Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
We don’t care enough about our feet and we generally don’t take seriously enough all those little aches and pains that can occur and cause us foot pain. All types of physical activity can lead to numbness in the big toe, but in some cases, this pain when it is frequent can have a completely different origin, especially when it is the elderly who are affected by this disorder. Among the most benign causes, we may find a badly worn shoe, a rich diet or intensive physical activity, but this pain may be indicative of other less benign problems such as type xx diabetes, plantar fasciitis, a blood circulation problem or a neuron neuroma. If the problem persists, you will need to see a health care professional such as a Podiatrist to assess the origin and cause of your pain.
Symptoms and causes of numbness of the big toe
Most of the time, as indicated above, the possible causes of numbness in the big toe are commonplace and can occur during physical activity such as cycling, running or walking for example. Indeed, numbness while cycling is explained by an excess of pressure applied on the nerves of the tip of the foot. These pressure points will then lead to symptoms such as a tingling sensation or numbness in the big toe. Another common cause that can lead to this kind of pain is wearing ill-fitting, narrow shoes or high heels for women.
Unfortunately in some cases the pain can become unbearable until your toe has become numb or the tingling in the feet occurs too frequently. In these cases, these warning signs are not to be taken lightly and probably indicate that nerve or blood pathways are affected.
One of the most common causes can be blood circulation problems in the legs. The lack of irrigation can be associated with pain in the nerve which will lead to numbness and tingling in addition to numbness. Factors that promote circulatory disorders and therefore poor oxygenation of the blood will then be a poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes or nicotine addiction. For women, this pathology can be increased during pregnancy. Mothers and mothers-to-be will have to be very careful during this period of their lives.
Certain deficiencies can also be the cause of numb toes, in fact certain intolerances, chronic diseases or simply a lack of nutrients or vitamins can lead to sensations of numbness and muscle cramps. In other cases, this type of symptom occurs when the roots or nervous system is affected, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome (inflammatory nerve disease) or multiple sclerosis.
Diseases affecting only the feet and bones and joints are also implicated when the big toe feels numb. These include hallux valgus or rheumatoid arthritis. Consulting a Podiatrist will help you to define the exact causes and the main sources of these disabling pains in the long term.
Consequences of numbness of the big toe
Most of the time, numbness in the big toe is not a very serious problem and only an occasional numbness that will fade by itself after a few minutes. However, for people suffering from chronic numbness or frequent foot problems, they will suffer harder consequences. Numbness and tingling can interfere with a person’s daily activities. Among other things, they will experience difficulty walking, muscle tension, loss of comfort or painful feet.
Finally, in certain specific situations, numbness can be a sign of more serious consequences such as inflammation, thickening of the nerves or Morton’s Neuroma, a disease that causes swelling of the healing tissue around the nerves of the toe. Each of these consequences makes it necessary to prevent and treat numbness in the big toe.
How to treat numbness
We have seen that they are the causes, symptoms and consequences of numbness in the big toe, but we all ask ourselves the same important question: how do we treat and cure it? Treating numbness in the feet is essential when the pain becomes too much, there are conventional and natural treatments that are recommended to follow.
As a first step, it is essential to follow practical advice such as wearing proper footwear, practicing a softer sport, but also massaging the foot or the numb area when numbness appears. If the symptoms are more problematic such as difficulty walking, a doctor may prescribe phytotherapy sessions or the wearing of orthopedic inserts. This can go a long way towards eliminating this type of condition, but if the numbness is a symptom of an underlying cause such as a blood circulation disorder or nerve damage, it is important to consult a health care professional. The health care professional will then perform a foot examination and assess the patient’s loss of comfort. He will then confirm the diagnosis, provide advice and care for the prevention of numbness and in some cases, when the underlying pathology can be treated directly, proceed directly to minor surgery.
For major cases (blood circulation, nerve damage, deficiencies…), he will have to proceed to more advanced complementary examinations such as MRI, blood tests or a nerve conduction study. Do not hesitate to make an appointment with a podiatrist like our doctor who will be able to confirm the diagnosis and propose the necessary measures.