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8 Reasons Your Feet Go Numb When Running (& Quick Fixes)

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Numbness in the feet while running can be caused by various factors, including improper footwear, compression or pinched nerves, running form and poor blood circulation.

Foot numbness can be maddening, especially for runners. Did you know that some reasonably easy-to-fix reasons cause this to occur?

We have some possible causes and solutions for you to investigate if you experience numbness when running.

Common Causes of Foot Numbness When Running

  1. Flat FeetPeople with flat feet can struggle with numbness because most of their feet hit the ground with each footfall.
  2. Laces Yoo Tight: You might need to loosen your shoe laces if your feet go numb. It is also important to note that sometimes, lacing your shoes differently can help.
  3. Morton’s Neuroma: A painful medical condition that generally develops between the third and fourth toes near the ball of your foot; it is caused by wearing shoes that are too tight. It is characterized by thickening or entrapment of the nerve in the forefoot near the ball of your foot. Morton’s neuroma is more common in women than men.
  4. Overstriding: Overstriding can cause numbness because it increases the time your foot is in contact with the ground. Keep your center of gravity under your body by shortening your stride a bit. This will involve adjusting your foot strike.
  5. OveruseRunning too much without time off can cause numbness. Be careful not to increase mileage too fast and to respect the rest days.
  6. Peripheral NeuropathyAn umbrella term for nerve disease or damage that leads to weakness, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet, peripheral neuropathy can plague runners. Before starting or continuing a running routine with neuropathy, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider.
  7. Poorly Fit Shoes: Did you know that running shoes should be one-half to a full size bigger than your daily wear shoes? The most common cause of foot numbness is shoes that are too small. This includes shoes that are not wide enough. Make sure you have plenty of room in the toe box.
  8. SciaticaFoot numbness can stem from nerve issues in the back. The sciatic nerve can be compressed or inflamed, leading to numbness.

How Do I Stop My Feet From Going Numb When I Run?

  • Insoles or Orthotics: If you have flat feet (or another foot issue), wearing orthotics or insoles can prove helpful. Many options range from over-the-counter inserts to custom orthotics made specifically for your feet.
  • LacingSometimes, lacing your running shoes differently can help alleviate pain, discomfort or numbness. Too tight laces can cause nerve compression, limit the blood flow, and other problems.
  • New Shoes: If ill-fitting shoes are the culprit to your foot pain or numbness, you may be able to remedy your problem with new shoes. Shoes that are too snug in the toebox can cause numb toes, for example.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can give you exercises and stretches to help you strengthen your body, improve form and gain flexibility. It can fix a multitude of problems.
  • Running FormWorking with a running coach on correcting your biomechanics could help fix your problem. Consider having an analysis of your running gait to see if there are easy adjustments you could make.

When to Worry About Numb Feet?

Anytime you have pain or discomfort that returns repeatedly, you should be concerned enough to seek medical intervention. Loss of sensation in your feet falls into this category.

If your feet go numb when running, investigate some of the common causes given above. If simple fixes don’t help, you may need to see a professional.

This could involve working with a running coach on technique and form, working with a podiatrist, seeing a sports medicine doctor, or visiting a physical therapist.

Can I Keep Running After My Feet Go Numb?

If your feet go numb while running, do a body check to see how bad it is.

  • Is it just your toes or the top of the foot?
  • Is it your whole foot?
  • Can you adjust something that alleviates the numbness?

If you can safely complete your run, go ahead. However, if the numbness causes you to change your gait too much or if it becomes hard to continue, stop running.

Don’t continue training through numbness. It is best to get to the root of the issue before any problem worsens.

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