Numb toes and feet

12/23/2009 - Questions and Answers

Numb toes and feet

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Question

My feet and legs are numb and it feels like they are asleep all the time. It started with tingling and numbness in the toes. I have been seeing my family doctor and a neurologist and we are getting nowhere.

They have done MRIs, scans and many tests. They lean a little towards shingles. What do you think?
 

Answer

We can understand your concern and frustration. Nevertheless, it's important to be investigated by doctors who can examine you. All we can do is provide general information which may possibly be helpful to you in further consultations.
 

These are some of the conditions which can cause numbness in the feet and legs:
- Injury to a nerve supplying the lower limb. For instance, a low back injury can cause sciatica - a sensation of numbness or tingling down the back of your leg.
- Lack of blood supply to the area. For example, plaque buildup from atherosclerosis in the legs can cause pain, numbness, and tingling while walking (this is called claudication).
- Pressure on spinal nerves, like that from a herniated vertebral disk.
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, underactive thyroid, multiple sclerosis, seizures, or migraines.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Diabetes can cause peripheral nephropathy, but it's likely that your doctors have excluded this possibility.
 

Shingles is often a painful condition. The pain may continue after the rash has cleared, sometimes lingering for weeks, months or even years. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia. It is more likely in older people and in people who had a severe rash. The pain may be continuous and burning with increased sensitivity in the affected areas, or a spasmodic shooting type, or, rarely, of an itchy, crawling variety. The overlying skin is numb or exquisitely sensitive to touch.
 

The links below may be helpful to you in learning more about your problem.

 

Related Links
MedlinePlus: Numbness and Tingling
Variety of Health Concerns Can Cause Numb Feet
BUPA: Shingles

Created on: 10/30/2004
Reviewed on: 12/23/2009

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