Your feet rely on a sense of touch to pull away from hot surfaces and to navigate changing terrain. But if you experience numbness in your foot, you may have little to no sensation in your foot.
Numbness or tingling is an unpleasant sensation in which there is reduced or absent feeling in the skin or a “pins and needles” sensation.
Numbness in your foot may be a temporary condition or it can be the result of a chronic condition, such as diabetes. The symptom can also be progressive. You may begin to lose some sensation in your foot then slowly lose more and more feeling as time goes on. Seeking medical advice for numbness in your foot may help slow or delay its progress.
What are the symptoms of numbness in your foot?
The chief symptom for numbness in your foot is losing sensation in your foot. This affects your sense of touch and balance because you can’t feel your foot’s position against the ground.
While sensation loss is the main symptom of numbness in your foot, you may experience some additional, abnormal sensations. These include:
• pins-and-needles sensation
• weak-feeling foot or feet
These additional symptoms can help your doctor diagnose what’s causing the numbness in your foot.
What causes numbness in your foot?
Your body is a complex network of nerves that travel from the tips of your toes and fingers to your brain and back again. If you experience damage, a blockage, infection, or compression of a nerve that travels to the foot, you may experience numbness in your foot.
When do I seek medical help for numbness in my foot?
Numbness in your foot that occurs suddenly and with other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, can be cause for concern.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms as well as numbness in your foot:
• difficulty talking
• loss of bladder or bowel control
• numbness that begins in a matter of minutes or hours
• numbness that involves multiple parts of the body
• numbness that occurs after a head injury
• severe headache
• trouble breathing
What are the potential causes of numbness in legs and feet?
Numbness or tingling in the feet and legs could be due to a variety of conditions. These include:
• diabetic peripheral neuropathy (MOST common)
• spinal injuries or pressure on the nerves
• multiple sclerosis
• tarsal tunnel syndrome
• peripheral artery disease
• stroke or transient ischemic attack
How is numbness in the legs and feet treated?
In many cases of numbness and tingling in the legs and feet, treating the underlying cause is key to relieving this symptom.
For example, if diabetes is the cause of your neuropathy, managing your blood sugar levels is an important step to take to avoid further damage.
If you develop recurring numbness or tingling in your legs or feet, talk with your doctor about the possible causes and treatments. Addressing chronic issues can take time, though. Your doctor can offer some things to help reduce discomfort from numbness and tingling while you work on bigger problems.
Please keep in mind that this guide is not intended to replace a face-to-face evaluation with your doctor. The goal of this guide is to provide information while awaiting evaluation with your doctor.
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