Hey doc, what about this numbness in my foot? Should I worry about it?
Having aches and pains, here and there, is a normal part of life. The same goes for numbness. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, a nerve will get irritated, and the result is numbness or tingling in the distribution of that nerve and the muscles it supplies. If it is bothersome to you, interferes with your activities, or is associated with pain or weakness, then we can try to figure out why it is happening to you.
The first step is a thorough exam and taking a good history from you. We try to discern clinically whether your numbness appears to be related to a peripheral irritation of the nerves or whether it is from compression at the spine level. We may draw some labs to see if there is a chemical imbalance or a deficit of essential vitamins. We may order a MRI of your spine or the region where you have numbness. We may even order studies that our Neurology colleagues provide. These studies can asess the sensory conduction of the nerve and the innervation of the those nerves to your muscles. Once we have a better idea of why the numbness occurs for you, then we can formulate a plan. And that could be a referral to physical therapy, vitamin supplements, medications for neuropathic pain, or injections.
It is always good to run any concerns by your primary care physician first. He or she can do a lot of the leg work prior to save you some time and money. That being said, we are here for you and always happy to answer any questions you have.