My Feet Tingle During Exercise

If your feet tingle during exercise, it could be a sign of a treatable condition related to inflammation of nerves in the feet or the connection between bones in the feet. Other diseases, such as diabetes, can lead to nerve damage, which can leave your feet feeling tingly or numb or even sore. And because being on your feet puts more pressure on the muscles and nerves of your feet, exercise can exacerbate neurological or circulatory conditions that are characterized by a tingling sensation in the feet.

A woman is stretching on a yoga mat. (Image: Prasit Rodphan/iStock/Getty Images)

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

The tarsal tunnel -- located on the inside of your ankle -- is a narrow space, surrounded by a ligament, that houses the posterior tibial nerve. Compression on the nerve, caused by such conditions as arthritis or inflammation from a sprained ankle, can lead to a tingling or painful feeling in the affected foot. Starting a new exercise program can trigger symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome. If you experience tingling or pain in your foot, seek medical attention to avoid permanent nerve damage.

Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a potentially painful condition caused by inflammation of the metatarsals, the five bones that extend from the ball of the foot to the toes. A feeling of numbness or tingling, especially in the ball of the foot and toes, can be an early sign of metatarsalgia. The condition is often brought on by a change, either in the way you run, jump or land in sports or exercise, or by a significant increase in the amount of physical activity you're doing. Ice and rest can help reduce the inflammation -- and athletic shoes that fit properly and provide shock absorption for the entire foot should help also.

Diabetes Complications

Nerve damage in the feet and legs is a serious complication of diabetes and can lead to tingling feelings and numbness at any time. Those feelings can be more acute when exercising and running because of the additional pressure on your feet. To reduce tingling feelings in the feet during exercise, consider swimming as an alternative to running, as it takes considerable pressure off the feet but can still provide a good cardiovascular workout.

Treatment

If the numbness or tingling gets worse as you exercise or it affects your strength or coordination in your feet or legs, or if you experience dizziness or muscle spasms, seek medical help. Pressure on a nerve or nerve damage may be to blame, but the problem may be from a blocked blood vessel. A tingling feeling in the feet or any extremity can be a first sign of stroke. Tell someone how you are feeling and call for emergency medical assistance if symptoms become worse.

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