If your big toe is numb, you are not alone. Big toe numbness is a problem we treat every week in our Seattle foot and ankle clinic. It’s actually a very common problem that is usually easy to treat. If your big toe is numb, contact us for an appointment.
What Causes Big Toe Numbness?
The most common cause of a numb big toe is a condition called functional hallux limitus. This simply means that your big toe doesn’t bend up the way it should when you take a step. With every step your big toe joint should bend about 80 degrees. When this doesn’t happen (you can read why this occurs on the hallux limitus page) you are forced to roll off of the side of the big toe. This puts a lot of pressure on the side of the toe and causes compression on the nerve that runs in this area. This compression damages the nerve and leads to the numb big toe. Sometimes just the outside of the toe is numb and in other cases most of the toe becomes numb.
Treatment of Big Toe Numbness
To treat this problem we have to correct the biomechanical abnormality that causes hallux limitus so that your big toe joint can move through a full range of motion. We do this by using an orthotic device that is designed to help the big toe joint move normally. This takes a very specific type of orthotic. It is the same orthotic prescription that is used to treat bunions and you can read here how orthotics should be made to help big toe numbness.
The orthotics will take the pressure off the nerve and after a few months most patients start to get the feeling back in the toe. If you continue to wear the orthotics, the problem will usually not return. Although this specific orthotic is the best treatment for the problem, you can also try prefabricated orthotics. They don’t free up the motion in the big toe joint as well as a custom orthotic, but they can help. You can learn about the best prefabricated orthotics and other self-treatment hints for big toe numbness here.
There are less common causes of big toe numbness including nerve entrapments, peripheral neuropathy and other conditions. Be sure to have any numbness checked by a doctor.
Don’t live with big toe numbness. Contact us today for an appointment in our Seattle foot clinic.
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Douglas Hale, DPM & Lawrence Huppin, DPM
Foot and Ankle Center of Washington, Seattle
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