Why are my toes numb

Why are my toes numb?

Your toes may feel numb when you perform physical activities. It can also be from a serious health condition. Toe numbness is when you do not feel any sensation in your toe. You may sometimes feel a tingle or burning sensation in your toes. 

Toe numbness can sometimes be mild or severe. In mild cases, toe numbness can go away on its own. Serious cases can affect your ability to walk and can possibly lead to injuries you might not know of. In this article you will get to know why your toes are numb, what causes this condition and whether it can be treated.

What is toe numbness

This condition occurs when pressure is put on the nerves or blood vessels located in the foot. When this happens, sensation in your toes is affected. This causes an absence of feeling in your toes or a tingling or burning sensation in your toes. Difficulty in walking or pains are some consequences of toe numbness. 

Your toes being numb can either be temporary or chronic (severe or long term). With mild cases of toe numbness, you do not need to worry; It usually goes away on its own. However, with chronic cases of toe numbness, there is cause for concern. Chronic cases of toe numbness can lead to difficulty in walking or even injuries.

What are the symptoms of toe numbness?

Aside from your toe being numb, you can experience the following symptoms

  • Reduction in your ability to feel the ground with your toes
  • A tingling sensation in your legs or toes
  • A pins-and-needles feeling in your toes

What can cause my toes to become numb?

There are many causes of toe numbness. Here are a few of them;

Diabetes 

Nerve damage can cause your toe or toes to become numb. Diabetes can cause your toe or toes to become numb since high blood sugar can cause the nerves to become damaged. If left untreated, it could lead to serious complications which can result in amputation.

Aside from this, you can also experience fatigue, blurred vision, urge to urinate often and bruises. It is recommended that you check your blood sugar to see if diabetes might be the cause of the numbness in your toes. When this is done, you can prevent other serious issues.

Tight footwear

Toe numbness can be caused from wearing tight footwear. Tight shoes can cut off blood circulation in the toes which can cause tingling and numbness. Also wearing a tight cast can also block or interfere with blood circulation in the toes.

It is important to make sure that you know the proper size and width of your foot to choose the best footwear for yourself. For a person who needs a cast as a result of a foot injury, they should make sure that the cast placed on them should not be too tight so that they can feel their toes.  

Serious Exercise 

Engaging in serious exercises or physical activities such as running or walking for long periods can easily cause numbness in your toes and feet. The physical activities put pressure on the nerves located around your foot. This then leads to your toes being numb.

Wearing proper footwear can reduce the chances of getting numbness from your physical activities. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends replacing walking shoes every 300–500 miles or before they start to look worn.

Exposure to cold

Cold weather can make your feet or toes become numb. Being exposed to cold for a long period can lead to frostbite. This is a type of injury in which extreme cold damages the skin and the tissues beneath it.

This can cause permanent physical damage and might even lead to amputation. It is not advisable to go barefooted in a cold environment. You should wear thick socks, slippers or any kind of footwear when you find yourself in a cold environment.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

This happens when a person’s blood vessels react too strongly to stress or cold. This condition usually affects the blood vessels in the fingers and toes resulting in numbness, a tingling sensation and also change in skin color (usually a pale or blue color).

People with Raynaud’s phenomenon can keep their body warm to help prevent the symptoms. Medication can also help with this condition.

Morton’s neuroma

This is thickening of the tissues around one of the nerves in the ball of the foot. It can cause burning and numbness in the feet and toes. It may also feel like there is a pebble or other object under the foot. For people who engage in high impact sports, taking a break can also help treat Morton’s neuroma.

How is toe numbness diagnosed?

Toe numbness can be diagnosed by a doctor through the use of your medical history and symptoms. A physical examination can also be conducted. Your doctor can perform a foot exam if your symptoms seem to be concentrated in the feet themselves. 

This includes testing your abilities to sense temperature and other sensations in the feet. Electromyography, a test that determines how muscles respond to electrical stimulation can also be used to diagnose toe numbness

Other tests like nerve conduction studies can be used to detect how well the electric current is transmitted through the nerves.

How to treat numbness of the toes

Treatment for toe numbness depends on its underlying cause. 

If your toe numbness is caused by diabetes, medications and treatments that will reduce your blood sugar levels or keep them at appropriate levels will be used to treat toe numbness. Increasing your physical activity and paying careful attention to your diet can also help.

If toe numbness is caused by foot compression, changing your footwear can help treat numbness in your toe or toes. 

Also, If the numbness is related to alcohol, you should stop drinking and begin taking a multivitamin.

The takeaway from this article

Toe numbness can either be mild or severe. If you are suffering from a mild case, then you shouldn’t worry; It will likely go away on its own. However, chronic cases can lead to serious complications. It is best to know the exact cause before you can treat it.

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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