Numb toe
January 29, 2007 6:54 PM   Subscribe

The tip of my left big toe* sometimes gets numb, down to the point about half-way down the nail, all around the toe. I can't see any cause for this. It's not injured or gangrenous. "What's up with that?" * someone else's left big toe
posted by Arcaz Ino to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
Your shoes are too small.
posted by caddis at 7:04 PM on January 29, 2007

Response by poster: It doesn't seem likely. My shoes are very comfortable, and the numbness often occurs when I've been barefoot indoors for a long while. Thanks though, I will investigate this possibility.
posted by Arcaz Ino at 7:12 PM on January 29, 2007

Did you consider gout?
posted by bkeene12 at 7:15 PM on January 29, 2007

I've had this on both feet. I went to a podiatrist and it was diagnosed as pressure on a nerve in the ball of my foot. Orthotics and some cortisone cleared it up for the most part.

Might not be your issue, but seeing a podiatrist should get you diagnosed properly.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:37 PM on January 29, 2007

Do you have diabetes? Seems a little to localized to be neuropathy, but...
posted by Dave Faris at 7:50 PM on January 29, 2007

The tip of my pinkie finger is similar, due to an irritated nerve from an arm injury. Could be that a nerve leading to that part of your toe is getting caught on something or pinched by something somewhere along its length (perhaps not that near your toe.) Worth having it looked at by a doctor, especially if the toe is weak as well as numb.
posted by escabeche at 8:16 PM on January 29, 2007

Does it just go numb, or does it also go white and seem to lose circulation?
posted by hippugeek at 8:28 PM on January 29, 2007

I fell out of a loft in college and I couldn't feel my big toe for about a year. I consulted metafilter and was satisfied that it was a nerve being ornery.
posted by adamwolf at 8:34 PM on January 29, 2007

Two words: Morton's neuroma. Numbness of the toes resulting from the metatarsals pressing on nerves. It's more common in the smaller toes, but still, you should look into this, especially since you say it tends to happen when barefoot. Anyway, for me at least, the problem comes while bicycling because of the increased pressure, but simple orthotics fixed everything. Check it out, at least. See a podiatrist.
posted by chinston at 9:04 PM on January 29, 2007

I wouldn't rely on it as a subsitute for a consultation, but might help
posted by bunglin jones at 10:25 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had the tip half of both big toes go numb for about a year as a teenager, but this was mostly the bottom of the toes. Eventually that stopped. I never looked into it much - one day I noticed each half of my toes was numb, but it never spread, so I never bothered caring.

I was having ingrown toenail surgery once sans anesthetic (the shot and the initial reaction to it hurt about as bad as the whole rest of the procedure) and the doctor asked me to be sure it was hurting, because he was wondering if I had diabetes. This was after the numbness left, but in any case the numbness was never that pronounced or in the area where the surgery takes place. It was indeed hurting, I just wasn't being a little bitch about it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:53 PM on January 29, 2007

I don't want to say to much out of respect for a loved ones privacy, but this is similar to the first symptom the person had of a progressive neurological condition. If it doesn't go away completely, and soon, at least get it checked out. BTW the podiatrist was the one who realized there was a greater issue. I'm sure you're not in the same boat, but don't ignore your body when it's trying to tell you something.
posted by nenequesadilla at 12:05 AM on January 30, 2007

Reynaud's Disease? I've had it forever, and lately the creepy whiteness has been much less pronounced, but I still get some mild tingling and numbness. The tips of my toes and fingers are the first things to go numb.
posted by robinpME at 7:18 AM on January 30, 2007

My Mom had that a few years ago. It turned out to be neuropathy. Basically, she's slowly going numb from the bottom up. Now she has trouble feeling her feet.

Her brother and sister have it, too, so they're thinking it's genetic, though.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:25 AM on January 30, 2007

Get a blood sugar test, if possible. It could be an early warning sign of diabetes.
posted by hedgehog at 10:28 PM on January 30, 2007

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