What is toe numbness?

Toe numbness is an abnormal condition in which you feel a loss of sensation in the toes. Toe numbness is usually due to a lack of blood supply to the toes or nerve damage. Toe numbness can also result from infection, inflammation, trauma, malignancy, and other abnormal processes. Most cases of toe numbness are not due to life-threatening disorders.

Toe numbness is often associated with or preceded by abnormal pain-like pins-and-needles, prickling, or burning sensations called paresthesias. Whereas toe numbness is a loss of sensation, paralysis involves a loss of movement, with or without the loss of sensation in the area.

Depending on the cause, the loss of sensation can disappear quickly, such as numbness after sitting for a long time that fades away once you start moving your legs. Chronic numbness in the toes generally indicates some level of damage to the nerves. Toe numbness may also be worse at night, which is common for paresthesias in general.

Because toe numbness may be a symptom of an underlying disease, disorder or condition, you should talk with your medical professional about any unusual sensations or toe numbness that last more than a few minutes.

If you experience toe numbness with loss of bladder or bowel control, paralysis, confusion, weakness in the foot, or slurred speech, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention in an emergency facility. If your foot numbness is persistent, recurrent, or causes you concern, contact a medical professional.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with toe numbness?

Toe numbness may occur with other symptoms as well. For example, toe numbness due to a broken toe will most likely be accompanied by severe pain and swelling. Nerve compression in the lumbar spine (lower back) will usually affect only one leg, with pain and numbness that may extend down to the toes.

Symptoms that may occur along with toe numbness

Toe numbness may occur ... Read more about toe numbnesssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes toe numbness?

Toe numbness usually arises from a lack of blood supply to the toes or nerve damage. Toe numbness can be a sign of a wide variety of diseases, disorders or conditions that restrict blood flow or cause injury to the nerves. Temporary toe numbness can occur after prolonged pressure on a nerve or nerves such as after wearing tight-fitting shoes.

Toe numbness can occur with moderate t... Read more about toe numbnesscauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 11, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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