Do you experience numb feet or painful legs? Numbness in feet may be a progressive condition. If it’s detected early enough, your doctor has a better chance of treating it. If you wait too long for treatment, it can lead to weakness, tissue damage, loss of muscle control, dangerous trips and falls, and possible amputation.
In this article, we’ll cover what causes numbness in feet and what you can do about it. Read on to learn more.
What Causes Numb Feet?
Foot numbness is a result of communication problems in one’s nervous system. Here’s how a healthy nervous system is supposed to work.
Sensory nerves are stimulated by things like pressure or temperature. They send this information to the brain and the brain sends the appropriate response back to the nerve. When the nerves are damaged or otherwise unresponsive, this messaging system doesn’t function correctly. When unresponsive nerves are stimulated, the brain doesn’t get the message. So stimuli such as temperature or pressure won’t be felt and the area will feel numb.
There are two major causes for this: decreased blood supply and nerve damage. We’ll take a look at these causes and their treatments below.
Decreased Blood Flow
Problems with blood circulation can prevent nerves from getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to function. The nerves become unresponsive, causing numbness.
There are a number of circulatory health conditions that can lead to numbness in feet including:
Peripheral artery disease – a condition where blood vessels are narrowed by an unhealthy buildup of arterial plaque. If your foot numbness gets worse or starts burning or aching when you exercise, it may be from peripheral artery disease.
Atherosclerosis – an accumulation of white blood cells that thickens arterial walls. If the numbness only affects one foot or leg, it may be a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot).
Frostbite – exposure to extreme cold causes blood vessels to constrict. Raynaud’s disease also causes blood vessels to constrict.
All of these can reduce your nerves’ ability to function, causing foot numbness.
If it’s not a circulatory problem causing your numbness, it could be nerve damage. A damaged nerve either doesn’t respond to stimuli or doesn’t send the message to the brain. Some common causes of peripheral neuropathy (damage to the peripheral nervous system) that can result in foot numbness include:
- Vitamin deficiency
- Systemic diseases (liver disease, kidney disorders, hormone imbalance, cancer, etc.)
- Prolonged alcoholism
- Medication side effects
Foot numbness can also be caused by problems in your spine, including a herniated disc, multiple sclerosis or spinal stenosis. If any of these seem a likely cause of your foot numbness, mention it to your doctor.
Treatment for Numb Feet
The bottom line concerning numb feet is you need to seek attention before it gets worse. And, since nerve damage can be permanent, early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in the relief you receive.
If you suffer from numb feet, contact the Davis Clinic of Chiropractic in The Villages community(R) today to learn more about our drug-free treatments for neuropathy and herniated discs both of which can cause numb feet.