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Causes of Numbness in the Feet

Causes of Numbness in the Feet

Enlisted here are the causes for numbness in feet.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2018
Poor blood circulation is often cited as one of the common reasons behind tingling or numbness in the feet and hands. Sometimes, when a person falls asleep with his/her head resting on the arm, he/she might wake up with a tingling sensation in the arm.
Tingling sensation in feet could occur when you sit with your legs crossed for a long period. The abnormal sensation can be attributed to a compressed nerve. When the nerve does not communicate signals to the brain, or sends impulses in an erratic manner, it gives rise to a tingling, prickly sensation that is known as 'pins and needles'.
Once the position is changed, the nerve is able to communicate with the brain. Thereafter, numbness gets resolved. While a compressed nerve that is caused by a wrong posture causes temporary numbness, such abnormal sensations could also be attributed to certain medical conditions.
Causes
Tingling sensation in the feet
Tingling sensation in the feet could be caused by the given conditions:
Diabetes
Diabetes is a medical condition that is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. In severe cases, high blood sugar levels could result in damage to the nerve fibers present in the body.
Nerve damage is observed in individuals affected by diabetic neuropathy. When the damage is restricted to a single nerve, one is diagnosed by diabetic mononeuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a common form of diabetic neuropathy. It is characterized by damage to nerves in the extremities.
The symptoms include numbness, reduced ability to sense pain or changes in temperature, tingling or burning sensation, increased sensitivity to touch, muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle, loss of coordination and balance, etc. The only way to prevent this condition is to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease entails reduced flow of blood to the limbs due to narrowing of arteries. While leg pain while walking is a common symptom of this condition, those affected also experience numbness and weakness in legs. This condition is caused by atherosclerosis, characterized by accumulation of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries.
Morton's Neuroma
This condition is characterized by the thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves that runs between the long bones of the foot. It is a benign condition. It is believed that this condition occurs due to irritation, friction, between two bones around the nerve.
It has been observed that neuroma develops between the bones leading to the third and fourth toes. It gives rise to symptoms such as tingling or numbness in the toes, pain, swelling, and tenderness.
Sciatica
Sciatic nerve is the longest nerve of the human body. It starts from the lower back, and runs down the back of each leg. It provides sensation to the part of the lower leg, sole of the foot, and back of the thigh.
Sciatica is a medical condition that is characterized by the inflammation of sciatic nerve. When this nerve gets inflamed, it could give rise to pain, loss of sensation in the feet and legs, weakness while bending the knee, etc. Application of heating pads or ice packs, drug therapy, and rest might help alleviate the symptoms.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is characterized by the entrapment of the posterior tibial nerve as it enters the foot through the tarsal tunnel. The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space that is located on the inside of the ankle, and lies posterior to the medial malleolus.
The posterior tibial nerve could get compressed in the event of trauma to the ankle or due to the presence of a growth (cyst, ganglion, lipoma, swelling) within the tarsal tunnel. Those with flat feet are at a risk of developing this syndrome.
Injury
Injuries need not be limited to your feet or legs in order to give rise to numbness. An injury to your lower back can cause pressure to a nerve that can lead to loss of sensation in your foot. In addition, injury to the foot or leg can give rise to numbness.
Nutritional Deficiency
Paresthesia could also be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus, following a diet that is rich in this vitamin or taking vitamin B12 supplements can prove beneficial in such cases.
Wearing Ill-fitting Shoes
Woman With Aching Feet
Nerves could also get compressed due to ill-fitting footwear. Wearing shoes that are too tight can cause the nerves in the feet to get pinched. This can cause temporary loss of sensation. Thus, ensure that you chose your footwear carefully.
On a concluding note, tingling sensation in feet could be attributed to various medical conditions. So, it is advisable to seek medical assistance to identify the underlying cause. The treatment would vary, depending on the underlying cause. In the simple case of numbness due to limbs falling asleep, all you need to do is change the position.
In some cases, following certain preventive measures could help. For instance, wearing the right type of footwear and following a healthy diet can help alleviate in some cases. In case of medical conditions, taking the prescribed drugs and following certain precautionary measures will help alleviate the symptoms.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.