What causes foot numbness? You know, that horrible “pins and needles” sensation you keep getting in your feet (and sometimes hands), that takes forever to go away. Don’t ignore painful tingling in the extremities, because it could be a sign of a severe injury or underlying illness. If you frequently experience foot numbness throughout the day, then alert your doctor immediately. Here are some possible causes of foot numbness.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for your nerves- it helps to maintain myelin, a fatty substance that coats the nerve cells of your brain and spinal cord, insulating them from inflammation and exposure to viruses. Myelin also supports communication between the nerve cells, providing a slick surface for quick and effective delivery.
When you don’t have enough vitamin B12 to maintain myelin, the result is a breakdown of the myelin sheath, called demyelination, which impairs your nervous system functioning. Vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia, is a common cause of foot numbness, painful tingling, and other forms of nerve damage that occur when the myelin sheath become diminished.
To treat foot numbness caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, it is essential to replenish your vitamin B12 levels immediately. Many supplements like vitamin B12 shots, sublingual vitamin B12, or other over-the-counter (OTC) nonedible forms of vitamin B12 are effective for getting your vitamin B12 levels back to normal.
Pernicious Anemia- Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Nerve Rattling- Peripheral Neuropathy
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS), like pernicious anemia, is also a demyelinating disease, but it is much rarer and more detrimental. Peripheral nerve damage from MS goes beyond foot numbness, and causes difficulty walking, manipulating your arms and legs, or controlling your bladder.
Because of its similarity to symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, patients of MS are advised to have their vitamin B12 levels checked routinely, in addition to receiving treatments for muscles spasms, fatigue, or foot numbness caused by multiple sclerosis.
Painful Tingling in Hands and Feet- What’s Up with That?
If you suffer from diabetes, then you may experience frequent foot numbness, tingling in the hands and feet, or sore tongue. This is a sign of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes).
It’s worth noting that if you take metformin, a popular diabetes medication, then you are at high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, another common cause of nerve damage, as mentioned earlier.
See your doctor if foot numbness occurs frequently, and also ask for vitamin B12 blood screening, as well.
Managing Diabetes and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you had chickenpox as a child, then you may develop shingles in your old age. In addition to foot numbness, other symptoms of shingles include painful burning skin rash, blistering, fever, and joint pain.
A herniated disk occurs when a disk in your spine slips and causes nerve pressure. Symptoms of herniated disk in the lower back include sharp pain in the hips and legs, in addition to foot numbness or weakened leg muscles.
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