What Doctor to See for Numbness in Toes

Feb 10, 2022

Have you ever been sitting in one position for too long and you notice your leg and foot “fall asleep?” That uncomfortable tingling sensation with part of your body “falling asleep” will typically get better once you change positions or move around for a little bit. You might try to put your weight on that foot and realize it has gone numb and feels too weak to stand up or move around right away. This type of sensation is not uncommon and typically resolves on its own within just a few minutes. But what do you do when you notice tingling and numbness in your toes and feet that won’t go away? There are many reasons why you might experience spreading numbness in your toes, from car accident injuries to health conditions like multiple sclerosis or diabetes. Pain, tingling, and numbness are often symptoms of a larger issue, and once you find out the root cause of the numbness in your toes, it will help you determine the best doctor to see.

What Conditions Can Cause Numbness in Your Toes?

Here are 9 examples of injuries and conditions that can lead to symptoms like numbness in your toes.

Car Accident Injuries

A car accident can cause significant damage to your vehicle along with your body. Whether you were in a small fender-bender or a multi-car collision, the force of impact can negatively impact your musculoskeletal system. Head, neck, and spinal injuries are common, along with foot and ankle injuries in car accidents. When another vehicle collides with yours, it can jolt and jostle your body around, damaging the bones and soft tissues that support your spine. The central nervous system is housed in the spinal column, and damage to this area can cause uncomfortable symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness to radiate into other parts of the body, even all the way to your toes.

Sports Injuries

Whether you play a team sport, run marathons, or consider yourself a weekend warrior, sports injuries can happen to anyone. People who participate in contact sports are more likely to suffer injuries that can impact the spine and nerves, causing painful and uncomfortable symptoms that can affect your healthy functioning and mobility. Damage to the spine or nerves in the body can cause uncomfortable symptoms like spreading numbness all the way to your toes and should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to avoid help permanent damage.

Nerve Damage

Nerves can become damaged for a wide variety of reasons, including injuries, infections, inherited conditions, and even certain medications or toxins. Damage to the nerves is known as neuropathy, and there are four different types, each of which affects different parts of the body and have a different set of effects on the body. Damage to the peripheral nerves, known as peripheral neuropathy, can occur with peripheral nerve injuries or from a variety of health conditions. When these peripheral nerves are damaged, it can cause numbness in your toes, along with other symptoms like pain, tingling, and weakness in your hands, fingers, toes, and feet.


Sciatica refers to a specific type of pain when the sciatic nerve is aggravated. The sciatic nerve is located near the base of the spine, and this nerve is responsible for sensory and motor functions throughout the lower half of your body. Aggravation or damage to the sciatic nerve can occur from injuries listed above, like car accidents or while playing sports. When the sciatic nerve is damaged, it can cause pain, tingling, and numbness that may feel like a stabbing sensation that moves through your hip and buttocks, through your leg, and all the way to your toes. Thus, it is possible for sciatica to cause numbness in your toes.

Herniated Disc

The spinal discs that separate the vertebrae in your spine help to absorb shock and everyday movements and pressure on the body. If a spinal disc becomes damaged or starts to degrade due to wear and tear on the body, the tough outer shell of the disc may crack and allow the soft, gel-like nucleus to leak from its center. This is known as a herniated disc and is sometimes referred to as a slipped disc or ruptured disc. When you have a herniated disc, the soft, inner part of the disc can slip out of the normal disc positioning and put pressure on nearby nerves. When these nerves are aggravated, it can cause shooting or stabbing pain and lead to uncomfortable symptoms like weakness and numbness in your feet and toes.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spinal column starts to narrow, which can end up putting too much pressure on structures of the spine like vertebrae, spinal discs, and nearby nerve roots. Spinal stenosis most commonly occurs in the neck and lower back where the vertebrae are smaller, and the spinal column is already narrower. If you develop spinal stenosis in your lower back, it can cause symptoms like pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness in your toes and feet.


There are several different types of arthritis, and two of the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis refers to swelling and inflammation that affects the joints, typically due to degeneration of the tissues and bones that make up the joints. Osteoarthritis typically develops in older adults and can cause symptoms like tingling and numbness in your joints and aggravate nearby nerves that communicate with your extremities, like your feet and toes. Rheumatoid arthritis also refers to swelling and inflammation in the joints, though this type of arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system starts to erroneously attack its own tissues. This type of arthritis can also lead to spreading numbness in the toes, and these symptoms can also be early signs of arthritis in the body.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, causing painful and debilitating symptoms as the disease progresses. Some of the first signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis include pain, spasms, tingling, and numbness. It is possible for people who have multiple sclerosis to deal with spreading numbness that affects the feet and toes. There are also links between peripheral neuropathy and multiple sclerosis because of how nerve damage can occur with this progressive disease.


Diabetes is another health condition with peripheral neuropathy as one of its symptoms. People with diabetes may experience weakness and numbness in their extremities, like the hands and feet. Issues with blood sugar levels can cause these symptoms, including spreading numbness to the toes. Diabetic neuropathy refers to nerve damage caused by diabetes, and it is most common in the legs and feet, especially during the early stages of the disease. Many people who have diabetic neuropathy, like numbness in the toes, say that their symptoms get worse at night.

Other Causes of Numbness in the Feet and Toes

In addition to serious health conditions and injuries, there are other reasons why you might be experiencing numbness in your feet and toes that may be managed with lifestyle changes and at-home remedies. Here are four examples of what else can cause numbness in your toes and feet.

Heavy Exercise

Athletes who train for long periods of time, especially while on their feet, can experience aggravation to the nerves that send signals to the feet and toes. Heavy exercise, overuse, and repetitive movements like running can also cause nerve damage in the feet.

Cold Temperatures

Extremely cold temperatures can start to impact your extremities first, like your fingers and toes. If you aren’t wearing socks and shoes and are outside in cold weather or are swimming or playing in cold water, your toes can temporarily lose sensation and become numb due to cold temperatures. This numbness typically subsides once the area warms back up, though extreme cold and lengthy exposure can also lead to frostbite.

Tight Footwear

You may also experience tingling and numbness in your toes from wearing footwear that is too tight or doesn’t fit properly. Whether you are wearing tight high heels for a special event or too-tight sneakers while working out, poor footwear can actually compress nerves and restrict blood flow to your toes, causing numbness. This can also make you more susceptible to an injury.

When to See a Doctor About Spreading Numbness

Moving around, changing your shoes, warming up your toes, or resting should help alleviate the numbness within a short period of time. If you can identify the obvious reason for the uncomfortable sensation, like too-tight shoes or spending too much time barefoot in chilly weather, then you can easily remedy the numbness. However, if you can’t figure out an obvious reason why you might have developed numbness in your toes and the sensation doesn’t seem to be going away, then you may want to visit a doctor for a physical examination. Your doctor will want to know when you started noticing the numbness in your toes, whether certain movements or techniques have helped to temporarily alleviate the numbness, and if anything has made the sensation worse. Your doctor will also want to know what medications you are taking to help rule out any potential side effects. The best way you can get lasting relief from spreading numbness is to identify the underlying cause.

What Type of Doctors Can Help with Numbness in Your Toes

When you keep experiencing numb toes, the type of doctor you see for treatment and care can depend on what is actually causing the sensation. Below are examples of different types of doctors at AICA Orthopedics and how they can assist you and provide you with effective treatments that address the root cause of your issue along with your symptom of numbness.

Orthopedic Doctors

Orthopedic doctors work with the musculoskeletal system and can help you with a wide range of health conditions and injuries. These doctors work with bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues and diagnose musculoskeletal conditions that are causing your symptoms. You may want to see an orthopedic doctor for numbness in your toes if you are dealing with a condition like multiple sclerosis or arthritis.


Neurologists are medical doctors that specialize in the nervous system and how it impacts the rest of the body. If the primary cause of numbness in your toes is due to nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy, then a neurologist can help. Neurologists utilize diagnostic tests that determine how the nerves are functioning in the body and how any nerve damage may be affecting your coordination, balance, and other motor and sensory skills.


Chiropractors offer non-invasive and all-natural treatment options for a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Chiropractors are most commonly known for working with the spine, though they can also help you experience lasting relief from pain, tingling, and numbness in other parts of the body. When you visit a chiropractor for uncomfortable symptoms like numbness in your toes, they can help determine the root cause and provide a personalized treatment plan without the use of invasive procedures or treatment techniques.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists can help you improve your strength, coordination, balance, and healthy functioning. People visit a physical therapist for a number of reasons, including preparing for an upcoming surgery, recovering from surgery, recovering from a recent injury, and improving physical fitness for a certain sport or activity. Physical therapy can help you through car accident injuries, sports injuries, and while managing pain and discomfort along with other symptoms like spreading numbness.


Depending on the root cause of your symptoms, you may want to see a doctor who specializes in a certain type of medicine. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, then a car accident doctor knows how to effectively recognize signs and symptoms of car accident injuries no matter where they occur in the body and get you started on a treatment plan that helps alleviate your symptoms while addressing the underlying cause.

At AICA Orthopedics, our team of multi-specialty doctors includes car accident doctors, sports injury doctors, spine doctors, and foot doctors who are highly knowledgeable in skilled in their specialty areas.



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