I frequently get a sense of tightness in my lower legs most often about a mile into a run, sometimes in one foot other times in both. I've spoken to a doctor about it and my achilles is fine. The problem is that the swelling in the achilles area makes it painful to run and sometimes slows the flow of blood to the feet and my foot begins to tingle and go numb.

If this were the case every time I wouldn't be a runner. However, it doesn't always happen and most of the time when it does happen, with some massage and walking, it goes away, usually after about 3 miles. What is puzzling is why it doesn't happen every time. I've tried stretching and massage, with limited results.

What do you think is happening and how can I prevent it?

  • Did you ask your doctor about compartmental syndrome? This sounds like a possible weak case of compartmental syndrome.
    – ngramsky
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 4:48

3 Answers 3


I tend to get a similar feeling. I have noticed, however, that it gets better with proper warmup before starting to run.

Some jumps, short jogs, and other activities to get the heart rate up a bit before setting off is what I do, and it helps quite a lot.

Do you do any pre-run warm-up?


I think I've had the same thing. If i'm right it's a kind of inflammation at the insertion of the achilles resulting in an constipation of lime, making it harder for blood to run through te muscle. It's not easy to diagnose because most high tech scanners don't see it, but a good old simple echography certainnly does and it's much cheaper...

If this is your problem you can heal it by long resting and avoiding shoques and high impact sports like sprinting, jumping and running. But if the proces is already in a further stage resting will not be enough. If resting is not working go to a specialist and ask the options of an ESWT treatment.

Hope you get better quickly!


Numbness of the foot and tightness of the Achilles usually has to do with tight plantar fascia. (See below for another cause also).

There are 2 easy ways to relieve this pain. Do these the night before a run. It is best to do 3-5 times a week for 6-10 weeks in order to see maximum change.

1) Release fascia tissue - get a lacrosse ball. Stand up and stand on the lacrosse ball with your arch bearing the majority of the weight. Move the ball back and forth with your foot for 3 minutes. This breaks up scar tissue and tightness in the plantar fascia.

2) Stretch your calves. This is the Jay Dicharry (UVA Speed Clinic) burrito stretch. Roll up a towel tight to the size of a Chipotle burrito. Do this Calf Stretch. Put the towel parallel to the foot that is back. Rest your big toe only on the burrito. This will extend the big toe and release the pain in your calves. Hold for 3 minutes a side in order to lengthen the tissue.

The pain and specifically the numbness may be caused by a tight sciatic muscle. The body is a closed system and sciatic issues can manifest themselves in the lower limbs.

One of the best ways to break up scar tissue in a tight sciatic is to sit on a lacrosse ball. Roll back and forth and find the tight / sore spot. This could be anywhere from upper hamstring to lower back to hip to butt. When you find it, you'll know.

Finally, check this blog for more serious medical issues.

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