A Guide to Remedying Numbness In Your Feet

That feeling of numbness in your feet and toes can be caused by a variety of conditions. Numbness is often accompanied by a tingling feeling. The cause may not be serious - it can be as uncomplicated as paresthesia (your foot 'falling asleep'), however, it may be as serious as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or a symptom of a much more serious condition. Whatever the cause may be, it's essential to address the numbness in your feet. Avoiding doing so may affect your ability to walk.
Typical causes of numbness


Numbness of the toes generally occurs due to conditions that affect the nerves or blood vessels of the foot. The most common causes of toe numbness include:

  • Compressed nerves of the foot from footwear
  • Injury to the foot
  • Nerve damage (also known as neuropathy)
  • Poor blood circulation to the foot, usually due to diabetes and peripheral vascular disease
  • Irritation of nerves in the lower back (possibly due to a herniated disk)
  • Frostbite
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)

Once you and your doctor have identified what is causing the numbness in your toes, here's how you may go about resolving the issue:

Method 1: Dealing with occasional numbness

1. Exercise


Sitting or standing in one place for a long time may cause numbness. To counteract the problem, stimulate circulation in the foot by moving around. A short walk, or moving your foot as you are sitting down, will help too. In addition, bear in mind the following:

  • To begin with, regular exercise can help prevent numbness. So be sure to incorporate physical activity into your daily schedule.
  • If high impact exercises, such as jogging, causes numbness in the feet and toes, try lower impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling.
  • Before you start your workout, be sure to stretch well, wear appropriate shoes and exercise on level surfaces.
2. Change positions
Certain sitting positions may cause numbness in your feet. Avoid sitting on your feet or crossing your legs for a long period of time. Should you sit for long hours, elevate your feet periodically to increase the blood flow.
3. Avoid wearing excessively tight clothing
Pants, socks or other tight garments worn on the lower part of the body might restrict blood flow to the feet, causing numbness.
4. Massage the foot
Massaging the area of the foot that feels numb will help increase circulation and reduce the effects of occasional numbness.
5. Keep your feet warm
The cold may cause numbness and tingling. Reduce the effects by staying warm with a heating pad or heated blanket.
6. Wear the right shoes
High heels or shoes that pinch the toes may cause numbness in the feet. This may also arise from wearing shoes that are too small for you, especially while exercising. Opt for comfortable shoes that fit you well.
7. Book an appointment with your doctor

While occasional numbness in the feet or toes caused by an uncomfortable seating position or tight clothing is nothing to worry about, a visit to the doctor is essential if it occurs frequently or lasts for more than just a few minutes.

  • Be sure to seek emergency treatment if your foot numbness is accompanied by symptoms such as weakness, paralysis, loss of bladder or bowel control, or slurring of speech.
  • Pregnancy may also cause swelling in the feet and toes, which could result in numbness. In this case, be sure to follow your doctor's recommendations for relief of occasional numbness.

Method 2: Dealing with Numbness Related to Diabetes

1. Get a diagnosis


Chronic numbness in the feet and toes is often due to diabetes. The feeling of numbness occurs because it damages both the nerves and causes poor circulation in the feet. Numbness is usually one of the first symptoms of diabetes, so be sure to get tested immediately. It can be extremely serious for a diabetic, as they may not be able to feel pain, which may be caused by heat, punctures or blisters in the feet.

In addition, due to the restriction of blood to the feet, diabetics' feet heal at a slower pace. Consequently, infection is a serious concern.

2. Manage your diabetes

The best way to prevent circulation issues and neuropathy is to keep your blood glucose levels in check. Here are some ways to go about it:

  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly.
  • While the numbness in your feet may make it difficult to exercise, try to stay active. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day.
  • Eat well. Opt for a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish and low-fat dairy. Avoid food that triggers blood sugar spikes - primarily anything sweet.
  • Take your prescribed medicine and insulin regularly.
  • Smoking can make the symptoms of your diabetes worse. Ask your doctor how best to go about quitting.
3. Lose weight
Obesity can be a contributing factor to numbness in the feet and toes. Consequently, losing weight will help alleviate the symptoms. In addition, it may also help lower blood pressure (which may also have an effect on the numbness).
4. Use products designed for diabetic foot care
Compression hose and socks help stimulate circulation, thereby decreasing numbness. Special lotions that contain capsaicin, may also be applied in order to relieve the numbness.
5. Ask your doctor about alternative treatments
If nothing else seems to work, studies have shown positive results on relaxation techniques and biofeedback treatments, as well as anodyne therapy (a painkilling drug or medicine).

Method 3: Dealing with chronic numbness, caused by other conditions

1. Get treatment for injuries

Numbness can occur as a result of injuries to the feet, toes, ankles, head or spine. In which case, an orthopedist, neurologist or chiropractor may help treat the injury and relieve the numbness.
2. Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor
Numbness may also be caused by chemotherapy drugs and many other prescription drugs. If you experience numbness after starting a new medication, discuss the effects with your doctor. On this note, it is important to never stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor first.
3. Take vitamin supplements
Numbness may also be caused by a lack of vitamin B12 or other vitamins. In order to check your vitamin deficiencies, get a blood test and start taking the recommended supplements if need be.
4. Take medication for chronic conditions
Numbness in your feet and toes may also be a symptom of a number of underlying conditions, including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, Lyme disease and more. In which case, it is important that you treat and take medication for the underlying condition.
5. Reduce your alcohol consumption
A numbing sensation in the limbs, particularly the feet and toes, may also be caused by heavy alcohol consumption.
Content and Image Source: Wikihow
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