Toe Numbness?

Brendan

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Wanted to see if anyone had encountered this. I have been battling toe numbness after longer hunts - mainly in my big toes on both feet. After a 10-12 day hunt, it can take 2 months or so for the tingling to go completely away.

I'd initially chalked it up to toe bang and boots that were too small, but I've upsized my boots, and I've also occasionally gotten a little tingling while running on flat ground in my very roomy running shoes, so I'm not as convinced anymore that it's boots that are too small or banging into the front of the boot, and am wondering if it's something else with my arch and maybe the type of insoles or something like that?

If it matters - I'm fairly flat footed, with a mostly neutral gait, but tend to wear the outsides of my running shoes a little faster.

I think seeing a podiatrist and getting custom orthotics might be wise - but anyone out there ever experienced this before I start lining up doctor visits and shelling out $$$ for custom insoles and orthotics?
 

beachbunny

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do you have any back problems? Circulation issues?
I deal with that and I know that is part of it. Course i'm pretty "mature" (cough ,old)
 
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Brendan

Brendan

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do you have any back problems? Circulation issues?
I deal with that and I know that is part of it. Course i'm pretty "mature" (cough ,old)
Nope, none of that - Yet anyways ;) - 39 Years old and in pretty good shape...
 

DenRuyter

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My big toe on my left foot goes numb just like you describe, and has stayed numb for months too. My right big toe has only done it for 2 days max. Mine mostly happened after an injured disk though (C4/5). If your boots aren't rubbing, your nerves are being damage somehow. A good podiatrist should be able to help, but if there's permanent any damage he may not be able to do much.


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Blockcaver

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My 64 year-old big toe on the left foot stays numb for three months every year (6 years in a row) after my long Stone sheep backpack hunts. It has done this every year but typically is fine by Christmas. I had some medical tests done without learning anything of value. I do wear custom orthotics from two different sources. Basically the extra pressure of hiking extended distances with a pack in rough country does it to me. Anymore, it is just a normal part of my favorite hunt to have a numb big toe! When you pack out your DIY archery Stone ram it makes it all worthwhile! Good luck!
 

beachbunny

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yeah, it seems like you are in the freak out stage the way I was. you do get used to it like Blockcaver says
 

semperfidelis97

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I have the same issue every year as well. I also have flat feet, but I already have orthotics. Even with great boots it's still an issue. I think it's just part of the deal if you hunt very steep country for to long. My feet usually take 8-10 weeks to get the feeling back completely.

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lumis17

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May 15, 2016
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Might be back problems so look into sciatica. I got a ruptured disc and herniated disc that cause sciatica for me. Pulling my back or working it out too hard can cause numbness in my legs, feet, and toes for long periods of time. The toes on my right foot have been numb for literally over a year.
 

AK Troutbum

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It has happened to me once, bilat. foot numbness (I can't remember exactly where), that lasted for several months after a very difficult 10 day sheep hunt in '10, wearing fairly new mountaineering boots. I caulked it up to the boot's more than likely pinching a nerve. I've been on extended mountain hunts every years since using the same boots and have hauled some pretty heavy wts. without experiencing the same issue again.
 
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Brendan

Brendan

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Let me clarify. For me: I have no back problems, no sciatica, no other nerve issues or injuries other than the occasional muscle tweak from overdoing it. I'd say I'm in great shape and unless my f*ed up right shoulder is somehow affecting my big toe, I think this is related to my feet and possibly lower legs.

From what I'm hearing above - sounding like I am not alone and maybe it's just the repetitive impact and weight aggravating the nerve for certain foot types? Makes me wonder if the right orthotic or cushioning insole could help, but it sounds like some have tried that so that might take some work to find the right one.
 
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Foldem

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Arvada, Colorado
I had similar issues with my Lowa Tibets. I figured out the sole was too hard on the balls of my feet with the weight. I got the soft gel inserts from Lathrop and sons and it cleared the issue up for me.
 

Desk Jockey

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It is pretty common. Alpine toe. Hikers toe. Usually the outside or top of the big toe. Boot fit, gait, biomechanics and coldness play a roll. Most common cause is localized nerve irritation. Depending on how long it lasts after the hike you may want to consider different footwear and something with a wider toe box. Lacing in a way that keeps your toes from cramming into the toe box on descents helps.

I get it periodically. Started in my 20s during some army schools. It happens now and again. It has lasted as long as 3-4 months but is usually gone in a week or two.

You can go get a pediatrics Toronto sports medicine doctor to take a look if it persists. If you are losing BOTH feeling and function, i.e. Your toe is limp or not working when you walk, it may be something more serious and you should get it looked at. Especially if it grows through your foot. Nerve impingement like from a blown disc or other injury is no joke and if you don't take steps to correct you can lose permanent function if you don't intervene soon.
 

MtnHunter

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I use orthotics and have still experienced right toe numbness post hunt - the longest being for 6 months afterwards. I'm not an expert and can't say if this is really the reason why, but I noticed the left side of my right big toe is in constant contact with my boot wall. As the season wears on, I feel my toe going numb starting with the left side and moving all the way through. My guess is that with every new step and balancing movement, the nerves get compoundedly overloaded, leading to the numbness. I will also say, the more heavy packouts I do, the worse it gets. Important to note, it appears that blood still flows into my toe, so I haven't been too worried about loss of circulation and permanent damage. I could be way off base and should really need to be concerned about loss of circulation, but that's my uneducated observation.
 

Titan

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I have this issue every once in a while when I hunt. I also get it after intense bike/run workouts. It seems to stem from calf tightness for me. I don't feel it in the calf, but rolling them out on a foam roller tends to help the issue go away quicker.

I also have flat feet. I tried custom insoles for a while and never could get my issues to go away. At a running store, I came across some flat foot insoles called Ten Seconds Flat Foot Insoles. They don't force an arch, they just realign your ankle. No more foot issues after switching to these and wayyyy cheaper than going through 2-3 custom insoles per year.
 

skaldugwas

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Try elevating your foot for a few hours or longer.
Are your boots wide enough?


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Tod osier

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I have the exact same thing after packing heavy loads far over the rough. This year packing elk with me my wife and I both had it, so that was cool that we could share (she never gets these weird phantom issues I do, so it was nice for once).

Lasted a couple three months for me this year.
 

SLDMTN

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I have marginal feeling in either of my big toes from repeated frostbite growing up, playing outdoor hockey in AK is rough on toes. After the fall season of being in my boots for two months straight, I have close to zero feeling but they do get a bit of a tingle. It's an interesting combination of sensations for sure.
 
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Brendan

Brendan

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Definitely not the only one then...

I have this issue every once in a while when I hunt. I also get it after intense bike/run workouts. It seems to stem from calf tightness for me. I don't feel it in the calf, but rolling them out on a foam roller tends to help the issue go away quicker.

I also have flat feet. I tried custom insoles for a while and never could get my issues to go away. At a running store, I came across some flat foot insoles called Ten Seconds Flat Foot Insoles. They don't force an arch, they just realign your ankle. No more foot issues after switching to these and wayyyy cheaper than going through 2-3 custom insoles per year.
This sounds the most similar to me. Occasionally and short lasting while running or road biking, but after 10-12 days of Elk Hunting - so far I'm 3 for 3 and it lasts for a couple months. It's a tingling only, no issues with function, color, blood flow, etc.

I may give those insoles a try or the Lathrop ones Foldem tried. May even try to get a video gait analysis done somewhere just for the heck of it.

Definitely don't want to get into the revolving door of buying and trying multiple pairs of $400 hunting boots!
 

Titan

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Texas
Yeah, pick up a foam roller at Walmart also. Really roll hard on one leg at a time.

I think the longest I have had it is a couple weeks.

I had a gait analysis done at an expo before a marathon...the guys advice was to stop running! Haha!
 

Akicita

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Aug 3, 2016
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Colorado
Wanted to see if anyone had encountered this. I have been battling toe numbness after longer hunts - mainly in my big toes on both feet. After a 10-12 day hunt, it can take 2 months or so for the tingling to go completely away.

I'd initially chalked it up to toe bang and boots that were too small, but I've upsized my boots, and I've also occasionally gotten a little tingling while running on flat ground in my very roomy running shoes, so I'm not as convinced anymore that it's boots that are too small or banging into the front of the boot, and am wondering if it's something else with my arch and maybe the type of insoles or something like that?

If it matters - I'm fairly flat footed, with a mostly neutral gait, but tend to wear the outsides of my running shoes a little faster.

I think seeing a podiatrist and getting custom orthotics might be wise - but anyone out there ever experienced this before I start lining up doctor visits and shelling out $$$ for custom insoles and orthotics?
Let me clarify. For me: I have no back problems, no sciatica, no other nerve issues or injuries other than the occasional muscle tweak from overdoing it. I'd say I'm in great shape and unless my f*ed up right shoulder is somehow affecting my big toe, I think this is related to my feet and possibly lower legs.

From what I'm hearing above - sounding like I am not alone and maybe it's just the repetitive impact and weight aggravating the nerve for certain foot types? Makes me wonder if the right orthotic or cushioning insole could help, but it sounds like some have tried that so that might take some work to find the right one.
I addressed the typical causes and fixes for this in a "Footwear" post a couple of months ago. I will try and find it and post a link however in short if there are no pre-existing neuropathic pain issues it is usually boot fit, boot lacing and foot to boot conditioning problems. . . I would bet a steak dinner you have enough room in the toe box to slightly curl your toes in a "gripping" manner and unconsciously you are doing so on uneven or steep terrain because you instinctively think you need to grip that surface with your toes.
 
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