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Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy?

Discussion in 'Type 2 Diabetes' started by RobsterinSheff, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. RobsterinSheff

    RobsterinSheff · Well-Known Member

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    Hi all

    I had my last foot exam in late May. In late June I went to China for 2 weeks and for the second (touristy) week I was walking 3-5 hours a day.

    After a couple of days of this I noticed that the underside/ outer part of both my big toes had become what I can only describe as numb'ish- so that cotton wool type feeling that other posters have mentioned. Some sensation but certainly some lost.

    I put this down to the massive increase in intensive-walking compared to the 30-45 minutes per day I am used to.

    But- two weeks after I returned there has been no discernible change. Yes it has not got worse: but the loss of sharp/ clear sensation in the patch on each big toe is basically unchanged.

    I am concious of trying not to get into the 'everything happening to me/ every symptom is to do with my diabetes' mindset that many posters warn about. But should I arrange an appointment with my GP about this? The next one is due on August 6th following my first HBA1C since diagnosis.

    Any opinions much appreciated.
     
  2. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    Good question - I walk a lot and I have a slight numbness in the outsides of my big toes and the underneath.
    Left toes slightly more than right.
    I do have some thick skin there, though.
    My BG control is reasonable - within NICE guidelines - so I hope it is not the start of neuropathy (but I have wondered).
    The tops of the big toes are still sensitive and the other toes also seem O.K. so it may just be a build up of dead skin (I hope).
    I mentioned it at my last check but the DN didn't seem to think it was an issue.
    However a podiatrist (has anyone seen one?) might be more qualified to comment.

    My big toes do seem to still be healthy - I had a stupid running accident a while back and bashed the ends of both toes such that there was blood under the nails and general bruising.
    They seem to have healed fine and the nails are growing out so I assume the blood supply is still good and the tissues are still healthy.
    So what is going on?

    Can someone out there who has had a diagnosis of neuropathy enlighten us to the first signs?

    Cheers

    LGC
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  3. Grazer

    Grazer · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    I have the same thing which might be due to pedalling on my exercise machine.
    Yes, that could do it, and if you damage nerves in this way it takes months to recover. Personally, i wouldn't bother about a GP visit unless it was really troubling, because even if it was mild neuropathy, the advice is to get good control over your Bgs which is what we're trying to do anyway! There's no magic pill as far as I know, and no real treatment other than pain relief if it's bad. So if you have well controlled BGs, you're doing your best anyway.
    I do think I sometimes get tinglings and start wondering about my diabetes when I would have not even noticed it before diagnosis!
     
  4. Spiral

    Spiral · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    I have tarsal tunnel syndrome, the foot equivalent of carpal tunnel syndrome. I have some loss of sensation on certain parts of my foot as a result, but not on the top of my toes. It has been far worse on my right foot, I injured the ball of my foot in a car accident about 5 years ago and have recently had an operation to recify the damage.

    At around the time I was diagnosed I think I had some neuropathy in my toes, but getting my blood glucose down and losing a large amount of weight helped this considerably. I think the remaining sensation problem is probably the tarsal tunnel syndrome.

    My foot problems are made worse by being flat footed and by the "over pronation". I have orthotics and this includes an arch support - this has helped a lot. I wish I knew what I know now, about the importance of dealing with being flat footed, when I was in my 20s :( If your feet are not right, it will affect everything else above. My back problems are related to my gait.

    If you are having problems with your feet, see a podiatrist rather than a doctor. My experience is that doctors don't refer on promptly and don't seem to understand the potentially serious nature of foot problems.

    The other thing you should do is wear properly fitted and supportive shoes with a decent amount of cushioning on the sole. The podiatrist can advise you about shoes.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. RobsterinSheff

    RobsterinSheff · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    Thanks everyone.

    I also have a bad case of flat-footedness and had not considered getting shoe inserts etc. or that this might be something I needed to consider given how for us T2s foot management is so important. Doh!

    I am going to keep up with BG control and wait till next arranged GP visit on 6th August: and ask him to refer me to a podiatrist.
     
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  6. Spiral

    Spiral · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    You can refer yourself to the podiatry service as you are diabetic. Just call your surgery to find out the number.

    And another thing, since my foot op in April, I have had to pay far more attention to the size of my socks. Make sure they are not too tight, they may well shrink in the wash. I have thrown a lot of socks out since then.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. RobsterinSheff

    RobsterinSheff · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    Ah- did not know that (like on another thread I had not realised I could get my strips VAT free)!

    I will call tomorrow - cheers.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. bellapodus

    bellapodus Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    Went to Leeds and Reading Festival last year, stood in a field all day for Leeds on barrier and ended up with someone banging behind my left knee which consequently went into the metal barrier repeatedly. Funnily enough all that standing/banging/lack of lower leg movement caused the big toe (plus the one next to it) on my left foot to go numb but it cleared up after 2 months and came back to life. I assume it was the same as this.
     
  9. Spiral

    Spiral · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    Not really - similar symptoms (numb toe), very different cause and probably treatment.

    If you are diabetic, you need to get any problems with your feet properly checked.
     
  10. blothom

    blothom Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    Not sure if it always a sign of neuropathy, but I would advise you to see a podiatrist. Any lack of feeling/sensation can lead to you not noticing other changes, ie infections. I got an infection in my big toe, but, because it didn't hurt, I didn't notice it until it swelled up, turned purple and squishy! (And still no pain, natures warning signal) By the time I realised I had a problem, it was too late, and the toe was amputated. Needless to say I am now very aware of my feet, and taking better care of my diabetes! :?
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. Thundercat

    Thundercat Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Are slightly numb big toes *always* a sign of neuropathy

    If you have any concerns at all about yoir feet you should go see your doctor. Far better to be safe than sorry

    Sent from the Diabetes Forum App
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. kimbelina

    kimbelina Type 1 · Member

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    I will echo the comments that say get it checked out, just in case. But this is something that I get at regular, if infrequent, intervals. Numb toes, or odd feelings in them, or pain of varying kinds, or a weird kind of numbness where I can merely stroke my toes and they really hurt! Anyway, I don't know if I have some hidden problems, but I pass every foot exam with flying colours, and the doctors say that it's nothing to worry about...!
     
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  13. Moosepig

    Moosepig Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I have a freezing sensation deep inside the pads of the balls of my feet, which is very uncomfortable and almost painful. I told my DN and she told me to keep an eye on the sensations in my feet in case it deteriorates. I wondered if reflexology or a foot massage would help me. Maybe that would help you too?
     
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  14. sunshine84

    sunshine84 Type 1 · Active Member

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    I had some numbness on the inside of one toe last year and terrified myself that it was neuropathy! However, a trip to the gp and an examination later told me I had damaged a nerve in my foot from playing a lot of netball that season and going dancing a lot in high heels! A couple of months later after wearing flat shoes and not running round the netball court and my toe was totally recovered! Always best to get it checked out from the professionals!

    Sent from the Diabetes Forum App
     
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  15. mekalu2k4

    mekalu2k4 Parent · Well-Known Member

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    Yes, 3-5 hours of walking is too much. Is it in the sun or in shade? Most mid-range athletes take one day complete rest after 2 days of rigorous training [5hours workouts per day], which means eat and sleep.

    whatever it is, first of all 3-5hours of walking make you extremely dehydrated. Not sure what is your body weight and BMI, especially your upper body weight. A lot of heat will be generated after 1hour of walk, but you are doing another 2 hours which means there is continuous stress on muscles and nerves in the legs.

    You did not mention about your diet, water consumption, energy drinks, rest hours in the night etc.

    Just give a couple of days of rest if possible to see the results. If you must continue, take breaks in between and consume lots of water. Sipping drinks like gatorade now and then [not too much] will help a lot.

    keep us posted on your status
     
  16. mcdonald

    mcdonald · Newbie

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  17. mekalu2k4

    mekalu2k4 Parent · Well-Known Member

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    Hi OP,
    what is the status of your toes now? Hope you got some help and everything is normal.
     
  18. oldnevada

    oldnevada Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I've been on Metformin for a couple of years. Recently, my toes started going numb, but that coincided with my BS going up again even on the Metformin. My MD added Glyburide to my treatment and the numbness vanished. But my BS values have been terrific since. I cycle often, usually between 18 and 28 km. (~ 3 times a week)
     
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  19. JIMBO1944

    JIMBO1944 · Member

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    When first diagnosed type 2 I attended podiatrist privately she told me my feet were in good condition but advised to massage every time I showered and use cheap hand cream and now when I am checked I get praised for condition of my feet, I asked 1 podiatrist re some hard skin on ball of toes I said what about pumis stone YES he said but be gentle with it.

    TRY Massage with cream and you will gradually notice a big difference I'm sure.
    Suggest sit with partner and do each others feet MMMMMMM.
     
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  20. latvianchick

    latvianchick Type 1 · Member

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    The other thing to think about is - do your shoes fit properly? Constant pressure, tightness etc, especially when walking can also cause numbness. Podiatrist pointed this out to me, I changed my shoes and hey presto, have my feeling back, though it can take a little while.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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