Why is my little toe numb?
July 9, 2011 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Why does numbness in my little toe persist (and return) despite not wearing the offending shoes? tl;dr details below the break.

You are not my doctor/podiatrist.

About 3 weeks ago I bought a pair of Keen sandles. I loved them off the bat, wore them every day for about 4 days in a row. After day 3 I noticed an odd feeling along the outside ball of my right foot (near the pinky toe), not pain, but more like pressure.
At the time I thought I must have strained something, so I put my sneakers on for the rest of the night (I work about 13 hours a day, much of it on my feet).
The next day I put the Keens back on, and after a couple of hours I had the same issue, and also started noticing some numbness in my pinky toe.

I stopped wearing them altogether, and did a regimen of icing and ibuprofen, and it seemed to knock the issue down. Then, about 5 days ago, I had to spend a lot of extra time on my feet and started feeling the same thing again.

Being a good denizen of the 21st century, and perhaps a little bit of a hypochondriac, I googled "outside of the foot pain". I came across all sorts of things - Morton's Neuroma (I'm not diabetic, doesn't seem likely), metatarsalgia (doesn't seem to reflect the symptoms), peroneal tendonitis (which felt like the most likely cause, but the placement doesn't seem right).

At this point, it's not so much pain as a feeling of pressure in the outside ball of my foot, possibly some weakness in the toes, as well as numbness in my pinky toe. If I push down on the area, it feels like there is a tendon or nerve near the outside ball of my foot that I can sort of manipulate to one side or the other, and I feel the movements almost as if it were a nerve being pinched (because perhaps it is). It is definitely more palpable then the corresponding area on my left foot.

Anyhow, anyone have any experiences like this before?
I have a history of going to the doctor for inflammatory things like this, and the answer ends up being:
"ice it and take ibuprofen - and pay me $65"
I've been icing it and taking ibuprofen for the last few days. Should I just have more patience?

I'd rather not pay the $65 so I'm bringing this to the hive mind...
posted by aloiv2 to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
You don't have to have diabetes to have Morton's neuroma, just a foot injury (in my case, a broken toe) that damages the nerves.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:04 AM on July 9, 2011

Does your insurance include access to a nurse line? The call would be free and they can be more specific.
posted by bookdragoness at 1:50 PM on July 9, 2011

Have more patience--if there was a bit of nerve damage it takes considerable time for nerves to heal. Assuming you are fairly young there really is very little to worry about. If it continue past 6 weeks, weakness worsens/spreads or there is a substantial change in sensation then seek professional help. This does not strike me as anything indicative of a more serious illness (IANAD but I am 69). Hopefully you will save $65.00.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:37 PM on July 9, 2011

I have exactly what you are describing. Having played basketball for 25 plus years I have really beat up my feet, especially my little toe on my left foot.

I have been told by my doctor that because I already have a reduced blood flow to that area anything that further restricts the flow will bring the numbness and pain that you describe.

I gave up on my Keen sandals several years ago for this reason.

What I was told to do was to take Ibuprofen and keep my foot warm. Including wearing socks while I sleep. So I would think you might want to skip the icing.

I have also started purchasing shoes that have alot of room up front.
posted by pianomover at 4:49 PM on July 9, 2011

This happened to me with Merrell "athletic sandals" (with a heel, which I think was the problem: my body weight got shoved forward onto my pinky toes). I wore them for 4-5 days straight, while on vacation, and then after I switched to other shoes, I still couldn't feel one of my pinky toes (it was a similar pressure sensation to what you describe). It was numb for way longer than I would have expected (a month or two), long enough that I assumed the sensation would never return. It did, though, finally! I waited a year before wearing the shoes again, and now I don't do it for more than one day at a time. The numbness hasn't recurred.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:23 PM on July 9, 2011

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