Why do my toes feel numb?

Written by megan smith
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Why do my toes feel numb?
(RBerteig/Flickr.com)

Numbness in the toes can occur due to poor circulation in the feet. If you can pinpoint whether your toes are constantly numb, or they are only numb after wearing particular shoes or walking long distances, you can determine whether your footwear is too tight, or if the circulation in your toes is being cut off due to the way you walk. Poor circulation can also be caused by medical disorders such as diabetes, which can lead to numbness in the toes. To prevent numbness in the toes, try flexing your toes and holding this position for 10 seconds, then pointing your toes and staying in this position for 10 seconds.

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Circulation

Numbness in the toes can occur due to poor circulation in the feet. If you can pinpoint whether your toes are constantly numb, or they are only numb after wearing particular shoes or walking long distances, you can determine whether your footwear is too tight, or if the circulation in your toes is being cut off due to the way you walk. Poor circulation can also be caused by medical disorders such as diabetes, which can lead to numbness in the toes. To prevent numbness in the toes, try flexing your toes and holding this position for 10 seconds, then pointing your toes and staying in this position for 10 seconds.

Injury

Toe numbness can occur due to a sprain or break in the toe. If you are having trouble moving your toe, or your toe becomes excessively bruised, you have most likely broken your toe. Although some people do not get medical attention when they break a toe and simply tape it up themselves, it is important to get your toe examined by a doctor if it is broken. If your toe feels numb with some pain, but you are still able to walk on it, you have most likely sprained your toe. Treat the injury with ice for 15 minutes every hour, and avoid walking on the injured foot. See a doctor if symptoms persist for longer than a week.

Cold Weather

Cold weather can cause toes to feel numb due to blood vessels restricting in the toes. The extremities may feel more numb than the torso or legs because there are fewer blood vessels in the fingers and toes and they can all constrict quickly because they are farthest away from the heart. Numbness in the toes due to cold weather can be severe if frostbite occurs. To prevent frostbite, wear thick socks and waterproof boots when going outside in the snow and in below-freezing temperatures.

When to See a Doctor

There are a variety of other reasons why your toes may feel numb, including multiple sclerosis, Raynaud's disease, leprosy, sciatic nerve pain and vasculitis. If you are suffering from nerve damage or any disease that causes nerve damage, contact your doctor immediately. Otherwise, if you are suffering from no serious ailments, have not been exposed to extreme cold, and you can still walk on your foot, wait one week to see if the numbness still occurs. If after one week, you are still experiencing numbness in your toes, call your foot doctor or general practitioner.

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