Why Are My Toes Numb?


Losing feeling in your feet or toes is enough to get you to stand up and shout. An occasional tingle or numb feeling in your toes is not a huge issue and is pretty common. For instance, standing up after having your legs crossed for a long time can cause blood to rush back down to your lower limbs. This can quickly create a feeling of pins and needles.

Loss of feeling, tingling, or numbness that lingers for extended periods is reason to call your podiatrist though! This could be a sign of something like peripheral neuropathy.

What causes nerve damage?

Peripheral neuropathy is the medical name for damage to nerves in the “periphery” – not in the brain or spine. This includes all the nerves in your legs and feet. When you have nerve damage in your feet, it can make them perpetually numb, or maybe even make them feel like they’re burning all the time.

There are many things that can cause or contribute to neuropathy in your feet, including:

  • Hypothyroidism or other hormonal imbalances

  • Vitamin deficiency

  • Injuries

  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome

  • Arthritis

  • Environmental elements or chemical toxins

Alcohol and neuropathy

Drinking heavily can also cause nerve damage. Ethanol, which is found in alcohol (and also gasoline), acts a poison to your nerves. This type of nerve damage is called alcoholic neuropathy and affects people who have been heavy drinkers for many years.

Diabetes and neuropathy

The vast majority of peripheral neuropathy cases are due to diabetes. In fact, one of the first signs of diabetes is persistent tingling, numbness, or loss of feeling in your toes. Over half of diabetic patients will suffer from neuropathy.

Any type of persistent “off” feeling, including numbness, tingling, burning, or pain, is not normal. It’s your body’s way of saying: “HELP!” If you’re experiencing this, call our office today. Here at Bay Podiatry Associates, our board-certified podiatrist Dr. Argirios Mantzoukas can help to diagnose and treat any foot or ankle issues you might be experiencing. To schedule an appointment at our Brooklyn, NY office, give us a call today at (718) 266-1986.