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Numb Toes

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What are Numb toes?

This is when you loose the sensation in your toes and it is a condition that is abnormal. Numb toes can be experienced in just one toe or all of your toes. It is a discomforting condition and could make it hard for a person to get up and walk around. Numb toes can be just a temporary annoyance or it could be a symptom of a serious medical condition.

Numb toes Symptoms

Numb toes may happen with other symptoms such as if you have broken a toe or toes, you could also experience swelling and severe pain. Here are some of the other symptoms you may experience with numb toes.

  • A burning feeling
  • Anxiety
  • Frequent urination
  • When walking increased pain, toe numbness, or tingling.
  • Itchiness
  • Pain in your lower back
  • Muscle spasms
  • Rash
  • Having a prickling or pins-and-needles feelings.
  • Being sensitive to touch
  • Pain in the toes(s)

Symptoms that could indicate a condition that is life threatening

If you experience any of these symptoms you should get immediate help.

  • Loss of consciousness or confusion even for just a few seconds.
  • Having difficulty breathing.
  • Having difficulty walking.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control.
  • Dizziness
  • Speech that is slurred
  • Paralysis
  • Following a back injury you experience numb toes.
  • Loss of strength or weakness.

Causes of Numb toes

Numb toes caused by circulatory problems

Having numb toes can be a symptom of many different conditions, disorders, or diseases that cause injury or restrict the blood flow to the nerves in your toes. Some of them include:

  • Having a tangled knot of veins and arteries called Arteriovenous malformation.
  • Having acute clotting and inflammation of veins and arteries called Buerger’s disease.
  • Having a blood clot in your leg that can break loose and cause a heart attack or pulmonary embolism in your lung called deep vein thrombosis. It could even cause a stroke.
  • Extremely cold temperatures or frostbite.
  • Having a narrowing of your arteries because of a buildup of cholesterol and fat on the walls of your arteries called Peripheral artery disease or Peripheral vascular disease.
  • Sitting in one position for a long period of time such as sitting cross-legged.

Numb toes caused by orthopedic problems

This could be caused by orthopedic conditions that range from moderate to serious and damage or injure the nerves. These may include:

  • Back injury
  • Toe or joint of the toe is fractured, dislocated, or broken.
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Nerve pressure or entrapment that can happen because of shoes that are tight fitting.
  • Herniated disk
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bunions which is a deformity that affects your large toe caused by wearing shoes that squeeze all your toes tightly together. This cause mostly affects women because of wearing very high heels.
  • Having high arches or flat feet which could put stress on your toes when walking.

Numb toes caused by neurological problems

This could be caused by nerve damage or compression and may include:

  • Nerve damage due to blood sugar levels that are high called diabetic neuropathy.
  • Alcoholism
  • Any heavy metal poisoning like lead poisoning.
  • Having an under active thyroid called hypothyroidism.
  • Having the disease that affects your spinal cord and brain called multiple sclerosis.
  • Having a neuroma in your toe which is the unnatural growth of a nerve.
  • Having a disorder of the peripheral nerves called peripheral neuropathy.
  • Spinal cord tumor or injury
  • Stroke
  • Having a disorder which your body attacks its own healthy tissues and cells called systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Having a neurological disorder that causes the inflammation of your spinal cord called transverse myelitis.
  • Having a deficiency of vitamin B12.
  • Having restless leg syndrome which is when you have an urge to move your body to stop odd sensations.

Numb toes Treatment

Before you can start any treatment you need to know what the underlying cause is to ensure you are getting the proper treatment.

  • If it is due to the footwear you are wearing, change to footwear that is more comfortable and fits better.
  • If it is due to flat feet or having a high arch you should talk to a podiatrist to find out which you have. The podiatrist may prescribe orthopedic supports to help with is the problem and can also suggest the right type of footwear you should wear.
  • If it is from a medical condition you need to talk to your physician and get on the right medication and treatment for the condition such as if it is due to diabetes, then your physician would address that medical condition with medication, healthy diet, etc.
  • Massages and physical therapy
  • If you are working in a job that requires a lot of sitting, get up and move around occasionally.

If the numb toes continues for several days or appears to get worse you need to talk to your physician to find out the cause.


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