, I wish I could find out why this happens and how to fix it.
January 19, 2011 12:35 PM
Omg this happens to me as well... but usually when I'm doing my pilates or yoga I'm bear footed and it happens...
January 19, 2011 12:36 PM
this used to happen to me all the time.. finally mentioned to my cardiologist and was referred to podiatrist. I wound up getting orthotic inserts for my workout shoes ( I forget what he called it but basically, it's a nerve compression issue).. doesn't stop it completely but certainly allows me to go longer.
  1171706
January 19, 2011 12:36 PM
QUOTE:

Are they tied too tight? I had a problem with that happening and loosened my laces and that helped. Just a suggestion. Hope someone else has something more insightful for ya!! :)



This. ^ My feet were doing that as well so I loosened my shoes and the problem went away.
  2741148
January 19, 2011 12:36 PM
I am an 8 1/2 but wear a 9W because I don't like having my feet feel cramped. It doesn't feel like I tie them too tightly, but I'll try loosening the laces and seeing if that helps.
Any other thoughts?
January 19, 2011 12:37 PM
get a wide pair of shoes and loosen the shoestrings across top of foot. usualy a high arch problem. this will take care of it.
  3333117
January 19, 2011 12:37 PM
my right foot falls asleep on the ellipitcal. not sure why. on the other hand my left foot constantly falls asleep when i am inactive, due to poor circulation. i try to wiggle my toes when it first starts to get the sensation. hopefully someone will have a better answer.
January 19, 2011 12:37 PM
I notice that feeling on the elliptical probably b/c it is so toe focused on movement. I start leaning back on my heals and/or rocking for a few moments at a time in order to make it do-able for the full 55 minutes I do it (I’ve felt that feeling as early as 25 minutes in). I don't have a problem with potassium but that’s interesting about shoes (suggestions others have made). I have a new pair that’s the same size but feels longer/wider in the toes. I'll try those and see if that makes a difference.
  1100181
January 19, 2011 12:39 PM
This happens to me on the elliptical as well. So every 10 minutes or so during my workout I will stand on one foot at a time for 60 seconds each while using the arm handles to propel the machine. This gives my arms a nice burn during a largely leg based workout and allows me to shake out one foot at a time to keep the feeling in my toes! I know it makes me look silly, but it makes me feel a million times better!
  3516823
January 19, 2011 1:25 PM
QUOTE:

Are your shoes at least a half a size bigger than your normal shoes? I wear my sneakers a whole size bigger than my normal shoes because your feet tend to swell at a certain point while doing cardio and that may be the problem? =)


I wear men's sneakers for working out - they are wider and more comfortable I've found - and since I started wearing them, my toes don't go numb (women's sneakers were too narrow in the toes for me)
  2757816
January 19, 2011 2:45 PM
bump!
  887823
January 19, 2011 2:56 PM
You are going to lose electrolytes as you exercise. Magnesium is just as important as potassium because it helps with the absorption of potassium. So if you have a deficiency in potassium then you might want to try adding more magnesium to your diet as well. I will try and find some articles that help explain this connection.
January 19, 2011 3:00 PM
My left foot does too but I thought it was because I have a bad hip maybe I will try some of these tips.
  3481801
January 19, 2011 3:01 PM
QUOTE:

I have the same exact problem, especially on the elliptical. I try scrunching my toes together to try to get the feeling back. Its very frustrating though, I wish I could find out why this happens and how to fix it.

Happens to me on the elliptical as well. I move my feet around to get the feeling back.
January 19, 2011 3:23 PM
Magnesium and potassium also have a close relationship. Magnesium is necessary for the function of the sodium/potassium pump. If a magnesium deficiency occurs, then pumping sodium out of the cell and pumping potassium into the cell may be impaired (5). Prescription diuretics tend to deplete magnesium and potassium. In this situation, magnesium intake can normalize both magnesium and potassium levels in the muscle (5).

http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/jalali/magnesium.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=75

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82 pumpkin seeds are really high in minerals that are helpful

http://www.mgwater.com/schroll.shtml

MAGNESIUM (A major mineral)

Most magnesium found in the human body is found in the skeleton, the next highest accounting is in the muscle tissues and the rest is found in other tissues and fluids. Magnesium is essential for energy production, protein formation and cellular replication (e.g., DNA, RNA). It is as important as, if not more important than calcium and phosophorus. Magnesium works with calcium in muscle contraction and relaxation (calcium-contraction, magnesium-relaxation). It also works with vitamin D, potassium and other minerals. It is employed in at least 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, many relating to energy. It helps reduce blood pressure, reduce vascular spasm and improve heart function and also helps regulate calcium metabolism.

Depletion of magnesium may result from high consumption of coffee, tea, chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel, laxatives, oral contraceptives, overexercising and emotional stress. Magnesium depletion may also result in people with gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes mellitus, old age, chronic alcoholism, and in long-term use of diuretics. High doses of supplemental zinc and high protein intake interfere with magnesium absorption.

http://web.mit.edu/athletics/sportsmedicine/wcrminerals.html


Also, here is some more stuff on how to position your foot when it is doing that.

http://www.footankle.com/Numb_tingling.htm
January 19, 2011 3:26 PM
I have the same thing happen to me. I thought it was my shoes so I changed them as well. Then I went to a Varicose Vein doctor and that seems to be my issue. So I wear compression socks while at work, now when working out I don't have that issue.
January 19, 2011 4:30 PM
Don't ignore this!!!!

I ran cross country in high school and after a year of doing so, my legs started going numb from my toes up to my knees around the 1 mile mark. My coach was concerned so I went to my doctor. He had me do an MRI and some sort of scan where they insert needles into your leg muscles and pass an electric current through to see if there are issues - they found nothing. Finally I saw an orthopedic specialist who diagnosed me with Closed Compartment Syndrome. Essentially what happens is the muscles in my legs expand so much during exercise that the veins and arteries are compressed, resulting in loss of blood flow. Since it stops as soon as I stop exercising the only answer was for me to switch to exercises where there wasn't so much impact on my legs. Which sucks a lot because it makes it really difficult to lose weight.

Anyway, the reason I say not to ignore this is that if you have the chronic compartment syndrome (it only occurs when you exercise and it quits when you quit) you need to be aware that it could go acute. When it goes acute this means that the swelling doesn't go down after you stop exercising. The only cure is immediate emergency surgery where they cut open your leg to release the pressure. If you don't go to a hospital, you'll lose your leg/foot. Now, I'm not telling you this to scare you, but it would be in your best interest to talk to your doctor about this because if I hadn't found out about the acute syndrome I would have just kept trying to "push through the pain" or ignore the numbness for the sake of exercising. But now I know that when my toes start getting tingly that I need to immediately stop and walk or sit down and wait for the numbness to go away. Email me if you want any more info, or check out this link for a pretty good description of the disorder:

http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/compartment-syndrome.html

The only cure is surgery, but my orthopedist said that he only recommends surgery if you are an Olympic athlete or something like that. Otherwise, it's easier, cheaper, and healthier for you to find alternate exercise where your legs don't go numb (swimming for example).
January 19, 2011 4:35 PM
I have this same problem. I have bought 3 different pairs of shoes and it still happens. It always begins in my baby toe...poor little guy.
  3601276
January 19, 2011 5:27 PM
QUOTE:

I have a potassium deficiency and I know that's part of it, but my feet go completely numb after 30 minutes on the elliptical or stationary bike and take about an hour to get all of the sensation back once I stop exercising. They go numb when I go for long walks outside too, but not as quickly. I can swim and do water aerobics without problems. It's just exercise that keeps me upright.

I have good, comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, eat plenty of nutritious foods, try to keep my potassium levels from getting too low (my body doesn't absorb potassium properly, so I eat high potassium foods and take potassium supplements), but I'm getting tired of my feet going numb all the time, especially because it means I can't go longer than a half an hour on the machines at the gym.

Does anyone else have this issue and, if so, what have you done about it?


When I did my back in a year ago, I asked the Chiropractor what was the best way to lay down to sleep, was it on my back? was it on the hard floor? etc etc. His answer was to lay the way that was the most comfortable and the way that was the least painful.

I would give the same advice to you, do the exercise which gives you the least problems with cramp or dead feet problems, ie swimming and water aerobics. Swimming can use up 600 calories for an hour's worth of breaststroke swimming - excellent exercise.

No need to advise you on potassium rich foods and the supplements, you will know more about that than I anyway as you have had to deal with it for a while.

Just do what feels the most comfortable, God knows you have enough to deal with there, without having to struggle to merely do your exercise without cramps or dead legs and feet
October 20, 2011 10:22 PM
sorry to bring up an old subject but I was trying to see if any of you found out any new info on the foot going numb? My right foot goes numb when I walk after about 15 to 20 mins if i slow down walking the numbness subsides if I stop walking it goes away. it's only my right foot.
  11673623
October 20, 2011 10:29 PM
Unlike running or walking, your feet keep constant contact on the pedals on the the elliptical and bike. The constant pressure with no let up is like laying down on top of your arm. You will feel your arm fall asleep and the same happens with your feet. The ball of your foot will take most of the pressure. Try lifting your feet off the pedals occasionally or pushing off your heels.
This is NOT and uncommon problem on the elliptical or bike.
  9285851

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