Numbness in my left foot when walking
Q. I get periodic numbness in my left foot when walking. There is no specific terrain that causes it.
Having recently been to Dartmoor, I experienced it walking up and down hills also along paths. It comes and goes but only happens in my left foot.
I have read the guide to buying walking boots and mine fit fine according to the advice given.
I would like to know if anyone else has experienced anything like this or can offer any advice as to what may cause this?
Ashley Viorster, Bristol
A. I get this too - after about half an hour, my left foot goes numb. If I rest for a couple of minutes it stops (after pins and needles), though it comes back pretty quickly and I have to keep stopping for the rest of the walk. It doesn't matter what shoes I'm wearing or what the terrain is. To me it feels like a circulatory issue, as if something in my calf area is preventing the free flow of blood to my foot - maybe it's compartment syndrome?
Ruth Barlow, Kenilworth
A. This is a common problem, and is most likely a condition called Morton's Neuroma.
See your Podiatrist!
Hope that helps.
Martyn Sherman, Sheffield
A. Hi everyone not sure if this is the answer for you. But I had a numbness in my left foot resulting in a burning in the toes the pain was horrid. It turned out to be the insoles in my new North Face GTX boots, they had no air holes in the insoles, i have changed them for some old insoles out of my addidas trainers now I am pain free and my feet are not sweating, burning and numb at last. Ready to do long walks again now without having to stop every 30 minutes to take my boots off for a breather.
Richard Vickers, Halifax West Yorks
A. I would seek some advice from a chiroppractor, physio or osteopath. I had a similar problem some years ago. It led to my entire left leg going numb when sitting especially after a long walk... quiter serious once when I was driving!!
Now, when I go out for a walk I have a brisk 10min walk to warm up then stretch out my pelvis. Something I learnt from an antenatal class it really does the trick for me even thjough it looks strange
Lance Doyle, Brighton
A. Hi Ashley I'd be interested to hear if you receive any advice. I have what sounds like a similar problem. For me it's a combination of numbness and what feels like spasm of the muscles underneath the foot.
Like you, my boots are well fitting. It happens far less in my normal leather KSB boots, but almost always happens if I'm wearing my rigid winter Scarpas for more than about 3 miles, and after about 6 it's agony, especially going downhill.
No answers I'm afraid, but as I say, I'd be really interested to hear if you find out more.
Jan Formis, Oxford
A. Over the last year I too have experienced numbness/sometimes a burning sensation in my toes/foot. It is an odd, irritating and sometimes painful feeling.
I have been diagnosed with a Morton's Neuroma, which affects particular toes. It is not sinister/life-threatening (so no need to be too anxious!) but it can be uncomfortable.
It can sometimes be helped by physiotherapy sessions as it is caused by swelling of nerve endings in the feet. I believe it is fairly common. Sometimes it can be relieved by wearing inserts in shoes/boots.
This of course is MY experience,but I would advise going to GP to check it out as the symptoms are VERY familiar.
Maggie Carte, Loughborough
A. Hi I work as a McTimoney Chiropractor and sometimes this happens to clients because their pelvis is slightly out of alignment and the uneven pressure gradually puts pressure to the sciatic nerve which can then cause numbness or other symptoms in the leg, back or foot.
A conversation with your local person could ascertain if this is a possibility.
Another possibility is that your laces are unevenly tightened and exerting too much pressure.
David Hubbard, Stroud, Glos
A. Hi, I work in a mountain sports shop [and] I have been making and using custom made insoles in most of my footwear for the last 3 years.
The pain and numbness is probably being caused by weakened arches (yes you have 3). Spending a lot of time on your feet and carrying large loads can put excess pressure on your feet causing the above side effects.
Sometimes they can be caused by more severe problems which could require extra help, but a foot bed is definitely a good place to start.
Superfeet do a good pre-made foot bed if you can't get to a store or just to improve general fit.
Helen Louise Gallimore, Burton On Trent
A. I had a similar feeling and thought it was the boots. I visited a local boot shop and he told me it was failing arches and loaned me some 'superfeet' insoles to try. They sorted the problem and I bought three pairs of insoles for various shoes / boots.
A. I would think the chiropractor has got it right. I have recently been treated by an osteopath whose diagnosis was exactly the same. Mine began with severe lower back pain. I've been given exercises to do to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve but it's taking a long time to shift. I'm still walking but not as far as I used to!
PS my numbness is all the time, not just when I'm walking.
Keith Wood, Ripon
A. Also see My walking boots make my feet tingle