What Causes Foot Numbness?

A person may feel their foot become numb due to the way they’ve been sitting. Yet, long-term numbness may indicate an underlying medical condition.

In this article, we’ll cover the symptoms and the common causes of foot numbness, in addition to treatments and where you can go for a personalized treatment plan.

Symptoms of Numbness in Feet

The main symptom of a numb foot is losing sensation in that foot. When this happens, you’re unable to feel your foot’s position on the ground, affecting your balance and sense of touch.

Other symptoms include:

  • a pins-and-needles sensation,
  • prickling,
  • tingling,
  • and having a weak-feeling foot or feet.

Causes of Numbness in Feet

Your body is a complex system of nerves, and your feet and legs could become numb if nerves are damaged, blocked, infected, or compressed.

Here’s a list of conditions that can cause numbness in your foot.

  1. Nerve damage (neuropathy) as a result of high blood sugar for a long time affects about half of all people with diabetes.
  2. Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain throughout the body, which can lead to sleep problems, fatigue, and mental or emotional distress.
  3. In multiple sclerosis (MS), the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that covers nerve fibers, leading to communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.
  4. The tarsal tunnel is on the inside of the ankle, and many nerves travel through this tunnel. Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve is compressed.
  5. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulatory condition where the arteries narrow and reduce blood flow to the arms or, most commonly, legs.  With blood flow not keeping up with demand, leg pain and other symptoms can occur.

What’s more, wearing shoes that are too tight, sitting on feet for too long, and having foot or ankle injuries can place too much pressure on the nerves.

How to Treat Numbness in Feet

A lack of sensation in your feet means your risk of tripping, falling, and developing foot wounds increases. You may also get a cut or become injured without knowing it. Plus, with decreased circulation, wounds may not heal as quickly. As such, treating foot numbness is very important.

In many cases, treating the underlying cause will relieve symptoms. For instance, if diabetes is causing neuropathy, then managing blood sugar levels is essential.

To treat numbness at home, people can:

  • exercise to strengthen the heart and blood vessels. Activities like yoga and Pilates can promote blood flow and reduce inflammation and pain.
  • focus on breathing exercises and meditation to help manage anxiety. Blood vessels constrict in moments of panic, reducing blood flow to certain body parts, including the hands and feet.
  • have a well-balanced diet. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nerve damage.
  • massage the legs and feet to stimulate circulation.
  • reduce the pressure swelling puts on nerves by applying a cold compress or ice packs.
  • wear supportive braces designed to reduce nerve pressure.

Visit The Foot & Ankle Center

If you’re experiencing severe or persistent numbness in your feet, talk to a podiatrist!

The experts at The Foot & Ankle Center provide thorough evaluations and personalized treatment plans, offer safe and effective treatments that provide fast relief, and have same-day appointments available.

Request an appointment online or call us at (314) 487-9300 to get started!