Why Do My Feet Go Numb On The Elliptical? (Prevention Tips)

Elliptical machines can be a great addition to a garage gym setup. They're compact, easy to use, and perfect for burning off a few extra calories without too much effort. However, for some people, using the elliptical can cause numbness of discomfort in the feet.  

If you've been wondering, 'why do my feet go numb on the elliptical?' you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll take a look at the reasons why this might happen and how you can avoid getting numb feet on the elliptical. 

If you're experiencing numbness on the feet when working out on your elliptical, it's important to determine the root cause of your discomfort. Here are the most common reasons why your feet may go numb during elliptical workouts. 

Loose Fitting Shoes

If your shoes are too big, or they're not laced up properly, then you're more likely to experience numbness in the feet when using your elliptical. If your shoes are loose-fitting, your feet will move back and forth rapidly inside the shoe as you train.

This can cause a lot of agitation to the nerves in the feet, which results in a numb sensation.

Toes Hitting The Machine’s Pedals

Another common cause of foot numbness when using ellipticals is the feet hitting the machine's pedals. Ellipticals are designed for your feet to be stationary on the pedals as you work out. However, you may feel like you need to move your feet and shift your posture as you train.

If you repeatedly move your feet around, you may hit the pedals with your toes a lot, and this can cause your feet to become numb after a while.

Running Stance

When you run, you change your stance and shift your weight often, and this prevents your feet from becoming numb.

However, on an elliptical, it can be tempting to keep your feet completely flat throughout your workout. This can cause your feet to lose circulation and become numb.

Lack of Circulation

A general lack of circulation in the feet will cause foot numbness when using your elliptical, so you should check that your shoes aren't tied too tightly and that you don't have anything else restricting your blood flow. In addition, tight workout clothing and even socks can cause circulation issues in the feet.

An Underlying Medical Condition

If none of the reasons above apply to you, and you're still experiencing numbness when on the elliptical, it could be evidence of an underlying health condition that is affecting your blood flow or your nervous system.

Common medical conditions that cause numbness in the feet include diabetesplantar fasciitis, and fibromyalgia.

numb feet from elliptical

How To Prevent Numb Feet On An Elliptical Machine (Tips & Tricks)

So now we know what causes numb feet on the elliptical; let's take a look at some tips and tricks for avoiding it.

Choose The Right Shoes

No matter what exercise your doing, it's important to wear comfortable shoes that fit properly.

For elliptical training, workout shoes from major sports brands are always a good choice, but you should make sure that they aren't too loose or too tight. Also, ensure they have a comfortable sole.

person tying their shoes on a bench

If you're experiencing numbness in the feet, and you think your shoes may be the cause, consider having your feet measured to get the perfect fit or purchasing custom insoles for your workout shoes.

If you're looking for a new pair of shoes, check out our complete guide to the best running shoes!

Change Your Stance 

Elliptical training and running are quite different, and you may experience numbness due to your feet being flat and stationary throughout the workout. To prevent this, try changing your stance occasionally and switching between backward and forward pedaling to allow your feet to regain circulation. 

Avoid Hitting The Pedals As You Train  

Although it's a good idea to occasionally switch your stance when using your elliptical, your feet still need to remain stationary as you pedal, or you'll hit your feet on the pedals often. Avoid moving your feet around as the pedals rotate, and this will prevent numbness as a result of the impact on the toes. 

Dress Appropriately  

If you think you may be experiencing numbness due to a circulation issue in the lower leg, choose clothing that will allow your blood to flow freely. For example, avoid socks with a tight elastic in them, and consider wearing loose-fitting shorts instead of tight workout clothes like yoga pants.

I personally like wearing CrossFit shorts when exercising. Read our complete guide to the best CrossFit shorts on the market!

man exercising on an elliptical

What To Do If Your Feet Go Numb While On The Elliptical

If your feet go numb when you're on the elliptical, it can be a little off-putting and uncomfortable.

However, there is no need to panic. There are lots of things you can do to alleviate the numb feeling and continue with your workout. If the sensation is quite mild, you should try switching up your stance and giving your blood a chance to recirculate around the foot. This may be enough to alleviate the sensation altogether.  

However, if it persists and worsens, it can be a good idea to take a break from your exercising and remove your shoes. Stretch out your feet and give them a good shake. This will allow the blood to move around freely for a moment. Also, when replacing your shoes, ensure that the laces aren't too tight.  

If none of the methods above help to prevent the numb feeling, and you get the feeling often when working out on your elliptical or elsewhere, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition. This is quite unlikely, but if it's becoming a persistent problem for you, then you may want to speak to your doctor or physician to get some further medical advice. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can an elliptical cause nerve damage? 

Elliptical training can cause nerve irritation, also known as neuritis. However, it's not that common and not a cause for concern for elliptical users. However, if you're experiencing pain when using your elliptical or the numbness in your feet is becoming really problematic for you while training, it's best to seek advice from a podiatrist or doctor to double-check if you have an injury. 

Where should your feet be on an elliptical? 

You should try to position the insides of your feet against the inside edges of the pedals. This will help to align your hips and prevent your feet from slipping around too much inside the pedal. It doesn't matter too much how close you are to the back or front of the pedal; you can choose this based on what feels comfortable for you. 

Should I lift my heels on an elliptical? 

You can lift your heels slightly to make your pedaling motion more natural and relaxed. However, avoid keeping your heels off the pedal permanently as this could be uncomfortable and cause injury. It would be the equivalent of walking on your tiptoes, which, as you can imagine, would be very uncomfortable after a few minutes. 

Is it bad to do the elliptical every day? 

You should try to avoid it. Although it's great to work out regularly, you should allow at least 1-2 days per week for your body to rest and recover. Using your elliptical 4-5 times a week is ideal.


Training on an elliptical can be a lot of fun, but be sure to follow the best practices mentioned in this article if you want to make the most of your workouts and avoid foot numbness.

Hopefully, this article has helped you learn how to prevent foot numbness when training and will help make your workouts more enjoyable and comfortable.

Last Updated on March 5, 2022

Paul J

Paul J

Paul J is is an ex-professional footballer who has seen a gym or two and is an expert at knowing what is required for home gym setups. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually going for a run in the park or out for coffee.