Ask the Podiatrist: Why Are My Feet Numb and Tingly?
Most of us have experienced a numb foot at one time or another, often referred to as a “pins and needles” sensation. These feelings often occur as a result of remaining in the same place for an extended period of time, or sleeping in a way that reduces blood flow to the affected area.
Generally, with symptoms such as these, normal sensation typically returns without any issues. If you’re experiencing prolonged numbness or tingling in your feet frequently, it’s time to visit Kansas City Foot Specialists. We’ve compiled a list of more serious conditions that can be indicated by common foot tingling and/or numbness.
Neuromas Cause Pain & Tingling
A Neuroma is often referred to as a “pinched nerve” due to the pain similarities, but in actuality, it’s a growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. Although there are a variety of possible causes of neuromas, they are most commonly caused by abnormal movements of the long bones behind your toes (metatarsals), often caused by wearing tight or improperly fitting shoes, which can pinch the nerves. While there are several at-home treatments designed to temporarily treat symptoms of neuromas, we highly suggest contacting the expert podiatrists at KC Foot Specialists for a proper evaluation.
Peripheral Neuropathy Is Usually Due to Injury
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs when there is damage to the communication network (peripheral nervous system) that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. While diabetes is the most common cause of nerve injury, physical injury can also be associated with this condition. Diabetes is one of the largest contributing factors that leads to peripheral neuropathology. Since diabetes can reduce blood flow to parts of your body, those parts are deprived of oxygen and nutrients, leading to nerve damage. The first step in treating peripheral neuropathy is visiting a specialist to identify any contributing causes and correcting them, which often results in the issue resolving on its own and the nerves recovering or regenerating.
Multiple Sclerosis Can Cause Numbness in Hands, Legs & Feet
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive “immune-mediated” disorder, meaning that the systems in your body designed to keep you healthy mistakenly attack other vital parts of your body. While a condition such as MS typically makes itself well known, numbness and tingling in the hands, legs, or feet is the most common early symptom. Although the cause of MS remains unknown, researchers have discovered that the nerve damage is caused by dangerous inflammation. Your expert podiatrist will be able to determine if the frequent tingling and numbness that you’re experiencing is related to this dangerous disorder.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Can Be a Contributor
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is similar to the carpal tunnel syndrome that affects hands and wrists. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the nerve that runs from the lower leg into the foot is damaged either as a result of injury or consistent pressure on the nerve over time. As the damage worsens, numbness and tingling can occur. The most common cause of tarsal tunnel syndrome is a flat foot, or a foot with a flattened arch. A clear diagnosis can be made with a physical exam done by your expert podiatrist.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Causes Poor Circulation in Legs
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a cardiovascular disorder caused by a blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the legs when fatty deposits (plaque) builds up. This buildup causes the arteries to harden and narrow (atherosclerosis), resulting in poor blood circulation to the legs and feet. Early detection of PAD can offer an opportunity to treat risk factors that can slow the progression of the disease and decrease the chance of heart attack and stroke. Discuss any leg or foot pain that your are having with your podiatric physician since it could be a warning sign of a serious disease.
Herniated Disks Cause Leg and Feet Tingling or Numbness
A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine. While a herniated disk is a spinal disorder, it often reveals itself through consistent leg and foot pain, tingling, or numbness. Disk herniation is most often the result of a gradual wear and tear called disk degeneration. In most cases, a physical exam and a medical history are all that’s needed to make an accurate diagnosis.