Individuals who run regularly have experienced foot numbness and pain at some point. Even though in most cases, the pain is the initial symptom and plantar fasciitis or stress fracture are the most common causes. Always bear in mind that foot numbness is also a frequent occurrence and often localized at the base or bottom of one or both feet.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
The lower body counterpart of carpal tunnel syndrome is tarsal tunnel syndrome which causes foot numbness particularly in the base of the heel due to compression of the posterior tibial nerve that supplies the region.
The usual causes for the condition include abnormal growths such as bone spurs or cysts, wearing tight shoes and biomechanical issues such as over pronation. The treatment measures include adequate rest, orthotics, steroid injections and even surgery in some cases.
Various footwear issues can result to foot numbness. Tying the shoe laces too tightly is one of the frequent cases of foot numbness but this usually affects the top part of the foot.
Using shoes that are too tight in the heel area can compress the nerve that supplies the soles of the foot, resulting to diminished level of sensation that ranges from tingling to numbness. It is also recommended to try out various lacing techniques or change shoes to alleviate this issue.
A neuroma is described as thickening of the tissue that surrounds a nerve. When it comes to Morton’s neuroma, it involves the nerve that travels between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal bones of the foot. Always bear in mind that this nerve can end up irritated chronically among runners who overpronate or have structural abnormalities such as hammer or claw toes.
Runners usually experience foot numbness and pain in the ball of the foot. Running on hard surfaces and using tight shoes can worsen the issue which is managed using metatarsal padding, ultrasound, orthotics or surgery.
Even though most cases of foot numbness can be linked to an issue with the nerve supply to the region, disruption in the supply of blood either in the foot or at a region higher up in the body can result to similar symptoms in the base of the foot.
The usual culprits include hardening of the arteries, poor diet, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and cold weather. The treatment usually involves dealing with the underlying problem with medications, lifestyle modifications or both.