Why did my toes go numb on that run?!

Why did my toes go numb on that run?!

In my haste to get out the door a little while ago (...yep, I’m always rushing, especially if it means I can escape without any of my four extra “helpers” to get things done 😂), I slipped my feet into a new pair of tightly laced shoes and went for a run. 

The shoes felt great and I was happily bouncing (ok, plodding) along until about 2km in to my run, when I noticed some tingling in my little toes on the right foot. I’m sure most sensible people would stop and turn around and go home, but alas, not me. I frequently (intentionally) put myself in the hurt locker, so this day was no different. 😂

Within another couple of kilometres, it felt like the front half of my right foot was numb. Unpleasant but not impossible to run with, I persevered to get through my 10km. Done. The shoes were banished to the back of the cupboard and I decided they just weren’t for me.

Fearing another eye roll and sarcastic comment from the podiatrist husband, I was tossing up whether to mention it to him or not.  (He still reminds me of how ridiculous but lucky I was to get through 42.2km in a brand new pair of shoes that I’d taken out of the box on the morning of the Melbourne marathon 😂). I thought I’d casually drop my symptoms into a conversation...as if asking for a friend, and see what he had to say. I was most relieved to hear that my symptoms didn’t spell the end of my running career. Yay!

However...I did feel a little bit silly when I realised it was all because I’d just laced my shoes up too tightly. Who would have thought, something as simple as lacing your shoes could cause so much grief?! It turns out, that with a little relaxing of the laces and tying them a little less heavy-handedly meant that the shoes were actually perfectly fine, and so was my foot! (Click here for a video on how to change your lacing for a Morton's neuroma).

What had happened was, the tight lacing had minimised the area in the toe box of my shoe, causing inflammation of the nerve that runs between the little toes. Basically my toes were too cramped. In fairness, the shoes didn’t feel particularly tight, but the slight increase in firmness was enough to stir up this little nerve, causing tingling and numbness. Oh. 

I was lucky, and my numbness and tingling was short-lived and easily fixed with some minor lacing modifications. Some people however, have ongoing issues with nerve pain in their feet. One such example is the common Morton’s neuroma, which can be easily diagnosed and treated. (Click here for more information on Morton's neuroma and how we can treat this issue). There are also plenty of other reasons for nerve pain in the foot, and our podiatrists can help diagnose and treat these too. 

So, the moral of my story is, make sure your shoes aren’t too tight! Some times, even just a few mms less space in the toe box (even just from thicker socks!) can make all the difference.

Also, just to keep things interesting, shoe brands like to keep us on our toes (pardon the pun!), and slightly modify the material used or design of a shoe between models. Even a small “tweak” by the shoe companies can mean that you might now need a slightly larger or wider shoe, than previously. So, if you’ve ever wondered why you’ve always been a size 7 in B width and now all of a sudden need to wear a size 7.5 or change to a D width, don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s them! It’s not like going up a dress size, so relax! It’s best to ignore what’s on the box and just go with what feels right for you. 

I'm not the podiatrist (they have a lot more tricks up their sleeve to help even the most difficult of cases), so best to make an appointment to see the experts if you need help with your sore feet. Make an appointment online by clicking here.

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