Member Case Study: Foot Goes Numb while Running

author : AMSSM
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Question from ckujawa
I am a 36 y/o male and this will be my fifth season doing triathlons. I have noticed that with one exception (which I will get to) whenever I run for any period of time over 40 minutes I get a "pins and needles" feeling in my right foot. If I continue to run, the foot will go completely numb. If I mix walking with running (walking when the feeling starts until it goes away) the sensation will stop and not return. Sometimes (not always) the sensation is accompanied by quite a strong pulling sensation in my upper hamstring/gluts.

 

I had mentioned this to my GP a few years ago when I was training for the NYC marathon and he sent me off to a PT, who told me the right side of my hip was rotated slightly forward from where it should be and spent 3 sessions manipulating it back. He also gave me some stretches to do (revolving around my hamstrings) and they seemed to help. For the next 9 or 10 months (right through doing IM Lake Placid) I did not experience the sensation. After a month off from IMLP, the sensation was back despite the stretching (I've added regular yoga to my training in an attempt to avoid this--to no avail). Any ideas, thoughts and advice on what might be causing this would be appreciated.

Answer
Given the complaint of unilateral exertional numbness, I would consider an evaluation by a Physiatrist who can do an assessment and suggest imaging studies of the spine. In addition he/she will be able to perform an electrodiagnostic study (EMG) to evaluate the involved nerves of the lower extremity. If the physical exam and diagnostic studies are unrevealing, then an evaluation for exertional compartment syndrome leading to transient nerve compression needs to be considered. Ignoring the problem and continuing the present level of activity seems unwise.

Robert Skerker, M.D.
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Sports Medicine
Member AMSSM

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date: April 2, 2006

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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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