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Old 16.08.2011, 08:36
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Pins and needles in feet while exercising

After about 6-7 minutes on the cross-trainer or treadmill at the gym I get pins and needles in my feet, after 15 mins I can hardly feel them any more and have to stop. Also had same problem in Zumba class, though it didn't stop me. I've had this problem before and thought it must be my trainers but have been through a couple of different pairs, no difference. I am a bit overweight, but not excessively, and I find it hard to understand because I have good posture and know how to hold myself properly when exercising. I also thought it might be my old lower back injury (slipped disc about 12 years ago) but it's ok at the moment, and as I said, I am in the correct position when exercising. Blood pressure is normal (always has been) so I don't think it's a circulation problem. I've only started exercising regularly again in the last few months, so not very fit. And I smoke but all lung function tests in the past have been good.

Anyone had the same problem? Any ideas? I've asked both my doc and gym staff in the past, who couldn't tell me anything. It's a pain because I need to be doing more than 10-15 mins cardio at a time, but almost fell off the flamin' crosstrainer last night because of it!
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Old 16.08.2011, 08:54
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

It's common with ellipticals, as with most exercises, you would lift your feet, but with ellipticals they are in contact with the foot..um..plate? all the time and therefore the circulation is restricted. why you also get it in Zumba - could your trainers be to tight/too small?

and here's an article about it:
http://www.ellipticalhome.com/ellipt...t-article.html

Last edited by vwild1; 16.08.2011 at 09:20. Reason: merged 2 successive posts into 1
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Old 16.08.2011, 09:18
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

I used to get exactly the same when I first started using the crosstrainer regularly back in January! I found that lifting each foot completely off the crosstrainer when it's rising before stamping back down really helped (just for a minute or so) and if necessary pausing once in a while to shake some life back into my feet seemed to sort it out. Also, you could try loosening off your trainers. Good luck
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Old 16.08.2011, 09:45
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

I've gotten too on the elliptical! Didn't realise it was common. It is always my right right foot and takes about 20 minutes to kick in for me. I've also found that lifting my heel as the foot goes up and pressing it down - so you get a wee 'bounce' without actually taking your whole foot off the plate helps as well as alternating going forward and backwards. I do 3 minutes forward, 2 minutes back, 3 minutes forward, 2 back and so on....and as soon as I switch over the sensation starts to disapear.
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Old 16.08.2011, 10:16
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

Ditch the smoking.

Smoking narrows your blood capillaries which are being compressed further by the weight on your feet from running. This has nothing to do with your lung capacity which may be (at the moment) fine.

Do this first as it's most likely the cause and worry about other stuff afterwards.
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Old 16.08.2011, 10:21
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

You're not diabetic are you? Diabetes can cause nerve damage leading to neuropathy, numbness, tingling, especially in the feet.
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Old 16.08.2011, 10:23
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

Restricted blood flow - increase magnesium in-take.
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Old 16.08.2011, 11:22
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

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Restricted blood flow - increase magnesium in-take.
Ah-ha... I hadn't associated that with the tingling stopping but it definitely makes sense as I started taking magnesium supplements to deal with night-time cramps in my calves at about the same sort of time that the cross-trainer tingling stopped. And there was me with my laces loose, trainers flapping around my feet, stomping on the cross-trainer and flicking my feet about thinking I'd sussed it
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Old 16.08.2011, 11:35
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

I used to get this at the start of each Rugby season....... I didn't smoke then either.

It's literally just muscle fatigue.

Yep, the magnesium suppliments will help, but you have to adjust your training program.

During extended periods of excercise you will notice that your feet give out far sooner than your body will..... so the only way out of this is to excercise less, but more frequently.

build up the intensity slowly (slightly longer each time, and increase the frequency.

Your feet will respond in a much shorter period.

Afterwards, stretching etc is important.


Also, you may also want to visit a podiatrist if the problem persists..... particularly if you suffer from knee or lower back pain. A proper pair of inserts maybe beneficial.
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:08
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

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I used to get this at the start of each Rugby season....... I didn't smoke then either.

It's literally just muscle fatigue.

Yep, the magnesium suppliments will help, but you have to adjust your training program.
It could be muscle fatigue. It could be magnesium deficiency. It could be a warning sign of something much more serious.

There was another thread on here recently where Odile had posted people she knew had lost their legs to gangrene due to smoking.

Pins and needles in your feet whilst exercising is one of the first symptoms.

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Old 16.08.2011, 12:18
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

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Pins and needles in your feet whilst exercising is one of the first symptoms.

Dude..... seriously

If I told my doctor I had pins and needles, and then showed him my feet looking like that....... I DESERVE gangrene.


I think the chance of gangrene is more remote than likely.

I think that if the problem persists, and you visit a podiatrist, they will quickly identify if you should see a specialist about other potential problems.



I do like thinking about that doctor visit though:

Me: "Hi Doc"
Doc: "Hi, what seems to be the problem?"
Me: "Oh, I have pins and needles in my feet"
Doc: "OK, are there any other symptoms?"
Me: "Not really, just a spot of rotting flesh with a hideous stench... and I'm missing the odd toe..... oh, nope, it's still in my sock"
Doc: "HA HA.... Pheewwww, phwoar that stinks, let's work on the pins and needles first shall we"
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:24
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

Actually, Tom1234 got me thinking.


You should test the "Capillary refill" response in your feet.

  • Identify if there is some pinkness in the feet.
  • Press on the pink skin firmly and then release.
  • Watch how fast the pinkness returns.
If the refill is slow, then you have a circulation issue, and you should consult your GP.

If the 'pinkness' is limited, and the 'refill response' is quick, then it is more likely muscle fatigue, or a structural issue with your ankles.
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:28
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

As others have said this appears to be common on cross trainers. I get it after 20 to 30 mins at which time I switch to the treadmill and it disappears in 5 mins of fast walking.
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:31
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

It could be anemia. Have a blood test and see what the iron levels are in your blood. Pins and needles are a symptom of this and it is easily treatable.
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:43
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

Now before you run to your doctor with all those suspected diseases, I would still recommend that if you get it with specifically ellipticals then
a) lift your feet when exercising,
b) change the direction of pedalling,
c) loosen the shoelaces and maybe buy a bigger size shoes and
d) if possibe in your gym, use ellipticals with moving foot pads, like this:



and not this:

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Old 16.08.2011, 12:50
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

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You're not diabetic are you? Diabetes can cause nerve damage leading to neuropathy, numbness, tingling, especially in the feet.
My thought exactly.
My husband is diabetic and frequently has pins and needles in the feet.
(and numbness in the brain............shhhhhhh I didn't say that)
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:50
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

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Dude..... seriously

If I told my doctor I had pins and needles, and then showed him my feet looking like that....... I DESERVE gangrene.


I think the chance of gangrene is more remote than likely.

I think that if the problem persists, and you visit a podiatrist, they will quickly identify if you should see a specialist about other potential problems.
I didn't say her feet were like that.

I didn't say she had gangrene.

I stated that pins and needles in the feet whilst exercising can be a precursor to more obvious symptoms of narrowing of the capillaries due to smoking.

Lung cancer only starts with a mild cough.

Here's the post on the other thread

Last edited by Tom1234; 16.08.2011 at 12:56. Reason: Added link
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Old 16.08.2011, 12:55
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

I worked as a podiatrist for the NHS in England for twenty odd years, and tingling in the feet can be the first sign of nerve damage and/or poor circulation due to diabetes, smoking amongst other things. It can also be caused by something as simple as too tight shoes, or spinal problems, underactive thyroid, pernicious anaemia etc. Instead of us all scaring you to death, I suggest you see a specialist for a foot screening, or have a word with your doc.
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Old 16.08.2011, 14:14
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

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I worked as a podiatrist for the NHS in England for twenty odd years, and tingling in the feet can be the first sign of nerve damage and/or poor circulation due to diabetes, smoking amongst other things. It can also be caused by something as simple as too tight shoes, or spinal problems, underactive thyroid, pernicious anaemia etc. Instead of us all scaring you to death, I suggest you see a specialist for a foot screening, or have a word with your doc.

So we can summarise "pins and needles in the feet" as follows:
  • possible diabetes
  • nerve damage
  • poor circulation
  • spinal problems
  • underactive thyroid
  • pernicious anaemia
or
  • tight shoes
  • weak foot muscles
  • incorrect excercising technique
(I don't like the odds there)


As we have a proper podiatrist in the thread now; Could I take the liberty to ask a question on the behalf on the OP?
Hannah'sauntie, is it fair to suggest to first work out the lower three possibilities first before consulting a doctor?

I ask this because with only one symptom "pins and needles", I don't know when you should take the higher, more serious possibilities into account?


eg. If a change of excercise technique and program fixes the initial pins and needles, what is the probability of "masking" some other more serious problems, when they should have seen a doctor in the first place?


(Tom1234....... I was only joking earlier, I just prefer not to panic first)
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Old 16.08.2011, 14:50
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Re: Pins and needles in feet while exercising

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Now before you run to your doctor with all those suspected diseases, I would still recommend that if you get it with specifically ellipticals then

d) if possibe in your gym, use ellipticals with moving foot pads, like this:



and not this:

But you can discount that as the OP said she also got the symptoms running on the treadmill and during aerobics classes.
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