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I've been running regularly (once or twice per week) for four months, wearing the same shoes each time. However, the last two times I've run, my left foot has gone numb about 2 miles into the run. I've been able to keep the run going for a couple more miles, but I need to cut things short around 4 or 5 miles for fear that I'm going to roll my ankle.

I'm wondering how this problem could surface now, after months of running without issue in the same shoes. I should add, the bulk of my running takes place on a treadmill, because it's cold outside (where I live).

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    Shoes wear out. You shouldn't really run in the exact same pair day after day. Ideally you will have 2-4 pairs that you rotate through, and depending on your gait/weight/running frequency and the type of shoe, the shoes will need replacing every 200-500 miles (Total on pair). If you wear them around for everyday, that will also shorten the lifespan. – JohnP Jan 27 '15 at 22:46
  • Those are fair points, and I do appreciate the advice. In my case, these shoes are only used for running (not everyday use), and I only run about every 5 days. To date, I've put about 100 miles on them. I will keep your 200-500 estimate in mind though. – WEFX Jan 28 '15 at 2:50
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    It's unlikely but this could be a symptom of peripheral artery disease. mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-artery-disease/…. A test called Ankle Brachiel Index can rule it out. If you not seen a doctor lately then you might want to have it checked out. – Cerad Jan 28 '15 at 15:33
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Your foot very likely could have changed shaped a bit, and your shoes certainly will. Having two pairs of running shoes is always nice from an injury prevention standpoint in that different shoes tend to stress you in different ways and change your angles ever so slightly, so it's a good investment.

In order I would try:

  1. A new pair of shoes, especially something with a wide toe box and that is fairly soft (check out the Nike 4.0's).

  2. Strength training, stretching.

  3. A podiatrist.

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You should definitely consider seeing your doctor as numbness is usually indicative of some other problem. As others have suggested, it may be as simple as changing your running shoes. Or, as even others have noted, lace-tying may be the cause. But, there’s another cause you may want to consider. Nerve compression. The compression may be caused externally (shoes, laces, etc.), or, structurally (scar tissue, impingement). It could be caused by your gait and how you land on your foot. It really depends on where you actually feel the numbness. Either way, numbness is something that should be addressed sooner than later, because if nerve impingement is the cause, you run the risk of permanent damage if the problem is not addressed.

  • Thanks, those are great links. I will try loosening the laces in that shoe; I would LOVE it if it's this simple. – WEFX Jan 28 '15 at 19:32
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I still don't have a definitive answer for my predicament, but I am happy to report that, now that Spring is here, I've been running outside. Now that I'm not running exclusively on a treadmill, I'm not experiencing the numbness.

I'm still going to mix in a second pair of shoes and see a podiatrist eventually. In the meantime, I'm happy to stay far, far away from my gym's treadmill.

I've posted this as an answer in case others have similar issues; in hopes that they might also have better luck on a trail vs. a treadmill.

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