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Molly Maloof, MD

Director of Clinical Content

my foot

toes and ankle are getting numb.. I'm 78
  • 74 years old
  • Complaint duration: 90 days
  • Medications: none
  • Conditions: spine damage

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neuropathy is likely creating the problem
Given the very limited information, the ability of any physician to provide an accurate diagnosis is also going to be very limited. Typically numbness is a sign of a neurologic (nerve) condition, but circulation problems and other conditions can also initially present with numbness in addition to other findings. Classically, one of the first signs of diabetes can be numbness of the feet. In this case, there is nerve damage due to a physiologic condition that damages the nerve. Certain types of anemia, vitamin deficiencies, and lead poisoning are other examples. Other conditions that can produce numbness in the toes and ankle are due to a physical problem and can include a pinched nerve root in the spine (radiculopathy) or in the hip area (sciatica). There is a condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome which is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist where a nerve in the ankle is compressed under a large ligament. There is no mention of any pain in the foot or elsewhere in the body as well as any history of medical problems that may help guide the determination of the condition as well as the treatment. I would suggest scheduling an examination with either your primary care physician (e.g. internal medicine or family practice) to check for diabetes and then a board-certified podiatrist to evaluate for any physical problem that may be the cause of the symptoms.
There are a number of reasons you might be experiencing numbness in your feet and ankles. This could be a circulatory issue, or an issue related to the nerves, themselves, such as Tarsal Tunnel or Neuropathy. As I don't know your past medical history, it would be in your best interest to visit a local Podiatrist in your area to be evaluated.
If you are Diabetic this could be one of the reasons for numbness in the feet and ankles. Since you are over 70 y/o it could be spine related like Spinal Stenosis. This happens when there is narrowing of the spinal where the nerves are, when it narrows the pressure causes numbness etc.
Catherine Halinski
There are numerous possible causes for this condition, such as neurologic (spinal or other areas), metabolic (such as diabetes), nutritional, and many others. Your first move should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician and a neurologist.
If you have spine damage it can cause numbness in feet legs and toes. A neurologist can test the nerves and determine advise treatment options. A neurosurgeon could possibly repair the damage. The benefits and risks must be evaluated to determine the best course of treatment
Jerald Askin
Most numbness is a response to some sort of nerve injury. You don't mention what you mean by back problems but an injury at the root of the nerve can certainly cause these symptoms. If you found that the symptoms started in the toes and gradually worked toward the ankle they are more likely secondary to a condition termed peripheral neuropathy. Though less likely, circulation can be involved as well. Your best bet is to report the symptoms to your primary care provider and seek the source of the symptoms so that proper referrals can be made.
Gary Cramer
You should understand that loss of sensation anywhere in the body indicates that the nerve is being compressed. You need to see your spine doctor.
There are multiple explanations for numbness in the feet including back problems, diabetes, vitamin deficiency, etc. I would suggest that you seek advice from your primary care physician who can guide you to the correct specialist.
Eric L. Diamond
First rule out emergency medicine severe issue with peripheral neuropathy and also cardiovascular system. If needed, get necessary medical care for urgent issues found.

Now, once you've got that handled, the number one physician for you to see for your spine damage and peripheral nerve neuropathy, is to start off with structural based, sacral based chiropractor. Peer-reviewed medical research clearly indicates that chiropractic is the number one place to start for a non-emergency condition for which you present. I recommend finding a doctor of chiropractic

also, for excellent health reference, I highly recommend you watch the following video:

Best of luck to Sir/Miss,