Numbness in the feet is one of the most common complications of diabetes – but there are many other reasons why your feet may feel numb. Even if you’re not diabetic, you can still suffer from this problem. Here are some of the possible causes.

Poor blood flow

Several conditions can cause foot numbness when not enough blood is getting through to your feet. This is likely to be especially noticeable at the tips of your toes, and sometimes also at the backs of your heels. A podiatrist will be able to give you further information.

  • If your arteries or veins have become narrowed, blocked, or tangled, you may lose some feeling in your feet.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be caused by sitting in a cramped space, such as an airline seat, for long periods.
  • If your feet get extremely cold, especially for long periods of time, this can give you frostbite and make you lose feeling.

Orthopedic problems

Your feet may go numb if you have suffered certain types of injury or disease. Because of the way your body’s nerves work, some conditions that affect other areas of your body can also cause numbness, so it may not be a foot injury that is the root cause.

  • Many back injuries, such as slipped disks or brittle bone disease, can cause your feet to become numb.
  • You can also get foot numbness if you have a trapped nerve, for example from sitting awkwardly for too long.
  • If you have a broken bone that is supported by a cast, making the cast too tight can cause numbness.

Nerve problems

You can experience numbness if the nerves inside your feet stop working properly. There are many possible causes of this type of damage, so it’s important that you get advice from a podiatrist to make sure that you receive the correct treatment.

  • If you don’t get enough Vitamin B12, your feet can go numb. People on vegan diets are most at risk for this problem.
  • Some brain conditions, especially strokes and multiple sclerosis, can affect the feeling you have in your feet.
  • If you’re an alcoholic, you may also find that you lose feeling, because the nerves are poisoned by the large amounts of alcohol in your body.