Member Case Study: Numb Foot

author : AMSSM
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Member Question from Ronin
My question is regarding my right foot going numb. At 30 to 40 minutes into my run, my foot starts to go numb. If I keep going, the foot goes totally numb. If I stop to walk it out a bit, I am good for five to ten more minutes, and then it is numb again.

Answer from Luis E. Palacio, MD

Member AMSSM


There are many causes for foot numbness associated with running. Improperly fitting footwear, a history of ankle sprain, a high foot arch, or even a flat foot can all play a role. Pinpointing the exact location of the numbness can help identify the cause.

What you are describing sounds like a nerve entrapment syndrome. Muscle enlargement or hypertrophy, which occurs during running, can compress a nerve, leading to numbness or pain in the distribution of that nerve. Once the location of numbness or pain is recognized, a cause might be more easily identified. Certain examination techniques, a simple x-ray, EMG studies, or MRI studies can sometimes aid in the diagnosis.

All runners complaining of foot numbness should also have a thorough back exam to rule out lumbar nerve compression as a cause of their symptoms.

Alteration of footwear, routine stretching, or physical therapy modalities are often used to treat this problem. Surgery is rarely indicated, but when performed, recovery can take anywhere from a couple of weeks up to six months.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Sincerely,

Luis E. Palacio, MD
Director Primary Care Sports Medicine
Tufts University Family Medicine Residency

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date: February 11, 2009

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AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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