Numb Toes? Don’t Blame It On The Coming Weather

Numb Toes

Cold, numb toes could be a sign of something more serious than the coming winter weather.

The coldest time of the year is fast approaching, and that has us all preparing to turn up the heat and put on an extra pair of socks!

It’s easy to blame cold or numb feet on the coming winter months. But if your feet seem to always feel numb and cold, it could be a sign of a medical condition. Here are some possible causes of numb feet:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Raynaud’s Phenomenon
  3. Metatarsalgia
  4. Morton’s Neuroma
  5. Peripheral Artery Disease
  6. Peripheral Artery Disease



Cold and numb feet are a common sign of poor circulation. Diabetes can cause damage to small blood vessels, limiting circulation and causing a type of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. In addition to numbness, you may also feel tingling or pain.

People with diabetes must take extra care with their feet. Numbness from diabetic neuropathy can mask foot injuries that would otherwise be painful, and poor circulation can slow healing and allow infections to develop. A podiatrist can help recommend diabetic shoes and socks, provide thorough examinations, and treat any diabetic foot issues before they become serious.


Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a type of reaction to cold weather or stress, where the body limits circulation to the extremities. This can cause cold hands and feet, with a noticeable loss of color to the skin.

This condition can be harmless, with no underlying cause, but it can also be linked to certain autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. While Raynaud’s is not usually treated directly, you should see a doctor to address the cause. If arthritis is causing joint pain in your feet or ankles, a podiatrist may suggest solutions to help support and protect your feet.



Metatarsalgia is an injury of the forefoot that usually results in pain. It can feel like you’re constantly stepping on a stone, so some people refer to it as a “stone bruise.” Another common symptom of metatarsalgia is numbness or tingling in the toes.

Treatment usually involves ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medicine, but your podiatrist may also recommend orthotic inserts or certain tendon stretches. Advanced cases may need steroid injections.


Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma is a swollen, inflamed nerve between the metatarsal bones of the foot. This can feel like a pinched nerve and is often uncomfortable, sometimes feeling like a rock in your shoe. Tingling and numbness can also occur in the ball of your foot and spread to one or two of your toes.

The causes of neuromas can range from poor-fitting shoes to a functional problem with your feet, like high arches. A podiatrist can determine if the source of your pain is a neuroma, and will recommend a treatment option that addresses the underlying cause. Surgery or cortisone injections may be necessary to provide relief.


Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also referred to as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), is the result of narrow or blocked blood vessels in the extremities. It’s primarily caused by atherosclerosis, a fatty buildup in the arteries.

Diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure increase your risk for peripheral artery disease. Cold, numb toes is a common symptom.

It’s essential to see a physician and monitor this condition closely. People with peripheral artery disease have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.

Your podiatrist can perform a simple test to determine if you have PAD. If your results indicate an abnormal ankle-brachial index (ABI), your podiatric physician may order additional tests to determine the extent of your PAD. Exercise and diet are important components of treatment, along with medication.


Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TTS) is a less-common condition that can cause numbness in the foot or toes. TTS can occur when swelling, injury, or cysts compress the tibial nerve, which runs through the ankle. Along with numbness, patients also experience tingling, burning, or pain.

Conditions like TTS may cause permanent nerve damage if they’re not treated in time. It’s important to see a podiatrist as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.

If you’re feeling persistent numbness in your feet or toes, don’t blame it on the cold weather! You should make an appointment with a podiatrist and discuss your symptoms. Your podiatrist has an in-depth knowledge of common and uncommon conditions that can cause cold, numb feet. The underlying issue can often be treated with simple, non-invasive options that will bring you relief.

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