View Full Version : Foot pain on elliptical

Bad JuJu
01-17-2008, 07:37 AM
I just started working out on the elliptical trainer at our gym on campus. I guess I've been living in a cave because I'd never tried one of these puppies before. I love the benefit of getting a good workout, getting my heart rate up where it needs to be, some weight-bearing, but no impact.

BUT, after about 15 minutes (I do a total of 30), the soles of my feet start to hurt something awful. Not bad enough that I have to stop, but almost. My shoes are neither brand new nor old and beat-up, so I don't think they're the problem. Has anyone else encountered this issue when beginning to use the elliptical trainer?

01-17-2008, 08:32 AM
Can you elaborate the type of pain? Is it the hotspotty, soon-to-be-blistering type of pain? Or is it an aching in all the muscles of your foot? Or is it in a particular area of the foot?


01-17-2008, 09:13 AM
Is it a burning sensation (plantar fasciitis)?
Try different foot positions, like standing on your toes for a bit to give yourself a little calf workout.
Another good position is to lower your butt down as if you were sitting in a chair.

Bad JuJu
01-18-2008, 06:37 AM
It just seems to be general pain through the sole of my foot, and now that you ask, I think there is a burning sensation, so plantar fasciitis, which hadn't occurred to me, might be it.

I'll try to different foot and body positions--thanks for the tips, Zen!

Or maybe I'm just a weenie and need to spend some time toughening up.:D

01-18-2008, 03:25 PM
I get some of that, and one of the other instructors at my gym actually has her feet go numb on the elliptical.

I loathe cardio machines anyway, but it seems like ellipticals have some particular issues, in that your entire soles are weight-bearing throughout the stroke, and the pedals are set unnaturally wide apart, which stresses your knees.

Try an old-fashioned stair climber, maybe.

01-18-2008, 06:44 PM
My plantar fascitis acts up on the elliptical, but that's a soreness in the arch of my foot. My PT suggested stretching my calf muscles before getting on the elliptical and that seems to help (my plantar fascitis is symptomatic of really tight calf muscles and achilles tendonitis, lots of stretching and I'm all better). My feet also go numb if I'm on the machine for too long without making a concerted effort to move my foot position around.

Finally, the soles of my feet burn (again if I don't make an effort to move my feet around) sometimes, but I think that tends to be related to ill-fitting shoes or socks. Like, if I don't tie the laces tight enough.

I don't know if any of that helps, but I'm a regular elliptical user so I've pretty much figured out how to mostly fix whatever hurts over time.

Running Mommy
01-18-2008, 06:50 PM
I always had problems on the elip as well. Finally I decided it just wasn't worth it anymore... sigh..:confused:

01-18-2008, 06:54 PM
Ellipticals are job security for me. ;)

Keep ridin' em, kids, then come to me when you are damaged!

01-18-2008, 08:22 PM
Why're they bad? Or good, as the case may be?

01-18-2008, 08:47 PM
They cause all kinds of interesting problems. Seems like every other athletic patient I get has been injured by an elliptical. (mind you, I only see *injured* people, so my worldview is very biased)

Ride carefully, ladies.

01-18-2008, 10:09 PM
They cause all kinds of interesting problems.

How could they possibly cause problems? No impact and a simple circular motion. Sounds good in theory, right?
Possibly a user having an existing imbalance that exacerbates the condition and affects the rest of the chain?

Enlighten me, I'm waning gibbous.

01-19-2008, 05:38 AM
Foot and knee problems, mostly. Some upper back problems caused by "hanging" on the handle so they can whirl their feet really fast and feel like it's a good workout.

I ask my "it hurts every time I use the elliptical" folks to try riding a bike instead. But no, bikes are boring or bikes don't burn enough calories.

01-19-2008, 06:15 PM
the problem might not lie with the elliptical itself, but rather with the type of person who chooses to use an elliptical. I know at my gym, folks who use the ellipticals seems to do all kinds of crazy things -- leaning on the handles too much, "riding" them backwards, spinning super-fast, doing them on their toes or heels, reading a magazine or watching television rather than focusing on form. and none of these folks seems to be the most fit either, so I might assume they're already pre-disposed to certain injury types. just a thought.

short cut sally
01-21-2008, 06:01 AM
I have the same problem Juju with my elliptical. My feet almost burn or hurt, it is so bad some times that I can't decide which it is. I would prefer to do my time on the machine all at once but I've had to break it up some. Ive tried all different sneakers and found that I can stay on the longest if I change to a pair of nursing clogs that I wear for good things, like going to the mall, etc. I've tried calling Nordic Trak about this and if I chose to replace my peddals with a more cushioned bed it was going to be like 150.00 plus an outragous ship/handling fee. I have yet to find something to replace the foot bed with as of yet. I am slowly getting so the pain is outweighing the benefit and my elliptical could fall in a heap and I would't shed a tear. I would cry over the amount of money that was invested but not over the piece of equipment. I can go from my treadmill to the elliptical and back to the treadmill (of course, changing shoes each time) and not experience any further pain once I am off the elliptical. I do not lean on the handles at all, I find it awkward, and I do not use the arm lever things either that move. Neither one is comfortable to me.

Running Mommy
01-21-2008, 12:24 PM
I think (and this is my TOTALLY unscientific WAG) that for some people the pedals on the elip's are spaced too far apart and may be throwing their hips and/or knee alignments out of whack. I know I've been on a couple of them where I felt like I was straddling a horse.
But like I said, just a WAG.
All I know is I steer clear of them!

01-21-2008, 12:27 PM
There are two different styles at my gym, the "old" ones and the "new" ones.
I don't use the new ones, the platforms are too far apart,they just don't feel right.

01-21-2008, 03:39 PM
I suffer the same foot pain on this machine too. My pt also said that they cause problems for lots of people...said something about not being able to adjust the stride length...

Must admit that I still use them at least three times a week...I must love pain. I mix it up with the stair climber and bikes too.