This is a question we get fairly often from our patients at Podiatry Center of New Jersey. Unfortunately, there isn’t one straightforward answer. Not being able to fully feel your feet definitely poses a risk to your podiatric health. Being unable to perceive sensations accurately may result in a cut or puncture wound that doesn’t get detected promptly and may become infected. There’s also an increased chance of falling if you can’t feel your feet—think about what it’s like trying to walk on your foot when it’s fallen asleep.
Getting to the Source of the Problem
Our doctors will examine your feet, get a complete medical history and delve into details about your lifestyle and activities to get to the root of the numbness problem. Some common causes of numbness in the feet include:
Neuromas—these are benign growths of nerve tissue, sometimes called nerve tumors. They often develop on the ball of the foot between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas form when nerves get irritated and inflamed due to footwear that puts excessive pressure on the forefoot (such as high heels with narrow, pointy toes), injury or an abnormal foot structure. In addition to numbness you may experience extreme pain, burning and swelling in the affected area.
Peripheral Neuropathy—neuropathy is another word for nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the feet and hands) is often associated with diabetes. Because nerves are responsible for many different functions, patients with this condition may also notice very dry, cracked skin and difficulties with motor function or deformities such as bunions or hammertoes in addition to numbness.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)—the numbness that results from PAD is due to a decrease in circulation that limits the blood flow to your feet. This is caused by a buildup of plaque and cholesterol in the arteries and can affect other parts of your body as well as your feet. Other potential symptoms include cramping in the legs or feet, feeling like your feet are cold all the time and hair loss on your feet or toes.
Once the podiatrist determines the source of your numbness, he or she will prescribe the correct treatment to correct the root cause and improve your symptoms. If you are experiencing numbness in your feet, it’s important that you contact us today.
At Podiatry Center of New Jersey our team of doctors treat various conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, and pediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems, and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and dedicated staff, our 16 conveniently located offices provide individualized high-quality care for patients across Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Ocean, Passaic, and Union Counties. For all your foot and ankle problems, contact our Wayne, NJ office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.