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Numb Big Toe Causes

Numbness in the big toe sounds like quite a harmless condition. However, the causes can be many from minor to some major conditions. To assess what has caused your big toe to become numb, it is important to analyze the symptoms that occur besides the numbness.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
In cold weather, the use of a heating pad or heated blankets can provide you with warmth which can reduce the risk of numbness and tingling of your big toe.

Numbness of the big toe is one such condition which can be very difficult to deal with due to its varied causes. When we have to assess numb big toe causes, there are many factors which are to be taken into consideration. It is also important to find the exact area where the numbness is felt.
Does your numb toe also have a pins and needles feeling to it?
Is there a tingling sensation?
Did it start after a fall or any kind of injury?
How long has it been numb?
Is the numbness complete or partial?
There may also be chances that the color of the skin has changed from pink to yellow, or something similar. Often calluses and/or peeling of the skin are seen along with a numb big toe. It is better to look at the less serious causes which lead to the condition, so that these causes can be eliminated before you get into the details of the serious causes.

Causes of Numb Big Toe

Constricted Circulation of Blood in the Feet
We often do not realize that blood flow towards the feet may be constricted. Keeping the feet in the wrong position for a long period, or standing or sitting in an awkward position, etc., are some of the causes of this condition. In most cases, the condition subsides on its own. If the condition does not subside, then the other causes of the condition will have to be evaluated.

Very often a bad pair of footwear can cause numbness in the big toe. The footwear puts pressure down on the toe and causes pain and numbness. Sometimes, if the laces are tied too tight, they can obstruct the flow of blood to the toes. It has been observed that a number of people, especially women, often wear a pair of shoes of the wrong size. Women want to wear a pair of shoes which is in vogue, hence they end up buying such a pair. However, this is not a very healthy practice. Wearing shoes with high heels is not a good health practice either. It can also cause toes to go numb.

Compression of the Nerve
A numb big toe can be a symptom of a compressed nerve. A nerve can get compressed due to many reasons, with the two main reasons being the shoes hurting the toe for an extended period, and/or injury to the toe. You will have to visit a doctor for corrective action that is required to cure the numb big toe.

Often gout is neglected as one of the reasons for a numb big toe. High level of uric acid is one of the causes of gout, which can lead to a numb big toe. You will have to undertake a test to check uric acid levels before treatment can be administered.

Diabetes patients often have numb big toes. If you are suffering from diabetes, then you should be very careful about a numb big toe, and not neglect it at all. In case you have not checked whether you are diabetic, then it is advisable to get yourself checked for diabetes, as in all probability, diabetes may be causing the numbness.

Inflamed Bone
If the bone on the underside of the big toe is inflamed, it can cause pain and numbness in the big toe. The reasons for inflammation of the bone can be arthritis or a part of the bone hitting a nerve in the big toe.

If you have noticed a bump at the base of the big toe, it is probably a bunion. They are also called tailor's bunions. They cause extreme pain and numbness in the big toe.

Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is responsible for smooth functioning of the nervous system. When there is a deficiency of this vitamin in the body, it can cause neural damage. Therefore, the patient may suffer from numbness in the big toe along with a tingling sensation.

One of the rare causes of numbness in the big toe is sciatica. The sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in the body. Any damage to this nerve may result in weakness in the legs accompanied by numbness in the toes. This condition may be caused during pregnancy, due to the added weight of the fetus exerted on the spine.

Raynaud's Disease
This is a common condition which affects the blood supply, specifically to the fingers and toes. The symptoms include pain and numbness in the big toe as well the feeling of pins-and-needles all over the feet. It is usually triggered by cold weather and stress. This disease is named after Maurice Raynaud; who recognized and discovered this condition.

Peripheral Neuropathy
This is a condition which is common to people who smoke or are diabetic. Peripheral neuropathy affects large and small blood vessels. The blood vessels get damaged and that leads to harm and/or damage of the nerve. Peripheral neuropathy causes numbness in the extremities. If this condition is not treated in time, it can mean losing control in the affected limb.

Cervical Spondylosis
The bones and cartilages in the backbone and neck deteriorate gradually, causing back pain, stiffness, or spasms. A nerve can get compressed due to cervical spondylosis, which can cause a numb big toe.

Treatment Options

► In case if you have a numb big toe caused by a bunion, then wearing square-toed shoes along with socks that does not have a seam can provide some relief. If the condition become severe, then it may require corrective surgery.

► If the numbness is a result of diabetes, then the most important thing that you can do is to control your blood glucose level. If further care is not taken, degeneration of the nerve can result, which will worsen the numbness to loss of sensation.

► In order to avoid this situation, you can include foods that are rich in vitamin B12 in your meals. Always wear comfortable footwear all the time. If you sit for a long time while working, take a break in between and walk for a minute to improve the blood circulation.

► For instant relief, you can add some pieces of camphor in warm water and soak your toe in it for a while. It will alleviate the pain and numbness. You can also use a cold pack which will improve your blood circulation and reduce the numbness.
If the condition does not subside in a few days, it is best to consult a health care professional to find the exact cause and have it treated in time. If it is a severe problem, it can cost you your limb, therefore to have it examined in time is necessary. Remember a stitch in time saves nine!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.