The big toe as the name suggests is the biggest toe of the foot. It is also called Hallux or great toe. The big toe plays a vital role in balancing the body especially while running and walking. It absorbs shock during an impact on the foot. There are several other functions great toe has to play in foot mechanics.
Numbness in big toe may appear to be a minor problem but it cannot be neglected as this may lead to problems affecting balance and coordination. Numbness in big toe is a symptom that may occur due to many causes.It is usually manifested as loss of sensation. It can be a temporary numbness or a chronic numb feeling. Loss of sensation in big toe also increases the risk of injury. Let us know the reasons of numb big toe.
Common Causes Of Numbness In Big Toe
There are numerous causes that may be responsible for numb sensation in big toe. However, lots of factors have to be taken into consideration to find the exact cause of numbness. For example the exact location of numbness and whether there is associated pins and needle feeling.
The duration of numbness, history of any type of toe injury etc needs to be checked. There can be associated discoloration of skin if it results from an injury. Below are given various causes of numb great toe.
- Perhaps most overlooked cause of numbness of big toe is improper shoes. Wearing narrow shoes for a long period of time regularly can put pressure on the toe, leading to tingling and numbness. Wearing tight shoes can also obstruct proper flow of blood to big toe resulting in numb feeling.
- Restricted blood circulation to feet and toe can lead to numbness in toes. If you keep your foot in wrong position for a long period of time while sitting, standing, blood circulation in foot can be affected. It gives rise to numb feeling.
- Nerve compression is another major factor for big toe numbness. You may feel loss of sensation and tingling when the nerve innervating big toe is compressed or injured. It can occur as a result of injury or fracture of the big toe.
- People suffering from diabetes are known to suffer from peripheral neuritis which may affect big toe. Diabetics should be more careful of numbness in toes as there is increased risk of injury to their toes due to lack of sensation.
- Gout is a type of inflammatory disorder. Usually in gout the big toe gets swollen and painful. It is a disease in which there is high level of uric acid in blood. The crystals of uric acid get deposited in the toe leading to pain, but sometimes there may be numbness for a long period and sudden onset of pain and swelling.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause tingling numbness in extremities, which also includes big toe. It occurs because deficiency damages the nerve function.
Treatment Options For Numbness In Big Toe
Treatment of numb big toe will depend on the cause.
- When bunion is the cause for big toe numbness, wearing broad toed shoes will help to reduce pressure. Even if the condition persists, corrective surgery may be required.
- When the cause of numbness is underlying diabetic neuropathy, controlling blood sugar will gradually help to reduce numbness. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to degeneration of nerves which in turn diminishes sensation in toes, including big toe.
- Supplementary vitamin B12 may be necessary if the cause is due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Also patient has to include foods in their diet that are rich source of vitamin B12. Eggs, red meat, fish, sea food, milk, are few foods that contain vitamin B12.
- Soak a piece of camphor in a tub containing water. Once camphor dissolves, put your numb big toe in the water for few minutes. It helps to reduce numbness and tingling sensation for a while.