Are Your Shoes Too Tight?Your feet swell during sustained walking, as much as a full shoe size. Your walking shoes should be a size larger than your dress shoes, or even more. Your shoes also need a wide enough toe box to allow your foot to swell for width as well as length. If either the length of the shoe or the width is too small or too narrow, you may be cutting off blood flow to your toes or impinging on nerves.
Choosing the Right Shoes
Lacing Your ShoesGive your toes enough room in the toe box by lacing them so that the lacings at the toe end are loose to allow for expansion. Use various lacing techniques so that you can tighten the fit at the ankle without tightening it at the toe. You want a tight lacing at the ankle so your foot stays in the heel of the shoe and doesn't slide forward with each step, cutting off toe circulation and traumatizing your toes. You can do this using a lace lock lacing trick, or by using two sets of laces per shoe - one for the toe end, one for the ankle end.
Shoe Lacing to Fit
Your StrideMany walkers curl their toes under when they walk, which not only traumatizes the toes, but also doesn't let your foot flatten out as you roll through a step. Others have an tense "toes up" position. Pay attention to what you are doing with your toes and try to relax them and let them flatten out with each step rather than holding them up or curling them under. Your foot should roll through the step, heel striking first, roll through, push off with the toes.
Medical Conditions Causing Numb ToesNumb toes can be an important symptom even if it clears up with changes to your shoes and lacing. Discuss this with your doctor at your next check-up even if it goes away. If your toe numbness continues after making changes to your shoe fit and lacing, make an appointment for a check-up and discuss this with your doctor.
Diabetic Neuropathy: If you have diabetes, discuss toe numbness with your doctor immediately.
Peripheral Neuropathy: Many conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy and toe numbness.
Symptom Checker: Numbness or Tingling
Other Causes: Toe Numbness Causes from MedicalNet.com