When you cannot feel your toes it could be a sign of diabetic neuropathy – a kind of nerve damage associated with diabetes. But what if you do not have diabetes and still cannot feel some or most of your toes?
Personally, I had that problem for years- I honestly cannot remember when it started. It is not that I cannot feel all my toes but I do not seems to have the sensation of my last little toe on both legs. Even on for the second last toe also does not have sensation.
You know that you cannot really feel some of your toes when you will or intend them to move….and nothing happens.
The possible causes could be:
- diabetic neuropathy- it is best to have a blood test to verify if you have diabetes especially you have other family members who are diabetic.
- diet – a diet rich in sugar, raw food and cold drinks can cause numbness
- too much exercise
- too little exercise/ too inactive
For causes related to diabetes, there are already many medical explanations provided all over the web. In this article, I would focus more for those who do not have diabetes and is not sure why they have this issue.
A diet rich in sugar and the habit of taking ‘cold’ food or drinks often causes numbness. Even too much raw food can cause numbness.
Certain type of food is also notorious in causing numbness or muscle spasms in people but this may vary from one to another. For me, I never take cooked bamboo shoots (a diet available in small villages in South East Asia) and water spinach (kangkung). Just 5 minutes of eating it and I can feel my entire leg numb up. I would avoid these two vegetables as much as I can.
See my past article: Foods to Avoid if You Have Joint Pains or Arthritis
Too much exercise
One may wonder, how can too much exercise contribute make your leg numb. After all, exercise improves the circulation of the body so it does not make much sense to not be able to feel the feet or toes.
Yes, exercise is important and it is better than no exercise. I would include here an explanation involving qi/ chi which is something I have become much aware of after practicing qi related exercises (wai tan kung). If you have chi blockages in some part of your body, example lower back, buttocks, etc- and you continue to exercise and exercise, you would feel pain, or the opposite, numbness.
These blockages could come as the result of element imbalances, injuries, wrong posture, poor diet, etc.
Because chi, an invisible energy flowing through our body helps the blood to move nutrient and oxygen towards every part of your body. If the movement is blocked or limited, there is no much energy circulation that goes through towards the lower extremities.
Exercise or movement is important help to improve the circulation but too much exercise on such cases can be even a little detrimental.
Too little exercise
You would have known of someone does not exercise, and love to indulge in comfort foods (fattening food like ice cream, fatty food) who would always walk with stiffness or complain about pain or numbness. Even if the person watches what she eats, if she is not active, she may also suffer from this situation.
Exercise and movement are important- especially so for most of us who spend hours sitting in a fully air conditioned placed and glued to our PC.
How to overcome numbness in toes/feet
This method is unconventional and it something that I’ve discovered by myself while living in a forest near a stream. It was then, in the cold weather (forests are very cold during evenings and nights) that I became aware of how I could not feel my second last and last toe on both feet.
Using visualization, I breathe in and visualise my breath (or maybe it is my chi) moving to my stomach and travelling all the way down to my toes, going from the first big toe to the next, and next.
I had to try a few times before I got the hang of it.
But try as I might, I lost the sensation when it reaches my forth and fifth pinkie. I just do not have any sensation of these two toes and could not even will it to move. So it happened one day I was practicing and was at the river, so I picked up some small little stone and insert it to the gaps between my third, forth and fifth toes.
Still not much sensation. So I give it little pulls and thugs. Slowly and gradually, when I visualise my breath travelling to each toe, it could reach my forth and fifth toes.
You may not believe, saying this is pure imagination. But after that I could flex my forth and fifth toes at will just like I move my fingers …..when previously I had not been able to move or flex last toe. If you could not find any small pebbles, use something like a rubber eraser to put between the gaps of your toes. Then look at it and visualise your energy moving towards it- if nothing, then give it some gentle tucks and pull to have some sensation.
Perhaps you may find it hard to believe. But it really does work. In other forms, that is how people who practice qi gong or meditation can direct the energy or chi to heal their body and reduce the pain.
If you are diabetic and you feel your legs and feet are numb, aside from regularly checking that blood sugar level and taking your medication, you can try this simple visualisation exercise. If you have no sensation on your limbs, or calves or feet, gently massage them and let your mind be aware of the sensation it creates.
Chi travels where attention goes. It is also the invisible force that drives the movement of blood and oxygen to each part of our body.