Foot numbness might be a brief condition or an outcome of a chronic disorder such as diabetes. Remember that this symptom can be progressive in which one will start to lose a certain degree of sensation in the foot and slowly lose more over time. It is vital to seek medical care to slow down or delay its progression.
Indications of foot numbness
The main symptom of foot numbness is the loss of sensation in the foot. This can affect the sense of touch and balance since the individual could not feel its position against the ground.
Even though the loss of sensation is the main symptom, other unusual sensations can also be felt such as prickling, tingling, weak feeling or pins-and-needles sensation.
These additional symptoms can be used by the doctor to diagnose the exact cause of the foot numbness.
What are the causes?
It is important to note that the body is comprised of a complex network of nerves travelling from the tips of the toes and fingers up to the back and brain. If there is damage, infection, blockage or compression of a nerve travelling to the foot, it leads to foot numbness.
Some of the medical conditions that can cause foot numbness include:
- Alcoholism or chronic alcohol abuse
- Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy
- Lyme disease
- Herniated disc
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
An individual might also experience foot numbness after extended periods of being seated. The loss of sensation often occurs since the nerves travelling to the foot are crushed while sitting. Upon standing up, the flow of blood returns and the foot feels as if it is numb. The pins-and-needles sensation typically follows before the circulation and sensation returns to the foot.
When to seek medical care
Foot numbness that occurs without warning along with other symptoms such as difficulty breathing is an issue for concern. It is best to seek medical care if the following are present:
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Intense headache
- An episode occurs after sustaining a head injury
- Numbness that starts in minutes or hours or involves several parts of the body
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
The management for foot numbness is vital due to the lack of sensation that increases the risk for trips, wounds and falls. An individual might end up with an injury without even knowing if he/she could not sense the foot. Remember that the wound might not properly heal as rapidly if there is diminished circulation. The treatment of the underlying condition can control the symptoms.