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I Have Numbness and Tingling in My Feet: Why?

I Have Numbness and Tingling in My Feet: Why?

Numbness and tingling are warning signs you should never ignore because they mean you have a nerve problem (neuropathy). The nerve conditions that most often affect your feet don’t heal on their own, but with diligent treatment, you can avoid progressive nerve damage, pain, and serious complications.

As experts in pain management, physical medicine, and rehabilitation, the Florida Pain Medicine team has extensive training in managing nerve conditions and helping patients stay active and healthy. Here, they explain why you might have uncomfortable foot sensations.

Causes of tingling and numbness in your feet

An irritated, inflamed, pinched, or damaged nerve (peripheral neuropathy) causes tingling (a pins and needles sensation), burning, and pain or numbness.

Peripheral neuropathy has many possible causes, ranging from autoimmune diseases, infections, and kidney disease to vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, and traumatic injuries. But when neuropathy involves your feet, it most often arises from:

Foot problems

Bone spurs, bunions, arthritis, and hammertoes can easily pinch a nerve. Or, you could have an overgrowth of nerve tissue in your foot (neuroma).

However, foot conditions have symptoms in addition to tingling and numbness. Foot problems nearly always cause pain and affect your ability to walk or wear shoes, not to mention you can see the bone deformities of bunions and hammertoes.

Lower back conditions

Lower back problems like herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis frequently pinch the spinal nerves (lumbar radiculopathy). Radiculopathy causes symptoms along the entire nerve, including in your feet.

Radiculopathy may only cause foot symptoms. But it usually causes back pain, along with tingling and pain in your leg as the nerve travels from your lower back to your feet.

Blood vessel disease

Two blood vessel diseases — clogged leg arteries (peripheral vascular disease) and a vein condition (chronic venous insufficiency) — restrict blood flow in your lower leg. The limited blood supply damages the nerves, leading to tingling, numbness, and pain in your foot.

Without treatment, vascular conditions frequently cause wounds in your lower leg. Vascular ulcers don’t heal without intensive wound care, making them one of the top causes of severe infections and gangrene.


Peripheral neuropathy most often occurs due to diabetes, affecting nearly half of everyone with the disease. Neuropathy develops because high blood sugar damages the small nerves in your feet.

The earliest signs of diabetic neuropathy are tingling, burning, and pain in your feet. If the nerve damage progresses, you lose sensation, and numbness sets in.

The tingling and pain may range from mild to severe. Losing sensation may feel like you finally have relief from the other symptoms, but numbness is especially dangerous.

High blood sugar doesn’t just affect your nerves. It also damages blood vessels in your feet. A diminished blood supply hinders wound healing, while numbness prevents you from feeling any problems.

As a result, a small foot wound, such as a tiny cut, abrasion, callus, or bruise, quickly develops into an open ulcer.

Like vascular ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers won’t heal without medical treatment. The open wound enlarges, putting you at risk for skin and bone infections. Diabetes and peripheral vascular disease cause more than half of all surgical limb amputations.

Improving tingling and numbness in your feet

The first step is treating the condition damaging the nerves (if possible). The peripheral nerves may heal after the underlying cause is successfully treated.

Specialists treat foot and vascular conditions. Back problems typically require a minimally invasive procedure to repair the underlying problem.

Diabetes can’t be cured, but you can keep your blood sugar in the healthy range with diet, exercise, and medications. Though the existing nerve damage in your feet won’t heal, managing your blood sugar prevents future nerve injury.

Our team offers comprehensive care for nerve problems, including numerous treatments that ease your symptoms, promote healing, and restore pain-free mobility. A few examples include:

Call the nearest Florida Pain Medicine office, or book online today if you need help with foot tingling, numbness, or pain.

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