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How To Get Rid Of Toes Numbness While Exercising on Elliptical Machine or Stairmaster?

August 24th, 2013 · No Comments ·


Some of you may have experienced numb toes when you are exercising on elliptical machine or Stair Master.  This numbness often come all of a sudden and may force you to stop working out.  Someone even came up with a term called “Elliptical Trainer Sleepy Foot Syndrome”.  Surprisingly, many suffer from this problem, but seldom talk about it.  Now, let’s find out why it happens and I will share with you some of the tips to prevent it from happening again.

Most elliptical machines or stairmasters are designed in a way that you are standing in a same position while the pedals are moving.  In other words, your feet are always planted on the pedals.  Using an elliptical trainer or StairMaster is very similar to standing motionless in one place.  When you exercise for 10 minutes, you probably do not feel that numbness.  But after for sometime, the prolonged pressure of your body weight on the nerves in your toes may cause the numbness. The blood flow gets restricted.  So, while elliptical machine is good for your knee, it can cause uneasiness with your feet losing sensation.


Here are few tips to get prevent the numbness:

  • First, check your sports shoes.  Make sure your athletic footwear fits your feet properly with correct size.  They should have adequate room for your toes in the toe box of your shoe.  The other thing is the shoe lace.  Try loosening your lower laces (close to your toes) while keeping the laces tight near the top.
  • Many tend to focus all their weight onto their toes when they stride on elliptical machine.  Now, assuming your shoes have the room for your toes, remember to wiggle your toes every now and then during your workout on the elliptical trainer.
  • When you step on the pedal, instead of sticking your feet constantly on the foot pedal, you can rock your foot from heel to toe as you exercise.  In other words, leave your foot from the pedal slightly and then step on it with your heel then your toes.  In fact, nowadays, the modern elliptical trainers have the so called “articulating” foot pedals.  The pedals are free to rotate around a center pin, just like a bicycle pedal.  This free rotation will shift your body weight from your heel to toes as your stride and therefore making your foot leave the pedal slightly in every move.  In addition to avoid toes numbness problem, pressing with your toes will work the front of your thigh whereas pressing with your heel will work the back of your leg.  So, this motion is much better than just using only toes throughout the exercise.  Some machines allow you to adjust the pedal angle.  In this case, you should adjust the angle higher in the rear if your have toes numbness.


  • Numbness tend to occur if you are using machine with flat elliptical arc.  I find that machine which has a slightly incline arc is better.
  • The other trick is to alternate the forward and backward motion (say, for every 10 minutes) when you are on the machine,.  The backward motion tends to force your feet to leave the pedal and therefore helping to alleviate the numbness.
  • Last but not least, no matter how good your shoes or the machines are, you should not exercise for too long.  The recommended period is between 30 and 45 minutes.


If you have tried my above methods and still have the numbness problem, I suggest you to talk to your doctor because it may be some other problems.  I hope that the tips will work for you and no more “Elliptical Trainer Sleepy Foot Syndrome”!



Category: Fitness Gadget/Equipment

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