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why do my toes go numb when working out on the elliptical?

After I am on the Elliptical about 10 minutes my toes start to go numb but only on one foot. What could be causing this?

18 answers

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I have the same problem and so do plenty of people I know and I have a theory about this. When you're running on an elliptical your feet are in constant contact with a hard surface. Since your feet never leave the ground no opportunity exists for the pressure on the balls of your feet to be relieved. This pressure causes a decrease in blood flow and the tingle you're feeling is the result of that. You may also notice this effect when riding a recumbent bike if you only push down on the pedals instead of pulling up on the clips as well. This is different than running because the pressure is released every time you take a step so circulation is only interrupted for a split second. My guess as to why it only happens in one foot is because that is the foot you place most of your pressure. Most people do not share pressure equally between both legs. Most of us are somewhere around 55% on one and 45% on the other but some people can carry a large majority of their weight on one leg. This can lead to back, hip, and foot problems if left unchecked. I suggest you visit a running store (if you have one in your area) where they can do a stride assessment. If you don't have one near by go to a chiropractor. Most of them have the technology to determine these things. Hope this answer helped.

Donny Mills 1.6k
7 years ago

Your feet fall asleep because you try to run/jog on the Elliptical machine..What I mean by this is that most people (myself included) use the same technique/style on the Elliptical as they do on the treadmill or outside running. The problem with this is your feet never get "relief" meaning the weight and pressure are always on the balls of your feet. Try taking the weight off of the balls of your feet from time to time and in MOST cases it goes away. If that doesn't work go see your doc.

outhnting 2.6k
7 years ago

Yes, I have been noticing the same thing when I am on the elliptical machine!

abmayers 290
7 years ago

Oddly enough, I notice it on the StarTrac machines and not the Precor. Not trying to slight the StarTrac, but I have noticed this when using the different machines at the 2 different clubs I use.

UraineTrain 110
7 years ago


I used to have that same problem until I read Health this month. Someone had posed the same question. And without giving you a novel to read here are the tips they had proposed:

  1. Make sure your shoe laces aren't too tight.

  2. Wiggle your toes every so often. This Works! I was on the ellptical for an hour the other day and wiggled my toes about every five minutes or so and they didn't go numb!

  3. Understand that sometimes shoes are the culprit and maybe its time to try a new pair.

There you go! Now go kick some elliptical butt!

Amanda Nagy 33k
7 years ago

Try lifting the backs of your feet up when you do an upward rotation, leaving the balls of your feet in touch with the machine. So when you are stepping up, you are flexing your foot but still staying in contact with the footpad.

HKlamer 4.9k
7 years ago

Some of the ellipticals like the nautilus ones like our gym has, the foot pedal has a slant to it so all of that pressure is put on the toes and so your circulation is not flowing as good which causes them to become numb, Mine usually went numb after 20 minutes on them. Try to mix it up and pedal backwards and focus on putting some pressure on the heal.

Courtney Murzyn 28k
7 years ago

Quite rightly like everyone is saying it is from blood pooling in the foot or ankle and either the blocking of venous return back up the leg, or the pressure from the ‘pooling of blood’ is putting slight pressure on the nerves near it and hence tingling.

Sometimes the numbness/tingling is just from having your laces done up too tight. Try loosening the laces and see if it helps. Another reason may be that you have the wrong arch support in your shoes, but the reason is the same. The blood flow back up the leg is diminished and the blood pools in your lower leg which creates pressure and this results in tingling. If you think this might be you, try going to a running shoe store (specifically for running shoes – not a generic sporting goods store) as they have some of the best people on the business who can tell you what type of foot you have and what shoe you need to work out in. If neither of these fix it, it MIGHT be something more serious such as a neuropathy or ‘compartments syndrome’ which needs to be diagnosed by a professional.


7 years ago

I try and keep my feet flat wen exercising becaus I have such high arch and if not I pull a muscle in my foot. ouch. Maybe I will bring it up to the doc on my next visit if it continues.

Julie Woodard 2.5k
7 years ago

I can also say that, it can be a pinched nerve on your lower back. I have the same issues but it was diagnosed that it came from a pinched nerve i my lower back.

Jordan Moore 184
7 years ago

add your answer!

Julie Woodard member since Jan '11


MemberSouthport, IN
1/30/2011 at 2:40 PM