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Understanding Numbness in your Toes

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Numbness or “pins and needles” in the toes can be caused by a number of conditions, including sitting in such a way that you cut off your circulation temporarily. However, other causes can be more serious, which range from diabetes to frostbite.

  • Diabetes – Numbness and tingling in the toes (and hands) are common symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Even if you have not been diagnosed officially with type 2 diabetes, numbness and tingling in the toes may be a sign that you’re developing the condition.
  • Neuropathy – Nerve damage, known as neuropathy, is another culprit of foot and toes numbness. A type of neuropathic condition called Morton’s neuroma causes nerves in the toes to thicken leading to foot pain and sensation loss. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is another neuropathy condition that causes foot and toes numbness.
  • Nerve compression – Have you ever had your hand or foot “fall asleep”? If so, it resulted from compressing the nerves from being in the same position for a period of time. Once the compressed nerve is released, the numbness turns into tingling when the compressed nerve “wakes up”.
  • Bunions – Bony protrusions on the outside of the big toe known as bunions can cause foot pain and numbness in the big toe. Wearing ill-fitting shoes or high heels can lead to developing bunions.
  • Frostbite – Being subjected to freezing temperatures for a prolonged period of time can lead to frostbite. When your toes begin to freeze, they will become numb. Severe frostbite can lead to amputation, but mild forms of frostbite can often be treated successfully.

In most situations, wearing proper footwear and keeping your feet protected from extreme cold or heat will prevent the development of conditions that often lead to numbness in the toes.


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