As a fitness professional, I often get questions from clients or class participants about aches and pains while working out. For the record, I am not a physician, physical therapist or a nurse (just getting all of the disclaimers out of the way here), but spending so much time helping others workout, I have observed and researched a few things.
One question that pops up regularly is, “why do my feet go numb when I use the elliptical?” a light bulb went off! I'll research the answer and share it with you here on the Fiteeza Blog.
While on an elliptical the feet stay in the same place so the pressure on them does not change like it does when walking on a treadmill or climbing on the stair stepper. Both of those pieces of equipment require you to pick up your feet. While on the elliptical, constant pressure on your feet can affect your circulation and cause the feet to feel numb, tingly or asleep.
Another consideration is whether your shoes may be laced or fitted to your foot too tightly. If you are wearing shoes that further restrict circulation because they are too tight or do not fit well it can compound the problem. Even shoes that are too loose can cause your feet to slide forward, which jams your toes into the toe box and causes a similar sensation.
While on the elliptical, try going backwards at various intervals. This might help by changing the pressure point on the foot. If you try lifting your foot off the pedal for a second, use caution. This can set you off-balance so be sure to hold the handles if you try this approach.
Custom shoe inserts (orthotics) or insoles that are more cushioned under the ball of the foot may also be options to alleviate the numbness. If you go the shoe insert route, be certain your shoes will accommodate the device and your foot comfortably. The proper fit of your shoe is important to good foot health.
Now, you know!