If you Keep Getting Numb Feet, We May Know the Problem
Numbness or tingling in the feet or toes is a common symptom experienced by many — if not all people at some point in their lives. What are some common causes? And what can you do about it? Well, in the following we will delve into this topic further and hopefully shed some light on the issue.
However, first we must plant a very firm caveat. We are not medical providers and do not pretend to play ones on the internet. Numbness and tingling can be a sign of some very serious medical problems so if you are ever in doubt check with a professional.
With that said, there’s a lot of common sense that can be employed here so we’ve tested and trialed a number of things and hope the following is helpful.
Common causes and solutions
1. Sitting for too long — this may sound strange but bare with me. Many people report the experience of numbness in their feet after prolonged episodes of sitting. This sensation loss — often referred to as going to sleep — happens as a result of the nerves that lead to the foot being compressed while sitting. It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking, and when it comes to foot numbness this could also ring true.
Solution: Be aware of how much time you spend sitting, and take corrective action. If you work in an office take frequent breaks or get a standing desk. If you find yourself planted in front of the TV too often try to cut down by 50% and do something active instead. If you wear any tight clothing consider loosening some of it up, your feet will definitely thank you. Get a foot massage now and then or place a hot compress on your feet after a long day — either one of these are at least as enjoyable as they are helpful.
2. Improper footwear — We would speculate that this is not the most common reason, but it effects some people nonetheless. Shoes that are too tight, or constrict the feet in some way can cut off blood flow to the feet. Without blood (and oxygen) flowing properly it’s not hard for the feet to become numb and/or tingly. Do it for long enough and it will become downright painful.
Solution: The solution is not rocket science. Be sure to size your shoes correctly and do not wear ones that constrict you no matter how good they look. Also, don’t be so aggressive with your lacing, depending on the shoe cinching the laces too hard can lead to this problem as well. If this is a problem for you considering velcro might be worthwhile as it’s much softer on the foot.
3. Diabetes — One of the most common causes of “peripheral neuropathy” or numbness of the extremities is diabetes. If you’ve experienced this symptom we are definitely not saying you might have diabetes, but we can’t disregard this as a cause either. Diabetes can affect your nerves and in many cases cause damage, which leads to the numbness sensation.
Solution: We have written an entire post on the best type of footwear for diabetic folks (insert link). A good solution here is simply to wear the right shoes and be very cognizant of the conditions you put your feet in. There are other solutions to this problem, but those are best left to the advice of your personal physician or primary care doctor.
4. Alcoholism or vitamin deficiency — According to WebMD: Vitamins E, B1, B6, B12, and niacin are essential for healthy nerve function. A B12 deficiency, for example, can lead to anemia, an important cause of peripheral neuropathy (numbness). Similarly alcoholism, and the lifestyle this tends to entail make many alcoholics vitamin deficient. In some cases alcohol abuse itself can cause nerve damage but this is generally in extreme cases only.
Solution: Paying attention to your diet and taking a multivitamin regularly is a good remedy here — and foot numbness is just one of many reasons that this is a good idea. If you are dealing with or have dealt in the past with alcohol issues it’s good to get some treatment. There are excellent dependency programs available today with relatively high success rates. As with the vitamins, the reasons to address this extend far beyond your feet.
These four barely begin to scratch the surface of all the potential reasons your could be experiencing foot numbness. Some others could be: due to injury such as compressed or herniated disks, autoimmune diseases, various forms of infections, genetically inherited issues and a buildup of toxins in your system.
So, as you can see the causes of foot numbness range from very simple and benign to extremely serious. If you are in doubt or concerned get in contact with a medical professional (even if it’s only calling a nurse hotline). And the end of the day you don’t want to take risks.
We hope you’re now armed with slightly more information when it comes to foot numbness. Here’s to happy and healthy feet.