What Causes Numb Toes and How To Treat It?

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Why Do I Get Numb Toes

Losing sensation in your toes is a symptom that might be an indicator of several conditions. Usually, those who report it also feel tingling, a feeling of absence, and even a burning sensation.

As a result, the basic act of walking can become painful and very difficult. This is a fact that I have experienced from cycling. Cyclists “hot foot” makes it impossible to continue riding a bike until you have removed the shoe and released the pressure in the foot.

I personally get a burning sensation in my toes on my left foot. This is not something that happens all the time, and seems to happen more when I am driving and pressing the clutch than at any other time.

One of my toes tends to dip under another toe and this seems to be where the problem lies.

Generally, this problem is an indicator of problems with the nerves and the blood vessels that supply the lower extremities. That is why the tingling sensation can expand to the entire legs as the numbness in the toes comes and goes.

Now, there are several problems that can compromise the functionality of the cardio-vascular and neural system resulting in the problems we already described. The most common are:

  • alcoholism or chronic alcohol abuse
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • diabetes and diabetic neuropathy
  • frostbite
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • herniated disk
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • nerve compression syndromes, such as Morton’s neuroma (affecting the ball of the foot) or tarsal tunnel syndrome (affecting the tibia nerve)
  • peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
  • peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • sciatica
  • shingles
  • spinal cord injury
  • vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels

This list has been reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA from the Healthline team. He also acknowledges high-impact activities such as sports or weight-lifting can cause temporary toe numbness. However, you should feel normal shortly after you stop doing the activity.

My issue revolves around sports. I cycle around 3 to 4 times a week and approximately 50 to 100 kms a day. This causes my toe to move which causes a cycling issue called “Hot Foot” which is really painful when it hits. This normally happens between 60 and 80 kms.

I am currently trying out yet another insole for this problem. Lets hope this works for my poor feet.

In extreme circumstances, the loss of sensation might be the result of a severe neurological or cardiovascular event like seizures and strokes. If that is the case, the numb feeling will be widespread with some people losing the sensibility of a whole side of the body.

As we mentioned above, reduced sensation of the toes is just an indicator of a bigger issue, and doctors will usually run a number of tests to determine the root of the problem. So, you need to seek medical attention. However, sometimes it is a matter of mechanics.

How to Treat Numb Big Toes and Big Toe Calluses

Dr. Larry Huppin, a nationally renowned authority on orthotics and biomechanics and a podiatrist in Seattle specializing in treating active people, explains in a video what can be a cause of big toe numbness and calluses.

He explains some people might suffer from this because of the way they walk. You see, when we are walking, the big toe joint bends so that our foot can bend allowing us to move forward.

The problem is some people don’t have a fully developed foot arch; a problem commonly known as the flat feet problems.

To compensate for this lack of mobility, those who have flat feet walk with their feet pointing outwards which puts all the pressure on the big toe area. That compresses the nerves that supply the toe, which is why you might be losing sensitivity in that area.

To treat it, you should work on recovering the full natural range of motion on your feet. Dr. Huppin recommends wearing orthopedic shoes or using custom orthotics.

These are the ones Iam currently trying out.

These options bring stability to the heel and create an artificial arch allowing you to regain the necessary range of motion.

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