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TOPIC: Feet falling asleep while running

 
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February 29, 2012 11:10 AM
I've recently started running again for the first in in 5 years (4 years post-knee-surgery, 2 1/2 years post-baby) and I'm having a recurring problem where my feet start falling asleep around the 1.75 mile mark. I'm running on sand to reduce the impact on my knees (which are both fairly grumpy about all this working out) and I'm using Superfeet's Berry insoles due to the arch-spasms I was having (I have high arches) and they help with the cramping, but not the numbness.
I've tried window-lacing my shoes and keeping them so loose that the shoes barely stay where I need them to, but to no avail. I can't go past the 2.5 mile mark without losing all feeling in my feet with the numbness even climbing up my left leg some too. I should also mention that I am very aware of my feet's positioning while I run and am good at making sure they are hitting the ground straight and evenly (and I can see the proof when I run back over my footprints in the sand).
Any ideas? I've got an appointment with an ortho doc for my shoulder injury this Friday and I'm wondering if I should bring this issue up to him or not...
February 29, 2012 11:14 AM
Maybe your shoes are too tight? Just a thought.....
  15510377
February 29, 2012 11:14 AM
Is it possible the sand is to blame? Sand is softer but also provides a much more irregular surface than, say, asphalt. When I run on the beach I always end up running along the shore where the sand is firmer because it otherwise makes my feet feel weird. And then I end up running on a slope, which also isn't great.
February 29, 2012 11:17 AM
Since you mentioned that your already watching your shoe lace tightness, I have to wonder if it isn't the sand, too. The range of motion your foot goes through running in sand is much greater than it would be running on asphalt and it's possible that it's just too much for your feet. Have you tried running on a more firm surface to see if there's a difference?
  5282428
February 29, 2012 11:17 AM
My first thought: "See your doctor".
February 29, 2012 11:19 AM
This never happened to me while running, but my toes always go numb when I'm doing the stairmaster etc. Always. Not sure why... but I think it has something to do with the constant pressure on a specific part of your foot. I talked to my Dr about it and he asked "do your toes turn blue?" I said no.. "does the blood flow go away after you stop?" I said yes... and so he said I have nothing to worry about :/ So I don't worry about it lol, I just consider it something annoying.
February 29, 2012 11:19 AM
QUOTE:

This never happened to me while running, but my toes always go numb when I'm doing the stairmaster etc. Always. Not sure why... but I think it has something to do with the constant pressure on a specific part of your foot. I talked to my Dr about it and he asked "do your toes turn blue?" I said no.. "does the blood flow go away after you stop?" I said yes... and so he said I have nothing to worry about :/ So I don't worry about it lol, I just consider it something annoying.

*blood flow come back lol
February 29, 2012 11:34 AM
I also think the sand is to blame. It's a pretty stressful surface for doing all of your runs on it. I wouldn't be surprised if the more extreme angles your foot is subjected to is to blame. I would get onto a good track or asphalt surface and see if that helps. It might make your knees happier as well since they will be able to count on a consistent and steady landing.
February 29, 2012 11:54 AM
QUOTE:

Is it possible the sand is to blame? Sand is softer but also provides a much more irregular surface than, say, asphalt. When I run on the beach I always end up running along the shore where the sand is firmer because it otherwise makes my feet feel weird. And then I end up running on a slope, which also isn't great.


Yeah, I run near the shore so it's not terribly irregular in terms of the landing because it's decently packed, but I definitely have less knee pain there than when I run on concrete which I think is because of the impact protection. But you're right, it is at an angle that way, so I wonder if that could be it... I guess I should try an even surface again and see if it helps. (I've been doing beach running almost exclusively since I re-started this because the area I live in is really hilly and I was too out of shape to make it very far, but that was 2 months ago so maybe it won't be as bad this time.)

Yesterday I took my shoes off after it happened and the feeling did come back pretty quickly, but I'm not sure how exactly I should proceed when my shoes are laced as loosely as they can get without falling off. If the shoes are to blame then what? Barefoot running?
February 29, 2012 11:57 AM
QUOTE:

If the shoes are to blame then what? Barefoot running?

If you're running on the sand, why not? I probably would. No sand in my area, though, except the kind populated with cacti.
  5282428
February 29, 2012 12:00 PM
Have you tried those new "barefoot" running shoes? I wonder if that would make a difference?
  534154
February 29, 2012 12:01 PM
Same thing happens to me when I do Zumba, body combat etc. It is very annoying. my old run down sneakers I never have a problem with. I have tried several different style of sneakers and inserts and it keeps happening. It is a mystery to me. I think it has to do with the shoes but what?????
  13137325
February 29, 2012 12:02 PM
I love running barefoot in the sand, but my ankles and feet hurt after a bit. By the way, you are SO lucky to live in Santa Barbara. My brother and dad graduated from UCSB and I love that area.

I think you should try running in your neighborhood. I bet you'll be surprised by how much better you feel now than 2 months ago.
February 29, 2012 12:03 PM
Are you doing big strides and landing hard, or smaller more frequent strides.

Like, would turnover be closer to 90 or closer to 60?

One of the benefits of the barefoot or minimalist running is landing flat or slightly forward, and turnover about 90, which forces smaller stride.

You can imitate this just wearing normal shoes too.
February 29, 2012 12:39 PM
It actually has nothing to do with your shoes, or the sand. I was having this exact problem a few months ago. I was at my chiropractor's office, and happened to mention it, and asked him what he thought it could be. He had me lay face down, and pushed a couple fingers into the outside of my buttcheek. I yelped pretty loud, and he said he knew what it was. Apparently, if you're running and your feet start going numb, it's because there is a muscle in your butt that tightens up, and clamps down on the nerves running to your feet. If you run long enough, the numbness will start creeping up your legs.

He had me get a deep tissue massage on my butt and the numbness went away for a long time. So, every once in awhile, I have to go get another massage. In between, he has me stretch out my butt for a loooong time before running. It's compleyely taken care of the problem. I would put good money on it being what's wrong with you. Hope that helps :)
March 1, 2012 8:20 PM
QUOTE:

Are you doing big strides and landing hard, or smaller more frequent strides.

Like, would turnover be closer to 90 or closer to 60?

One of the benefits of the barefoot or minimalist running is landing flat or slightly forward, and turnover about 90, which forces smaller stride.

You can imitate this just wearing normal shoes too.


I'm doing my best to do a mid-foot stride (so much shorter strides) because it forces my posture to be better while I run and since i have a neck injury that I'm still recovering from that's what's most important to me. It got too cold this week to try it barefoot so I ended up on my treadmill last night instead and had the same issue.

QUOTE:

It actually has nothing to do with your shoes, or the sand. I was having this exact problem a few months ago. I was at my chiropractor's office, and happened to mention it, and asked him what he thought it could be. He had me lay face down, and pushed a couple fingers into the outside of my buttcheek. I yelped pretty loud, and he said he knew what it was. Apparently, if you're running and your feet start going numb, it's because there is a muscle in your butt that tightens up, and clamps down on the nerves running to your feet. If you run long enough, the numbness will start creeping up your legs.

He had me get a deep tissue massage on my butt and the numbness went away for a long time. So, every once in awhile, I have to go get another massage. In between, he has me stretch out my butt for a loooong time before running. It's compleyely taken care of the problem. I would put good money on it being what's wrong with you. Hope that helps :)


You know, I wonder if that IS what this is! I usually concentrate on using my butt muscles a lot when I run to help protect my knees from the impact but I wonder if they're getting bunched up somehow... hmmm. How, if I can ask, do you "stretch your butt" though?
March 1, 2012 8:38 PM
Google "piriformis release" or just "piriformis stretch" to find some good stretches. Wouldn't hurt to hit the glute medius, too.

You mentioned that you have high arches. The arch on my left foot is high and that foot always falls asleep unless I remove the insole and wear the shoe very loose. I chalk it up to a "tall" foot. You might have too much insole in there. I've found that shoes with a gussetted tongue work better since I have to wear the left shoe so darn loose.

Good luck. Won't hurt to keep the piriformis and glute medius happy regardless!
Edited by trail_rnr On March 1, 2012 8:39 PM
March 5, 2012 7:22 PM
QUOTE:

Google "piriformis release" or just "piriformis stretch" to find some good stretches. Wouldn't hurt to hit the glute medius, too.

You mentioned that you have high arches. The arch on my left foot is high and that foot always falls asleep unless I remove the insole and wear the shoe very loose. I chalk it up to a "tall" foot. You might have too much insole in there. I've found that shoes with a gussetted tongue work better since I have to wear the left shoe so darn loose.

Good luck. Won't hurt to keep the piriformis and glute medius happy regardless!


Thank you! When you google "butt muscle stretch" the results can be, er, not what I wanted. Knowing the muscle name really, really helps!

I'm pretty sure this muscle is the issue here, but I'm definitely going to have to ask a doctor next time I'm in. I've been stretching this muscle all weekend and still had the feet fall asleep (right foot is always worse) today at around 1.7 miles. I stopped, took my shoes off, and did about another half mile that way and the feet were still tingly until I basically stopped running. I'm not giving up on the stretching since it seems to make the most sense to me, but it's still rather discouraging to have no clear answer here.
March 5, 2012 7:28 PM
Shoes are to small. You should go get fitted. They are your only feet...take care of them.
  192152
March 5, 2012 8:15 PM
QUOTE:

Shoes are to small. You should go get fitted. They are your only feet...take care of them.


If that were the case wouldn't the issue be fixed when I take the shoes off to run then? Because I've done that and it doesn't help.
March 9, 2012 4:32 PM
I just saw all the new comments. Lol

It may take awhile to get the muscle to loosen up on your own. I don't really know how long, but I got a 20 minute deep tissue massage on the piriformis muscles(couldn't remember the technical name before...) I would look into that, especially if you have a local massage school, they're pretty good and it's much cheaper.

As a caveat, I would still get your feet checked out, there may be more than one thing collectively causing this.
April 12, 2012 10:50 AM
Just saw this post and thought I'd chime in. Not sure if you are still having an issue with your feet falling asleep or not, but I found this is a fairly common problem and it's usually temporary. I had the same problem when I first started running. I was a bit overweight and somewhere around 20 minutes or so into my run one or both of my feet would start to tingle. When I stopped, the feeling would come back after a few minutes but then when I would start to run again, the numbness would come back. When I asked my peers about this problem they ALL said that my shoes were too tight. So I loosened my shoes but that didn't solve the problem. so I went to my doctor. He told me this was a common problem for beginner and overwieght runners. the reason, he said, was becuase the nerves in the balls of my feet were being compressed as I ran. He referred me to a pediotrist to perscribed special orthotics. He also told me to contiue to run and to lose weight. I took his advice and after a couple of months the problem went away.
February 13, 2013 6:21 PM
So many people have said its the sand. I disagree; I run with my platoon in ROTC and today we did 4miles and I had the same problem. We were running at a 9 minute mile pace con asphalt and my feet did the same thing. I have no suggestions just saying that I recently started running in arch supporting shoes because my arch fell (it hurt really bad) haha and the arch supporting shoes could be doing it.. So check your shoes.

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