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Why Are My Toes Numb?

Reviewed on 9/16/2020

What Causes Numb Toes?

A number of neurological conditions and others can cause toe numbness.
A number of neurological conditions and others can cause toe numbness.

There are numerous causes for toe numbness. 

See a doctor if you have toe numbness and:

  • The numbness comes on suddenly 
  • The numbness spreads quickly
  • You had a recent head injury just prior to the numb toes
  • You have trouble walking
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty thinking or speaking
  • Numbness is accompanied by a severe headache or dizziness
  • Your hand, arm or fingers on the same side as the toes are also numb

What Symptoms May Accompany Toe Numbness?

Other symptoms that may accompany toe numbness include:

Diabetic neuropathy

  • Pain, burning, and tingling in the toes or feet
  • Extreme sensitivity to light touch
  • Pain may be worst at rest and improves with activity
  • Usually affects both sides of the body
  • Symptoms may gradually move up the legs; if the mid-calves are affected, symptoms may develop in the hands
  • Over time, the ability to sense pain may be lost

Morton's neuroma 

  • Pain that increases with activity and is usually felt between the third and fourth toes

Metatarsalgia 

  • Pain in the ball of the foot

Raynaud’s syndrome (also called Raynaud’s phenomenon)

  • Fingers (or toes) become suddenly cold 
  • Skin color changes markedly and may become pale (called a "white attack") or a purple or blue color (called a "blue attack")
  • "Pins and needles" feeling, aching, or clumsiness of the affected hand(s)
  • The skin of the ears, nose, face, knees, and nipples can also be affected, and may become pale or bluish in color after cold exposure
  • Mottling (a bluish discoloration) of the skin of the arms and legs 

Guillain-Barre syndrome

  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • “Pins and needles” sensations in the hands and feet
  • Severe pain, especially at night
  • Problems with coordination and unsteadiness
  • Abnormal heart beat or blood pressure
  • Problems with digestion 
  • Bladder control problems

Stroke 

A stroke is a medical emergency: if you have any symptoms call 911 and get to a hospital’s emergency department immediately

  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Problems seeing and speaking
  • Drooping on one side of your face

Brain or spinal cord injury

  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Numbness in the feet
  • Problems walking
  • Difficulty speaking or concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness and spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Bladder problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Infections 

Lyme disease 

Syphilis

  • Single sore or multiple sores that is usually (but not always) firm, round, and painless
  • Skin rashes that are rough, red, or reddish-brown spots on the palms of the hands and/or the bottoms of the feet.
  • Mucous membrane lesions in the mouth, vagina, or anus 
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Sore throat
  • Patchy hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue 

Side effects of chemotherapy 

  • “Pins and needles” feeling
  • Burning of hands and/or feet 
  • Numbness around mouth 
  • Loss of positional sense (knowing where a body part is without looking)
  • Weakness and cramping or pain in hands 
  • Difficulty picking things up or buttoning clothes

Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Pale yellow tinge to the skin
  • Sore and red tongue 
  • Mouth ulcers
  • “Pins and needles” sensation
  • Changes in gait and movement
  • Vision problems
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Changes in thinking, feeling, and behavior
  • Dementia

QUESTION

What is diabetic peripheral neuropathy? See Answer

What Is the Treatment for Numb Toes?

Treatment for numb toes depends on the cause. 

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Reviewed on 9/16/2020
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