View Full Version : foot falling asleep

May. 22, 2010, 01:21 PM
My left foot falls asleep 30-40 min during some rides. It causes me to not be able to properly use my lower leg (as I am sure you can imagine).


I ride in an Antares Hampton Classic w/ the stirrups that pivot (can't remember the name), or when I ride western (yes I do occasionally visit the dark side!) a Harris work saddle.
It happens in both saddles.

It doesn't happen all of the time. I do have Morton's toe (second toe is longer than the big toe) but only slightly- that toe on my left foot has some nerve damage and usually feels tingly anyway

I ride in Ariat terrains and Segio Grasso tall boots. I know I need different short boots because the Ariats pull off of my heels about 15 min into the ride, I am always having to retie them!

I used to have the problem more in my tall boots, but now it seems worse in the Ariats.

It doesn't happen every time (I can't think to quantify it because I forget about it until it happens again)

I have had achilles tendinitis.

Any suggestions? And thanks for reading:)

May. 22, 2010, 02:37 PM
I have always had problems with my ankles and I have found that using the jointed / pivoting stirrups will make me overflex my ankles and my foot will fall asleep. I also get the same result from making my stirrups too short.

I'd blame it on your jointed stirrups, but since you said it happens in the western saddle too, I'm at a loss...

I have had much better luck lately riding with one of those cheapy ace ankle braces on the ankle I have the most trouble with. I also only wear lace up paddock boots since they have some support.

May. 23, 2010, 07:30 PM
Thanks for your reply:)

My stirrups don't swivel up and down, they turn 45-90 degrees at the top so that the leather doesn't rub as much, other than that they are like traditional fillis irons.

I think the "falling asleep " comes from the ankle/foot area too. (As opposed to coming from the sciatica area). I have some problems in my hands (carpral (sp) tunnel problems). I wonder if it is something like this.

Tiffani B
May. 23, 2010, 07:33 PM
I used to wear taller lace up boots when working in the barn, and my toes and lower foot would fall asleep. It was because the boots were too tight around the upper ankle.

When your foot "thaws out" do you get the pins and needles feeling, or does it just fade away?

If it's pins and needles, then it's bloodflow constriction. If it just fades, then it's a pinched nerve.

I would try riding in different boots (maybe short jod boots?) and see what happens.

May. 23, 2010, 07:56 PM
It finally fades away, it almost feels like it vibrates when it comes back- so I think it is nerves.

What brand are your taller lace up boots? I was actually thinking of getting some DocMartins because they lace up higher than any riding boots I can find ( I don't want to wear my Sergios when I ride western!).

I have really narrow feet (AAAA heels) and nothing stays on.


Tiffani B
May. 23, 2010, 08:02 PM
I don't remember the brand; it was 10 years ago and they've long been given to Goodwill!

They were about mid-calf height. I think a taller boot (standard hunt height) would have been fine, and short jod boots are fine.

May. 23, 2010, 10:38 PM
This happens to me too, but only on certain horses. Thankfully, it does not happen on my horse. For me, it is usually both feet. I think it has something to do with the way my leg/ankle lays against some horses' sides. Seems to happen more on the rounder horses and less on narrower horses like TBs.

May. 23, 2010, 11:07 PM
Are you *sure* it's not sciatica? I always thought it was my feet or ankles, but,

My right foot goes dead... no pins & needles when it comes back... and it is from sciatica. When I finally found the right twist/waist combination in a saddle, no problem.

FWIW, it happens in many/most western saddles, as well as english. I actually ended up in a super narrow twist, shallow seat Passier.

May. 23, 2010, 11:12 PM
Well.... I had sciatica when I was pregnant and I had a lot of pain from it. I suppose it could be, but since I don't hurt, I just assumed it wasn't. Maybe it's time to see the Doc!

Hunter Mom
May. 24, 2010, 12:02 AM
I have a similar problem. I have nerve damage across the ball of one foot and have had problems with my foot falling asleep. I wear shoes with metatarsal support (Birkenstocks) when I'm not riding. I got orthotics that have similar support (Spenco sport insoles with added metatarsal support) made at a local store with a certified orthotist. Makes all the difference in the world.

May. 24, 2010, 07:31 PM
look here and read page one check your stirrups are the correct lenght
comon problem for riders that ride odd or not central to the horse ooh and have your saddle checked for flocking a mastercraftsmen can tell how you ride in your saddle if one is lopp sided which in turn effect your position and balamce and the horses way of going

May. 25, 2010, 09:59 AM
I used to have this happen, especially when I was a kid/teenager!!! The falling asleep was preceded by a good deal of ankle pain and strong burning across the bottom of my foot where the stirrup was.

For me, Herm Sprenger jointed stirrups (http://www.beval.com/Products/Herm-Sprenger-Jointed-Stirrup-Irons/0015004.aspx) fixed the problem -- worth every penny!

Good luck!!!

Oct. 26, 2010, 11:40 PM
I've had the same problem, my doctor recommended that I start wearing shoes that have more ankle support, which is what I did. But then my foot started to develop another problem where i was unable to wear any types of shoes, slippers etc that were flat, so ever since i haven't wore any types of shoes that were really flat on the bottom. Ankle support shoes help, also shoes/ boots with a bit of a bump on the end.

Oct. 26, 2010, 11:44 PM
I agree with the person who said that if your foot doesn't feel "tingly" then it could be a pinched nerve. I've had this problem occasionally while cycling. To solve the problem I had to adjust the cleat position on my shoe to bring the pressure more over the ball of my foot (wider area). I think previously it had been too far forward and was pressing unevenly near the base of some of my toes.

Hunter Mom
Oct. 26, 2010, 11:50 PM
I have trapped nerves in the metatarsal area, and have found that orthotics make a world of difference. I have spenco insoles that have metatarsal supports added to them. It is the only way I can feel my right foot when I ride. Find a good orthotist who can help you.

Oct. 27, 2010, 09:33 AM
I used to have this problem every now and then, but since I lowered my stirrups during flat work, it doesn't seem to be happening.

Oct. 27, 2010, 03:39 PM
Hmmmm. I've had the same issue when riding in my jump saddle for an extended period of time (i.e. XC schooling), but it's usually accompanied by my ankle locking up. Minor pins and needles when feeling comes back... usually rotating my ankles while we cool out helps.

Would a stirrup with a wider footbed help?

Oct. 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
I didn't read all the above posts, so sorry if this was mentioned already.

I have Morton's Toe (never knew 'it' had a name!) as well and used to have the same problem with the lace up boots. Switched to the pull on side zip, and haven't had an issue since!

I think the extra pressure from the laces there in the crease of your ankle may be whats causing your foot to fall asleep. In any case, switching boots worked for me :)

Lieb Schon
Oct. 27, 2010, 10:36 PM
I'm really happy to be able to share this.
I have had progressive discomfort for the last 7 years. Most of it surfaces when my foot is in the stirrup. My toes go numb very quickly, and I have found out it's because of Morton's Neuroma.I have "Morton's Toe" on both feet. This is normally associated with the second toe being longer than the big toe. Morton's Toe can be complicated by several factors.
Most commonly the problem shows up when you walk around without a lot of arch support on hard surfaces. Your second long FREAK toe takes over the job MR Big Toe was supposed to do.
Most of the time the problem known as a neuroma begins between the second and third toes.
Apparently a nerve, when pissed off, will grow in size. In other words, when your body says "OW", you should listen. I didn't.
In my case the neuroma developed between my third and fourth digits. I let it go for almost 8 years.
At the end of the day xray showed my bones too close together, thus creating a conflicting space for my resident neuroma.
My very sexy GeorgeMichael lookalike podiatrist and I decided to inject the oversized over opinionated nerve ball with a steroid-just to be sure! Pain gone! So for me, because I had let it go for so long, I told DR GM that we should go for DEFCOM 4, which is a surgical procedure where they cut the tendons between the affected toes to allow more mobility and give the pissed off nerves some room. Other options are steroidal injections(hopefully reduce size), removing the nerve (DEFCOM 5) NO FEELING, and of course, buying wider/longer shoes.

Oct. 28, 2010, 08:39 AM
Most commonly the problem shows up when you walk around without a lot of arch support on hard surfaces. Your second long FREAK toe takes over the job MR Big Toe was supposed to do.

Interseting you mention this LS because the one (out of the two) only paddock shoes I can wear is the cheapie $100 Ariats because they DON'T have any arch support!!

Oct. 28, 2010, 04:23 PM
Most Ankle supported shoes, boots do end up costing more3 unfortunately but, I think it really pays off it's better then having a sprained ankle and making it worse.

Oct. 29, 2010, 01:45 AM
Thanks to the informative posts about Morton's Neuroma I can finally put a name to the problem. Sadly I have stopped riding because of the pain (between 3rd + 4th digits in left foot only). Can only comfortably wear running shoes but it all started with field boots...

medical mike
Oct. 29, 2010, 09:53 PM
You should see a physician and or rehab professional. The brief history provided suggests several problems.

A thorough evaluation is needed to get at root of the problem.

I would suggest though finding someone well versed in equestrian sports or at least has a deep sports background.

Medical Mike
equestrian medical researcher

Nov. 1, 2010, 12:10 AM
That's so interesting. This has been happening to me for years and just thought I was weird! For me though, my entire legs go numb and can't feel a thing below the waist...makes it a bit challenging :) I talked to my doctor and she said that it was probably a pinched nerve and to try wearing looser pants at the waist. This helps some, but I still have issues occasionally.

Nov. 1, 2010, 09:16 AM
Go to a foot doctor, it sounds like "hammer toe" to me. It can be fixed. Good luck