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Understanding Foot Numbness and Tingling

Tingling or numbness in the feet are abnormal sensations caused by damaged, diseased, or inflamed nerves. This is known as a neuropathy and symptoms may include weakness, burning, and pain in addition to a lack of sensation or a feeling of ‘tingling.’

Diabetes is the most common cause of foot neuropathy. Physical trauma is another major culprit—injuries such as those incurred during an auto accident or sports activity can lead to the compression of or damage to the nerves. Disc injuries from a trauma may also put pressure on the nerves and cause numbness and tingling in the feet.

Sciatica is a condition that is often associated with neuropathy. The symptoms of sciatica follow a path from the lower back down the back of the legs and thighs to the ankle, foot, and toes. This usually occurs on only one side—affecting one foot—but can also happen bilaterally (in both feet).

Any factor—including problems with the bones, ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles—can lead to neuropathy in the feet. When inflammation and swelling constrict the limited space through which nerves must pass, the information relayed between the brain and the body is interrupted.