If you have numb feet when you use an elliptical machine, rule out health issues such as neuropathy from diabetes, a pinched nerve or a slipped disc, then try other ways to eliminate this irritating symptom.
The elliptical is a cardiovascular workout combination between cross-country skiing and stair climbing. Some machines have handles you can push and pull to increase the workout intensity. Ellipticals typically have adjustable inclines and resistance selections to customize your workout. But, there is something about this machine that can make some people’s feet fall asleep, or get that prickly sensation. Both feelings can detract from your workout.
How You Can Prevent Numb Feet on an Elliptical
The first thing to check is your shoes. According to the Advanced Foot and Ankle Medical Center in California, tight shoes are often the culprit. Especially since your feet can swell during exercise. If your shoes are too tight, or restrict the movement in your toes, you may need to replace your workout shoes. Another option is to reduce the tension on the laces, or to use every other eyelet to lace your shoes. This solution is especially helpful if you have a bone spur on the top of your foot.
Bellevue Podiatry in Washington agrees that ellipticals can irritate the nerves between your third and fourth toes. This is due in part to the foot pedal position on the machine. One way to alleviate the irritation is to leave the machine on a flat grade instead of an incline. You can also wiggle your toes periodically during the workout to keep blood flowing to your feet.
Since your feet remain in place on the pedals throughout the session, this can place a lot of pressure on the small joints in the toes and the balls of your feet. With this excessive pressure during exercise, these capsules can become inflamed and painful. Good posture helps eliminate some of this concern and the American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM, reminds to avoid leaning forward as you use an elliptical. Continue to stand tall with your spine straight. Aim to keep your knees over your ankles, your hips over your knees and your shoulders over your hips. Use the handrails for balance only and do not lean forward as you exercise. If you find yourself leaning forward to keep up with the workout, reduce the resistance to a more comfortable and manageable speed.
If you have the option, choose an elliptical with pedals that move slightly up and down as opposed to remaining rigid in place. This will help reduce your numb feet. Always wear supportive shoes, but check to make sure the shoes are not pinching any areas on your feet. Also, place your feet in the middle of the pedals and as close to the front of the pedal if possible. However, you can slide your feet slightly backward to alleviate the discomfort.
You can also change from using the elliptical in a forward pedaling motion to a backward pedaling motion. This will reduce the pressure on your feet. For example, pedal forward for five minutes and backward for five minutes as you alternate throughout your workout.