If you can’t feel your feet or toes, it should make you stand up and take notice. Occasional tingling and numbness in your toes is fairly common and not a big deal. It could happen after you’ve been sitting too long with your legs crossed. When you finally stand up, the blood swooping down into your lower limbs resolves that pins-and-needles sensation pretty quickly.
But if you have loss of feeling, numbness, or tingling in your feet that sticks around for a long time, pick up the phone and call Dr. Chandra L. Day-Houts and Dr. Heidi M. Christie at Montgomery Foot Specialists in Montgomery, AL. Our concern would be that you are having symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
Causes of nerve damage
Peripheral neuropathy is the medical term for damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. Nerves located on the “periphery”- far away from the central nervous system- include those of your lower limbs. When you have nerve damage to your feet, it means you lose feeling in them, as though they are perpetually numb. They may even feel like they’re burning.
There are a number of things that can contribute to neuropathy in your feet, such as
- hormone imbalances like hypothyroidism
- vitamin deficiencies
- injury or trauma
- tarsal tunnel syndrome
- rheumatoid arthritis
- exposure to environmental or chemical toxins
Alcoholism and peripheral neuropathy
Heavy drinking is another cause of nerve damage. Blame it on ethanol, the substance found in alcohol (and also in gasoline) that essentially acts as a toxin, poisoning the body’s nerves. Known as alcoholic neuropathy, it affects people who have been drinking heavily for many years and more than likely eating a poor diet as a result.
By far, however, the majority of cases of peripheral neuropathy are due to diabetes. In fact, tingling, numbness, or loss of feeling in your toes can be one of the first signs that you have diabetes. More than half of all diabetics will eventually suffer from neuropathy.
Bottom line: any kind of persistent pain, unusual feeling, tingling, or numbness in your feet is just not normal and should prompt you to make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists. Expert medical advice and prescription medications to help with neuropathy are just a phone call away. Our number in Montgomery is (334) 896-3668.