What Causes Numbness In The Feet?
Numbness in the feet is the result of a lack of blood supply. The numb feeling is caused by a loss of sensation in the foot. Before the numbness, the patient may feel a tingling or prickly sensation that lasts for a few moments. Foot numbness can be caused by an infection, inflammation, or a disease. Chronic numbness is a sign of nerve damage, and anyone experiencing persistent numbness should contact a medical professional. The reasons for numbness can vary, but tarsal tunnel syndrome, neuropathy, and sciatica are all common causes.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that affects the tibial nerve in the foot. With this syndrome, pressure develops within the tarsal tunnel, a tunnel located near the ankle bones. The tunnel protects an intricate system of arteries, veins, and nerves. Tarsal tunnel syndrome may be caused by diabetes, arthritis, varicose veins, swollen tendons, or ganglion cysts.
To treat the condition, doctors will start with nonsurgical treatments like making the patient wear a cast, foot brace, or take pain relievers. If the patient needs surgery, the doctor can split the ligament to relieve the pressure on the tibial nerve.
Patients that have peripheral neuropathy can experience foot numbness. Peripheral neuropathy affects the peripheral nervous system and interferes with the body’s ability to send messages to the brain and spinal cord. This condition can affect one nerve in the body or several and is caused by various ailments like diabetes, lupus, and Lyme disease.
To treat neuropathy, doctors have to look at the underlying cause of the disease. Research has shown that certain antidepressant medications and lidocaine patches or creams help to manage the disease. Doctors may also perform surgery to fix pinched nerves that cause neuropathy.
Sciatica is a disease that affects the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve rests in the lower back, and anything that creates pressure on the nerve, like a herniated disc, creates pressure on the nerve. The stress results in painful sensations throughout the lower back and legs. If sciatica goes untreated, the patient may permanently lose feeling in the leg or have bladder issues.
To treat sciatica, doctors may recommend pain-relieving medications, ice packs, or steroid injections. For many patients, physical therapy and daily stretching can help decrease sciatica pain.
Should I see a doctor?
Patients should seek medical treatment if the foot numbness becomes more frequent or other areas of the body start to get that tingling sensation. A medical professional will perform the proper tests before providing a diagnosis and treatment options.