Why do my toes and/or feet fall asleep when I'm exercising?

on 1/18/10 6:44 am
This happened to me pre-surgery as well, when I rode on a recumbent stationary bike -- after about 20-25 minutes my foot or feet (usually started with the left foot) would fall asleep.

Now that I work out on the Wii, I find that after 20-30 minutes of walking, dancing, bike riding, etc. -- all done standing up -- my feet start to fall asleep / go numb.  The left is usually worse than the right, and it usually starts with the toes.  For the first time today, I worked out with shoes on (I normally do it sock-footed), and that actually made it worse.  My shoelaces were not tight at all.

Any input would be appreciated.

After my lap band failure, I'm loving my RNY!

1 Cor 4:7 - What do you have that you did not receive?
on 1/18/10 6:50 am - Evans, GA
I had that problem whe I used the recumbent bike to 30 minutes and they fall asleep.  I don't have that problem with any other cardio machines,  My friends said they have that problem when they do spin classes, until they got stiff shoes, and that seemed to help.  Sorry I don't have any other advice for you

(deactivated member)
on 1/18/10 7:02 am - River Falls, WI

I have to believe it's a pinched nerve somewhere. Pressure on certain areas of the body can cause the nerve to numb stop sending the right messages. The nerve may not actually be in your foot--it could well be in your back.

I never used to "believe" in chiropractic care and didn't understand why my husband went--he never got fixed--he had to keep going back for adjustments.  But a couple of years after RNY, at a normal weight, but still having aches and pains I couldn't get rid of, I decided to try. I went 3X a week the first month, then tapered off. About a month into treatments (which only take minutes) I noticed truly profound changes. Once pain between my shoulder blades, which had plagued me for years, went away completely.  Now I go only about 1x a month to keep my body in alignment.

I think chiropractic care is even more important for the person transitioning from obesity to normal weight. Our bodies got very used to carrying that weight and just losing weight does not straighten the spine and stop pinching the nerves.  Vertebrae that is not perfectly aligned pinches the nerves running from the spine and out between the vertebrae, causing improper messages, which often show up as pain.  Little other than chiropractic can fix it.

I will add though that sometimes there are other problems. My eldest daughter is a runner and her left foot used to go to sleep after 5-6 miles of running. It took breaking her ankle for them to figure out that a tiny bone had been broken long ago in her lower ankle and was pressing on a nerve that became inflamed as she ran and cuased the numbness. She had surgery to correct that bone when they took care of the break and it's been fine since then.

So, start with your PCP and go from there. Good luck.


on 1/18/10 7:11 am
Thanks for that input.  I am not a "believer" in chiropractic but I have several friends who swear by it.  My dad is a physician and I think he would have a heart attack if I went to a chiropractor!

I will talk to my PCP next time I'm in.  I didn't consider a pinched nerve.  No fun.

After my lap band failure, I'm loving my RNY!

1 Cor 4:7 - What do you have that you did not receive?
Andrea U.
on 1/18/10 7:51 am - Wilson, NC
I asked this of an exercise doc when I had a pulled muscle (very specifically, a doctor that specialized in sports medicine).

She said it is due to a specific nerve that runs along the outside of the thigh and when you are on certain machines it is stretched further than normal and thus it causes the area to go numb.

Now, I'm not quite certain it's true, but I've noticed that when on the elliptical (which was when my bouts were the worst) that if I made sure my stance was more narrow, my feet wouldn't go numb so maybe?

Just relaying what she told me -- not sure as to the validity.

on 1/18/10 8:27 am
Thanks Andrea. That makes sense.  The same thing happens to me and I've always wondered.
on 1/18/10 8:54 am
That's interesting.  On the Wii, your feet are often more "apart" than usual.  It doesn't happen too me when I walk "out on the street", so maybe that explains it.

After my lap band failure, I'm loving my RNY!

1 Cor 4:7 - What do you have that you did not receive?
on 1/18/10 8:40 am - somewhere, MI
me too... its the scariest part of exercising my feet go numb for hours! even jsuty walking does it
5'5" HW-344 (10/4/09) SW-295 (10/7/10) CW-161 GW-144
Never give up, Never surrender! ~Galaxy Quest

First person to tell me I took the "easy" way out is getting a black eye!
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