Numbness in your feet can be a serious concern, particularly if it persists over several weeks or months without relief. Unlike temporary numbness caused by sitting on a foot for too long or pinching a nerve briefly, this type of numbness in your feet can be an indication of significant health concerns. If your numbness and discomfort is more significant, though, it may be a sign of a medical condition that you need to address. Here are a few different types of conditions you should talk with your doctor about at a podiatrist clinic.
If you're experiencing numbness in only one foot, that's often the result of circulatory problems like peripheral artery disease. It's a common condition in older people, because their arteries often narrow over time. This narrowing can be caused by age, but is also caused by poor dietary choices.
Veins also play a role in numbness in your feet. Sometimes, the numbness is caused by a condition like deep vein thrombosis. This can be a serious cause for concern, because deep vein thrombosis can actually cause blood clots to form in other parts of your body. If you have reason to suspect this as part of your foot numbness, you should get a medical exam right away. There are other conditions that affect your veins, and many of these could also be to blame for your numbness. For example, arteriovenous malformation causes inflammation, vein tangling and clotting.
Persistent cold temperatures can also cause numbness, but if you've been in extreme cold for a long time, it could be more serious. This type of exposure could lead to frostbite, which may cause long-term damage to your feet.
Sometimes, numbness in your feet can be caused by orthopedic problems, such as back injuries. Sciatica, herniated disks and spinal stenosis can all cause radiating pain and numbness, potentially spreading to your feet.
Spinal injuries can cause nerve damage which can also contribute to numbness and weakness. Older individuals feeling these symptoms may be suffering from osteoporosis, which may require bone-strengthening treatments to help treat. If your podiatrist can't see anything obviously wrong with your feet and ankles, you may need to talk with an orthopedic specialist to find out if there's spinal problems contributing to your discomfort.
Another common cause of discomfort and numbness in the feet is a neurological disorder. Whether you are experiencing numbness in one or both feet, it could be due to peripheral or diabetic neuropathy. This is nerve damage that can occur in people of all ages. In fact, diabetes has been proven to cause significant nerve damage, discomfort and even numbness in feet. In severe cases, it can lead to a need for amputation of an entire foot.
In addition to these conditions, most podiatrists and general practitioners will look to rule out conditions like vitamin deficiencies, lupus and even Multiple Sclerosis as the cause of your numbness. Vitamins like B12 can cause anemia if you're deficient, and that can cause some of these symptoms as well.
If your numbness comes on rapidly and you also start experiencing dizzy spells or slurred speech, you'll need to seek treatment right away, as these can be signs that you have suffered a stroke. Your primary care doctor will need to see you in this case, not a podiatrist.
Your podiatrist can help you narrow down the root cause of numbness and other nerve problems in your feet, but these are some of the most common reasons for the discomfort. If you have any reason to believe that one of these conditions could be to blame, talk with your podiatrist about treatment options.