Tingling in Toes – Sign of Neuropathy or Poor Circulation?

Tingling in Toes

Tingling in toes and feet is incredibly common. For instance, bad circulation arising from simply lying in certain positions such as sitting on the feet happens anytime that circulation is challenged due to pressure. And, bad circulation can also be caused simply from a sedentary lifestyle. Those who have occupations that involve long periods of sitting can often experience the symptoms of poor blood circulation as a lack of physical activity can create problems for blood that is already gravitationally challenged in its efforts to make its way back up to the heart. A lack of exercise which can contribute to poor circulation, robs the body of the secondary pumping action of the muscles of the lower extremities, which can help to get the blood up to the heart where it needs to go. These lifestyle related factors can all lead to tingling in toes, which is normally not serious and goes away shortly after onset. The feelings of toes and feet “falling asleep” (known as paresthesia) are the best descriptions of this common phenomenon. But, there are other causes of bad circulation in the toes and feet as well.

One common cause of tingling in toes that is very much associated with diabetes in many cases is peripheral neuropathy. This condition is characterized by nerve damage, according to Mayo Clinic. Since various nerves are affected by the condition, symptoms can be different from person to person. When the sensory nerves are affected, sensations of feeling like cold and hot as well as pain can be interfered with, with these sensations becoming more pronounced due to the underlying nerve damage. Nerves that control the movement of muscles can be affected by neuropathy making movement challenging. And of course, nerves that are related to the control of blood pressure and heart rate can also be affected, which can in turn produce symptoms related to poor blood flow as a consequence of peripheral neuropathy.

In diabetics, foot circulation can be enormously compromised when peripheral neuropathy is present. The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that damage to the blood vessels in persons with diabetes which can result in poor blood flow and therefore a decrease in much needed oxygen, a normally present in persons with good foot circulation, can lead to serious complications. In extreme situations, amputation of the affected areas is required due to tissue death from the lack of oxygen.

With serious health concerns being potentially linked to tingling in toes, experiencing it can be rather unnerving. But, if the sensation appears and is explainable by simply position or other factors, it is generally not anything to worry about. And, if it appears to be a result of circulatory woes that may be brought on by lifestyle factors, it is a good idea to make some healthy changes both to reduce the frequency of tingling in toes as well as boost circulation in the long term. Quitting smoking, losing weight, making good dietary choices and increasing exercise are all a good start. And, employing the use of therapeutic remedies like circulation socks and compression garments can also be helpful. But, if there are other signs and symptoms that accompany poor circulation in toes, it is probably worthwhile to have a medical evaluation to determine whether or not peripheral neuropathy might be playing a role in symptom development.

Most commonly, the symptoms of poor circulation are related to pain or discomfort in the affected areas and of course, tingling in toes and feet periodically, especially during periods of increased physical activity. But, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may display other signals that can alert sufferers that a more relevant underlying cause can be present. For instance, pain that is burning in nature can present, according to Mayo Clinic. And, sensitivity to cold and touch (even the lightest of touch) may also be present. A decrease in coordination, likely a result of motor nerves being affected, can also display in peripheral neuropathy. And, muscle weakness which can also affect the muscles of the bowels and bladder therefore causing control issues, is not uncommon. The differences in symptoms is the best way to identify if poor circulation or peripheral neuropathy is to blame for symptoms like tingling in toes, which is present in both conditions commonly.

Regardless, it is a good idea to see a health care provider if symptoms are present in either case. Poor circulation for instance, can be a sign of serious underlying health conditions like atherosclerosis. And, peripheral neuropathy also requires evaluation by a health care provider. Because conditions like these often display little symptoms until they are in a worsened state, it is recommended to seek medical attention when they present.