The Other Reasons Your Feet Feel Numb

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

nervous systemMany things in life can have multiple causes. This can be part of what makes managing your foot health challenging. There are many potential culprits for the pain you feel, so you have to be examined carefully to get an accurate diagnosis. This includes checking out burning and tingling from neuropathy. It’s not always caused by diabetes—and you need to know the true source of your condition to get accurate treatment.

Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy problems in the feet and toes, but it’s not the only source of the problem by any means. Other diseases, illnesses, injuries, and even nutrition problems can contribute to nerve damage. Here are a few of the other reasons your feet might be numb or painful from neuropathy:

  • Even if you don’t have a diabetes diagnosis, too much sugar in your diet may still cause inflammation that damages your nerves.
  • Nerve compression at various fibro-osseous tunnels is seen daily at our office. It generates pain manifested as burning, tingling, and numbness, as seen in carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand and tarsal tunnel syndrome in the ankle and foot.
  • Autoimmune diseases – Many autoimmune disease affect the nerves, or have side effects that damage nerves, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • Infections – Some viral and bacterial infections affect nervous tissue, including Lyme disease, shingles, hepatitis C, leprosy, and HIV.
  • Injuries – Serious injuries can pinch, compress, or otherwise damage some nerves. Broken bones and excessive swelling are the most likely to cause trouble.
  • Tumors and cancer – Tumor growth can pinch nerves, while cancer might attack the nervous tissue directly.
  • Vitamin deficiencies – The B vitamins, vitamin E, and niacin are crucial for nerve health. Without enough of them, you can lose some feeling in your feet.
  • Alcoholism – Extreme alcohol excess tends to dull and destroy nervous tissue.
  • Poisons and medications – Certain medications, like chemotherapy, have unintended side effects that damage nerves. Ingesting poisons like insecticides can affect your nervous system as well.

The key to getting the right care and minimizing the damage is to get the problem diagnosed right away. That way any underlying issues can be addressed and the nerve pain can be managed. Don’t wait for your feet to be numb, and risk complications like ulcers that can lead to infection and even amputations, to get help for neuropathy. Let our team of nerve experts at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX, help you take care of your lower limbs. A past president of the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons, Dr. Parker is Houston’s leading expert in surgical and non-surgical treatment of peripheral neuropathy.

Make an appointment online or call (281) 497-2850 to reach us today.

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