What Does it Mean When Your Toes Go Numb While Working Out?

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Numbness in the toes can cause pain and discomfort during a workout, and can cause a person to stop exercising before he would prefer to. Numbness in the toes during a workout can indicate a problem with footwear or be a symptom of a foot injury or other medical problem. People who experience persistent numbness that worsens or is accompanied by other symptoms should seek evaluation by a physician or podiatrist.

Poor Footwear

Proper footwear is essential for working out, and worn out or ill-fitting footwear can cause the toes to go numb. Lacing the shoes too tightly also can cause the toes to go numb, explains the Master Runner website. Likewise, shoes that fit too tightly also contribute to toe numbness, according to The Foot and Ankle Center of Washington. In addition, shoes that provide little support to the ball of the foot when performing repetitive exercises such as pedaling a bike can cause numbness by compressing the nerves of the toes. While shoes that cause the ball of the foot to experience too much pressure from a lack of support in the insole also cause the toes to feel numb during a workout.


Numbness in the toes can mean that one or more toes has sustained an injury. People exercising outdoors during cold weather might experience numbness of the toes as a result of frostbite, explains the Foot Care website. A toe that is broken during the workout can also can feel numb during exercise. In addition, injuries to the nerve in a toe as a result of conditions like neuromas or bunions can interfere with sensation in the toe, causing it to feel numb.

Cardiovascular Disorders

Numbness in the toes of both feet could indicate a cardiovascular disorder. Peripheral vascular disease leads to poor circulation in the extremities and can cause toe numbness during a workout, explains the Foot Care website. Likewise, inflammation of the blood vessels of the legs and foot, referred to as vasculitis, also can cause numbness in the toes. Diabetes, especially if undiagnosed or poorly controlled, also can cause numbness in the toes as a result of damage to the blood vessels of the feet.

Nerve Disorders

People who experience numbness or pain in the feet and toes as well as the hands might have peripheral neuropathy, which often results as a complication of chronic conditions such as diabetes or metabolic problems. Other health issues, such as B vitamin deficiencies and hypothyroidism, can also contribute toward peripheral neuropathy. In addition, falling or incurring other trauma during a workout could sever a nerve in a toe, leading to numbness.