Lower Legs Go Numb when Running

Running is an effective way to lose or keep body weight, reinforce your cardiovascular fitness and give your legs an outstanding workout. Because it is an intense form of workout, you can anticipate a provided level of discomfort and tiredness in your quads, hamstrings and calves.

Why Does My Lower Leg Go Numb when I Run?

Some runners, however, experience numbness in the lower legs while they are running. This can result from either a steady process or a sudden one and might be connected to either a blood-flow issue or a neurological disruption.

Lower Leg Anatomy

The primary muscles of the lower leg are the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calf, which extend the foot at the ankle, and the tibialis anterior of the shin, which flexes the foot. The tibial nerve, a branch of the sciatic nerve, innervates all these muscles. The blood supply to the calf originates from the posterior tibial artery, a branch of the popliteal artery that in turn originates above the knee from the femoral artery; the anterior tibial artery supplies the shin.

lower leg anatomy muscles

Cross section of the muscles of lower leg anatomy

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Interruption of blood flow to your lower leg can cause pain, tingling and numbness. All these take place more often and highly while you are running because of the increased oxygen needs of the calf and shin muscles under such conditions. The instant cause of the numbness is arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Risk factors for arteriosclerosis include hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and other types of vascular disease. Remember that you have to look after your general circulatory health even if you run frequently.

Tibial Nerve Damage

Numbness in your lower leg during running might arise from pressure on a spine nerve root or some other location far from the shin and calves. Another cause, nevertheless, is direct issue to the tibial nerve. This type of injury is called a neuropathy and is frequently caused by a blow to the back of the knee or the upper calf. It may likewise happen as a consequence of diabetes and other illness that cause pathology across the entire nerve system. If the numbness does not go away on its own or comes back often, specifically when pain is likewise present, seek medical help.

Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is a long, high-diameter nerve that gives off branches to the skin and muscles in the front and back of your upper and lower legs. It courses from the lumbosacral spine through the butts muscles and down the thigh into the shin and calf, releasing various branches along the way. Sciatica refers not to a disease per se but to pain or numbness as a result of impingement of a muscle or other structure on the nerve, normally near its origin. It often goes away on its own but you might require ice, physical therapy and steroid injections to obtain you back on the roadways, track and trails.

 

References

Updated: August 30, 2016 — 12:09 pm

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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