Wiggle your fingers against the soles of a loved one’s foot and wait for the gales of laughter – they won’t take long. Feet are one of the most ticklish places on the human body. That’s because there are more nerve endings per square centimeter in the soles of our feet than in any other part of our bodies – almost 8,000 in each foot.
Nerves are what allow us to feel something on our skin. They send messages to the brain so we know when something’s hot, cold, pinched, burned – or tickled. A light, feathery tickle can really get on someone’s nerves (you won’t always get laughter with this kind of tickling!) – but what if you can’t feel the tickle at all?
A ticklish foot indicates nerves that are doing their job. But nerves can become damaged, resulting in feet that are frequently numb, cold, tingly, or burning. If you have any of these symptoms in your feet, you should have them checked out as soon as possible by Dr. Heidi M. Christie or Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts, the podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists in Montgomery, AL.
Nerve damage due to diabetes
The most frequent cause of nerve damage in feet is diabetes. Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar can cause nerves to lose their ability to communicate with the brain. We call this diabetic neuropathy and it’s extremely damaging to feet, causing such symptoms as
- inability to feel temperature changes
- ulcers that don’t heal
- bone and joint pain
- difficulty with balance
- muscle cramps.
It’s very important not to ignore the signs of diabetic foot neuropathy since it’s a leading cause of lower limb amputation if it’s not treated.
Other causes of nerve damage
Diabetes isn’t the only culprit. Nerves in your feet can also lose their effectiveness due to injury, compression from surrounding bone or tissue (pinched nerve or neuroma), and even tobacco or alcohol abuse. Problems with lack of feeling and all other ailments of the feet are expertly handled by our two podiatrists. Give us a call at (334) 396-3668 or make an appointment online.