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Toes go numb while riding

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    Toes go numb while riding

    When I ride for an hour or so, my toes go numb—starting with the pinkie toe and if I continue riding progressing to at least my 3rd toe. I do have neuropathy in my feet from chemo as well. I haven’t noticed a difference in saddle or stirrups—I’ve used a Wintec (my fav) with peacock stirrups, a Thorowgood with standard stirrups, & an Australian with western style stirrups (plastic—ugh). I’ve been trying to work on keeping my feet centered in my stirrups since my feet do tend to slip or turn to press against the outer edge of the stirrup. The stirrups I’m using now are peacock ones that are considerably wider than my standard stirrups. My left knee is troublesome too, but I don’t think it is causing this problem. I’m riding a fairly green Curly mare with my daughter on her Curly and my son on a 4-Wheeler. It is our almost daily activity together. Anyway, short of cutting our rides shorter, what suggestions can you give me?

    #2
    What happens if you just hop off after 45 minutes and walk around for 5 minutes, get back on?

    Comment


      #3
      The numb toes thing used to happen to me often when snow skiing -- especially on black diamond slopes or those with loads of difficult moguls. Not caused by cold-- it happened because I was unconsciously 'gripping' with my toes. A sports physiotherapist told me that.

      Remedy was to wriggle my toes a lot (while skiing) in order to keep them relaxed and to keep me conscious of 'not' gripping. Worked! No more numb toes.

      Since you are riding a green-ish mare, perhaps you are unconsciously gripping in order to help yourself stay safe, have a better seat, etc. etc -- same as with me 'gripping' to ski more expertly.

      Truth be told I've gotten numb toes while riding difficult horses -- caused by toe-gripping which can also cause unwanted tension in other parts of the leg.

      Comment


        #4
        My toes stopped going numb when I started wearing high top men’s basketball tennis shoes. High tops because they look a lot better than ankle cut men’s basketball shoes on a woman, and because we did a lot of bushwhacking and they saved my ankles

        if your hips are also going numb, I might think about seeing a quality chiropractor. They are not created equal.

        Comment


          #5
          Posting and 2 point, or anything like that that engages your lower leg. Frequent changes in bend, circles, and even little bits of leg yield. The objective is to get a lot of pressure changes between your foot and the stirrup. It keeps the blood pumping through. danacat's advice is good too. Do you tend to get dehydrated or slightly anemic? Keeping track of those two things may help too.

          Comment


            #6
            Ride in something like terrains that give your foot a lot of room and support. Use wide bed stirrups with a cage or tapaderos so you can have your foot fully in your stirrup safely. See if you can lengthen your stirrups. You may be pushing into them the whole ride cutting off circulation.

            Throughout the ride scrunch up your toes and release them to help make sure you aren’t clutching them in during your ride.

            I also like to drop my stirrups every 20ish minutes to do foot circles and swing my legs a bit to release any hip tension.

            Comment


              #7
              When I had that problem, I got relief by using the jointed/flexible stirrups. I would suggest trying something like that - or a stirrup with a swivel or angle in the leather connection so that the tread can lay flat against the bottom of your foot.

              You can also try riding in a longer stirrup and see if you get the support you need without the numbness.
              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                When I had that problem, I got relief by using the jointed/flexible stirrups. I would suggest trying something like that - or a stirrup with a swivel or angle in the leather connection so that the tread can lay flat against the bottom of your foot.

                You can also try riding in a longer stirrup and see if you get the support you need without the numbness.
                Good point! I forgot my setup also uses stirrup turners. I’ll try to get a pic of my dressage saddle setup next ride

                Comment

                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for all the suggestions!

                  @scribbler—if I get off and walk around a bit I stumble round for a while, but eventually get most of the feeling back into my toes. However, the feeling is kind of like the feeling you have when you’re foot is asleep, but it isn’t hurting, just feeling weird (if that makes any sense at all).i think that is due to the ongoing neuropathy in my toes/feel though.

                  @danacat—I do tend to clench my toes. I have been trying to consciously unclench them, but perhaps I’m not doing it often enough.

                  @walkinthewalk—I’m wearing non-traditional shoes already. I ride in Keen sandals often at this time. My old Ac,e lace-up boots don’t do me any extra favors when riding either. I actually started riding in the Keens because I was hoping the wider footbed would help.

                  @strangewings—I usually do ride in 2-point (too much according to my horse’s sweat patterns) and consistently post at the trot.i try to make sure I’m not posting with my feet, but I probably am.

                  @ponycatraz—I definitely need to clench & unclench my toes throughout the ride. I’m still kind of a chicken with this horse and being without stirrups, I will try to lower my stirrups a notch too.

                  @poltroon—I think I might look into a stir up turner or swivel stirrup. However, I just got these stirrups & they’re *pretty*! They’re rainbow titanium peacock safety stirrups.

                  Thanks again everyone.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Your feet go numb because you are keeping too much pressure on the stirrup. This typically happens when you have a saddle balance (front to back) problem. Meaning the sitting surface of your saddle is not allowing you to sit in a neutral balanced position without having to use your feet and legs to support yourself. Your picture is not a very good one, but your pelvis does appear to be tilted forward. You can check this out by making adjustments to the back/front balance and finding the sweet spot. Buying ever more expensive stirrups will not help.
                    ... _. ._ .._. .._

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Peripheral Neuropathy will make you feel less steady on your feet and could cause you to brace in the stirrups. I would suggest dismounting before the 1 hour mark and walking for 5 minutes. This is useful for people who get back and hip pain as well. I also agree that I am in much more overall discomfort after a ride that makes me clench up than one that I can ride relaxed in. You could also try riding without stirrups at the walk whenever that feels safe.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Sorry it took so long for the pictures!

                        I had knee pain and numb toes with this saddle until I did some modifications. Thick sheepskin to help absorb the bounce, Webber style stirrup leathers to remove the buckle lump under my thigh, stirrup turners to take pressure off my knees, and e-z ride stirrups with tapaderos.

                        The cage/tapaderos help me feel comfortable putting my foot far enough into the stirrup so that I’m Not putting weight onto my toes.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I've been having this problem, but only on one horse. My boots, socks, etc., stay the same between her and other horses, and I have similar length rides. So I know it is her or her tack.

                          1) She is by far the most overly dramatic and I do clench my toes.
                          2) She likes to play "your leg is lava", we're working on that but since I don't want to die I do spend a lot of time holding my lower leg off.
                          3) I tend to end up with my lower leg swinging forward. I think this is more from bracing with my knees than the saddle being wrong, but I haven't used the saddle separately to verify.

                          I have been dealing with it by consciously trying to swing my leg back under me and lift my toes (you know, "ride like you're supposed to", haha)...which pretty much seems to work, but I have to be constantly correcting.

                          Also, she is astonishingly exhausting to ride considering that she responds immediately to the slightest aid (just sometimes by hurling herself backwards or sideways because you dared to ask her to walk slightly slower).

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Gamma View Post
                            I've been having this problem, but only on one horse. My boots, socks, etc., stay the same between her and other horses, and I have similar length rides. So I know it is her or her tack.

                            1) She is by far the most overly dramatic and I do clench my toes.
                            2) She likes to play "your leg is lava", we're working on that but since I don't want to die I do spend a lot of time holding my lower leg off.
                            3) I tend to end up with my lower leg swinging forward. I think this is more from bracing with my knees than the saddle being wrong, but I haven't used the saddle separately to verify.

                            I have been dealing with it by consciously trying to swing my leg back under me and lift my toes (you know, "ride like you're supposed to", haha)...which pretty much seems to work, but I have to be constantly correcting.

                            Also, she is astonishingly exhausting to ride considering that she responds immediately to the slightest aid (just sometimes by hurling herself backwards or sideways because you dared to ask her to walk slightly slower).
                            You could be describing my horse! She’s young and *very* ‘sensitive’. My daughter’s horse is a good 6” shorter, so I have to try to slow my horse to accommodate her. I don’t think my girl has been introduced to changes of speed within the same gait. She’s very good, but I tend to ride her very cautiously...so I’m probably bracing.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Gamma View Post
                              I've been having this problem, but only on one horse. My boots, socks, etc., stay the same between her and other horses, and I have similar length rides. So I know it is her or her tack.

                              1) She is by far the most overly dramatic and I do clench my toes.
                              2) She likes to play "your leg is lava", we're working on that but since I don't want to die I do spend a lot of time holding my lower leg off.
                              3) I tend to end up with my lower leg swinging forward. I think this is more from bracing with my knees than the saddle being wrong, but I haven't used the saddle separately to verify.

                              I have been dealing with it by consciously trying to swing my leg back under me and lift my toes (you know, "ride like you're supposed to", haha)...which pretty much seems to work, but I have to be constantly correcting.

                              Also, she is astonishingly exhausting to ride considering that she responds immediately to the slightest aid (just sometimes by hurling herself backwards or sideways because you dared to ask her to walk slightly slower).
                              If your saddle was balanced properly, you would be able to relax in a neutral position and let your leg "hang" until you needed it.
                              ... _. ._ .._. .._

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Equibrit View Post

                                If your saddle was balanced properly, you would be able to relax in a neutral position and let your leg "hang" until you needed it.
                                It's not impossible that it's the saddle, it just doesn't have the obviously unbalanced feeling compared to other unbalanced saddles that I've felt.

                                But I really never relax while riding this particular mare, see: don't want to die. What I would call a "softly draped leg at rest" on another horse is (by her reaction) equivalent to the working student coming up from behind with the lunge whip. I'm working on it every ride, but it's not at the point of relaxing yet. (We're also still only doing very short trots broken up by lots of walking to let the brain recharge from the excitement. Canter is not even a thing yet. It's not like she even has an excuse of being a baby, by her teeth she is mid teens, she just only has buttons for "go faster" and "freak out".)


                                ​​​

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  if you have CIPN you might want to talk to your doctor about getting with a PT who can offer some insight and exercises that can help with your particular issue. Localized muscle relaxation techniques might help both while mounted and during the day. Could it be possible that you are having a progression of other issue like arthritis or fibroids that is stacking on your previous neuropathy? If you are experiencing a worsening of previous neuropath, it may now be more than one issue.

                                  _\\]
                                  -- * > hoopoe
                                  Procrastinate NOW
                                  Introverted Since 1957

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Gamma View Post

                                    It's not impossible that it's the saddle, it just doesn't have the obviously unbalanced feeling compared to other unbalanced saddles that I've felt.

                                    But I really never relax while riding this particular mare, see: don't want to die. What I would call a "softly draped leg at rest" on another horse is (by her reaction) equivalent to the working student coming up from behind with the lunge whip. I'm working on it every ride, but it's not at the point of relaxing yet. (We're also still only doing very short trots broken up by lots of walking to let the brain recharge from the excitement. Canter is not even a thing yet. It's not like she even has an excuse of being a baby, by her teeth she is mid teens, she just only has buttons for "go faster" and "freak out".)


                                    ​​​
                                    You probably cannot tell if the saddle is balanced or not until you find the sweet spot. Why not experiment with the saddle balance and see if it makes a difference. Your lack of relaxation may affect your horse's attitude too.
                                    ... _. ._ .._. .._

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
                                      if you have CIPN you might want to talk to your doctor about getting with a PT who can offer some insight and exercises that can help with your particular issue. Localized muscle relaxation techniques might help both while mounted and during the day. Could it be possible that you are having a progression of other issue like arthritis or fibroids that is stacking on your previous neuropathy? If you are experiencing a worsening of previous neuropath, it may now be more than one issue.
                                      I did PT for close to 3 years on & off, but we never really addressed my feet. I’m taking some medication that helps with the neuropathy, but it doesn’t fix it or cure it. I might as my oncologist to suggest someone for PT for me feet. The biggest issue I run into when looking for PT or sports medicine in my area is that so many people don’t know *anything* about riding horses, even though I supposedly live in the horse-capital of the US (KY). Even when I had an Olympic team (skiing, I think, of all things) orthopedist do knee surgery on me in the heart of horse-country she did not realize the pressures and angles demanded of riding compared to more ‘normal’ exercise (running, dancing, walking, etc). Of course, she also told me that I’d be best advised to give up low hurdles (300-400m track & field hurdles—I had full-ride scholarships based on that) and competitive running at all based on the damage I’d already done to my knee before I was 18 years old.

                                      I think I’m just going to have to come to terms (again) with the fact that my body is not well-designed to take the contortions required for riding (even just recreationally) without serious issues of ‘soundness’. I’m just grateful my green-bean mare is very mild-mannered even when she’s ready to go-go-go. She’s eventually going to be my daughter’s ride when she’s not so green as to make green-on-green=black & blue. Then I’ll be back to riding the pony (13-2 HH) & looking into harness training her.

                                      Thanks for the suggestion though. I will definitely bring it up to both my oncologist (for a referral for PT) & my neurologist (just to maybe check that I don’t have further compromised circulation or nerves in my legs/feet).
                                      Attached Files

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                                        #20
                                        I think it is wise to check in and make sure there is not a secondary issue piling on top of the neuropathy that pre-exists.

                                        I have learned a lot over the last few years with my own issues with injuries and with large fibroid issues. My fibroids ( which were outside the uterus) cause radiating pain down the buttocks and femur. Pelvic floor muscle issues made for overall lower body pain. Now progressing arthritis in my foot is continuing to cause nerve discomfort..

                                        I am not liking "the new me" that this decade of life is bringing. I have consumed more medical care in the last two years than in the previous 20

                                        I am wishing you well in getting to a better, happier place
                                        _\\]
                                        -- * > hoopoe
                                        Procrastinate NOW
                                        Introverted Since 1957

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