If you’ve woken up in the morning with your legs in an awkward position, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced numbness in your feet. Numbness from an odd foot position that goes away when you stand up isn’t typically a cause for concern, but what if you’re experiencing frequent cases of numbness, or numbness when circulation shouldn’t be disrupted? Today, we take a closer look at why you may be experiencing foot numbness.
Common Problems Associated With Foot Numbness
Here’s a look at some health conditions that may result in acute or chronic foot numbness:
Temporary Nerve Compression – As we noted above, sitting in an awkward position can pinch nerves and blood vessels, and this can cause localized numbness. Moving around usually helps sensation return to the area.
Peripheral Neuropathy – Other health problems like diabetes or kidney disease can lead to damaged nerves, which can cause numbness. Damage from alcohol or vitamin insufficiency are other common causes of peripheral neuropathy.
Spine Problems – Shifted discs in your spinal column can compress nerves, or they can after your gait, which can also inhibit normal blood flow to your feet. Numbness in your feet doesn’t necessarily mean that the root issue is housed in your feet.
Peripheral Artery Disease – Build up of fat and cholesterol can narrow blood vessels, which can make it hard for oxygenated blood to reach your feet. This can in turn lead to foot numbness.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – This is a condition categorized by posterior tibial nerve compression as it passes through a small space between foot bones. Swelling, bone spurs or inflammation can contribute to this compression, which can lead to sharp pains or numbness in the area.
Treating Foot Numbness
The best way to treat foot numbness is by visiting a foot expert in your area. Your foot doctor will begin by conducting a physical exam of the foot and asking about your symptoms and medical history. From there, your doctor will conduct some diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of your numbness. X-rays, MRIs or CT scans are common ways doctors look for nerve compression or blood vessel damage.
After your doctor has come up with a diagnosis, they’ll walk you through your treatment options. Treatment plans are tailored to your specific situation, but oftentimes they involve conservative care techniques like exercise, diet modifications, stretching, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections.
If conservative care measures fail to treat the problem, a minimally invasive surgery may be necessary. A surgeon can free the compressed nerve or place a stint in the area to ensure healthy blood can continue to flow to your legs. Your surgeon will walk you through your specific surgical options and your recovery time should surgery become a necessity.