Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


MS or just me? I can feel my toes again!

Weird symptoms sometimes just happen to anybody, don’t they? It’s easy to blame everything on MS, but I’m not sure that’s always fair. Sure, I loathe the MS MonSter as much as any MS battler. But I do think quirky conditions occasionally just come and go.

Have your feet ever gone numb for a while? Mine have!

For months, my toes tingled and then went completely numb every time I went running. It always seemed to start right around the one-mile marker. I tried loosening my laces. I tried stretching and stomping. I tried a variety of athletic socks and shoe brands and styles.

I even tried drinking lots of extra water, just in case my numb feet had something to do with insufficient hydration.

No such luck.

Like clockwork, my toes would start that annoying pins-and-needles thing after the first mile. Sometimes it would spread to my soles and more, making my feet completely numb.


I dreaded the idea that my tingling and then unfeeling toes might signal an oncoming MS exacerbation.

Oh, please, no!

After doing a little research, I learned that tingling toes and numb feet are a fairly common occurrence among runners. This seems to happen rather frequently to those who log miles on treadmills, trails, paths, sidewalks, roads, or anywhere else.

Exercise raises the body temperature and makes the feet swell. Sure, it does! That makes running shoes fit more snugly. And tighter shoes can restrict blood circulation in the feet. Puffy feet in snugger shoes can spell tingly toes and numb feet.

At last I had the answer!

This was not some weird neurological symptom for only me.

I hit the shoe store (just in time for a super sneaker sale) and picked up one more pair of running shoes. But this time, I kicked it up a half size from what I usually wear.

Well, whaddya know? That solved the problem. I can run for miles, and my feet do not go numb. I can feel my toes – at least, for now.

I’m still on pins and needles right before a race. Maybe I always will be. But that has nothing to do with my toes tingling or growing numb.

 Adapted from public domain photo

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1 comment:

  1. I don't have MS, I have Spinal Stenosis, but I have to be very particular about my shoes. In fact, the frequency of my toes going numb from walking and running was the big red flag that led my doctors to finding the SN in the first place. I remember them talking about "runners syndrome," and saying my episodes were far to often to be that. Especially since I've always worn shoes that were half a size too big. I grew up on a farm, where you had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter. So, even after growing up shoes that fit "right" were uncomfortable for me. And now, I've been told, that they can even cause damage to my feet and spine.

    Glad you found an answer for your tingly toes!


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