What can numbness in the toes mean?
Numbness in the toes is a very unpleasant sensation that all of us have experienced at times. It is an extremely annoying ailment, which can have various causes - from harmless and easy to eliminate, to more serious health problems requiring specific treatment. If the toes go numb intermittently, it is not usually related to the development of a serious disease. We should be concerned if the symptom becomes recurrent or chronic. In that case, you should contact your doctor for treatment. So what can numb toes signal?
Numbness in the toes - is it something dangerous?
Tingling in the toes and numbness in the upper or lower limbs belong to the group of paresthesias - symptoms of so-called peripheral sensation. The spectrum of causes for this unpleasant sensation can be very wide, and numbness in the toes or all fingers can be temporary, recurrent, or chronic. Often, the symptom arises for a very trivial reason, such as staying in the same position for a long time, which puts pressure on nerves or blood vessels. In such cases, the numbness in the toes is temporary and goes away on its own. If the symptoms are recurrent and troublesome, it is advisable to check electrolyte and vitamin concentrations, as numb toes may indicate water retention, potassium, calcium and magnesium disorders or B vitamin deficiencies. If the symptoms are very frequent, persistent, or radiate up to the calf, it is important to see a doctor, as numbness in the legs may be indicative of other chronic conditions.
Numb toes - what disease could they signal?
Chronic and continuous numbness of the big toe (or all toes) of the foot can be a symptom of the development of an organic disease, affecting the nervous system. Conditions that manifest as tingling and numbness in the toes include:
- Discopathy or degenerative disease of the spine that causes pressure on the nerves.
- Injuries (especially to the spine).
- inflammatory polyneuropathies.
- Diabetes and associated diabetic polyneuropathy.
- Arteriosclerosis of the lower limbs and chronic ischaemia.
- Ischaemia of the central nervous system (this includes stroke).
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Restless legs syndrome.
Numbness in the big toes is also a symptom of gout. The build-up of uric acid in the blood then causes this type of ailment.
Numbness and tingling in the toes - how to treat?
The treatment of toe numbness depends on the diagnosed cause. It is different in the case of neurological diseases and completely different in the case of vascular disorders. In the former cases, physical therapy based on massage, electrotherapy or ultrasound is often recommended. As far as venous insufficiency is concerned, which mainly causes pain in the lower limbs, varicose veins of the calves and troublesome tingling and numbness in the toes, it is necessary to apply compression therapy, i.e. treatment with graduated compression using specialised medical products in the form of compression tights, varicose vein stockings or compression knee-socks. It is also a good idea to use preparations containing active substances that seal blood vessels. Regardless of the reason for the numbness in our toes, it is worthwhile to be physically active and regularly perform various types of exercises to relieve the pressure on our limbs.