Pinky toe is the smallest toe of the foot. Pinky toe numb may be caused due to various reasons. Treatment is focused on the management of the underlying condition. Preventive measures are also advised to prevent pinky toe numbness.
Pinky Toe Numbness
Pinky toe is the smallest digit of the leg. It is also known as tiny toe, baby toe or small toe. When the toe gets numb, the person feels burning or tingling sensation. In some cases, the person encounters difficulty in walking or standing. Fortunately, in most cases, pinky toe numbness is not a cause of concern. However, when it is present along with other neurological symptoms, the intervention of a physician is required.
What Causes Numbness In Pinky Toe?
Pinky toe numbness may be due to various reasons and zeroing on the exact cause is a little difficult. Generally, the numbness in the pinky toe is due to harmless reasons. Following are some of the probable reasons when the right or left pinky toe is numb;
Diabetes leads to peripheral neuropathy. The excess blood sugar in the blood damages the nerves of the peripheral organ. This results in blocking of nerve impulses leading to numbness. Apart from diabetes, peripheral neuropathy may also be caused without any known reason. This condition is termed as chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.
[Also Read: When to see an endocrinologist for diabetes]
2. Guillain-Barre Syndrome
This is an autoimmune disease that seriously impacts the overall health of the nervous system. Apart from the pinky toe numbness, the disease may also lead to varying blood pressure, increased heart rate and weakness in legs.
3. Raynaud’s Phenomenon
People with Raynaud’s syndrome are more prone to toe numbness especially in the cold weather. During cold weather, there is a reduced supply of blood to the toes making them numb.
4. Injury To Spinal Cord or Nerves
Injury to the spinal cord or the nerve innervated to toes may also lead to toe numbness. Foot drop caused due to the damage of fibular nerves may also lead to toe numbness.
Many people are vulnerable to toe numbness in cold weather. Prolonged exposure to extreme cold may lead to frostbite resulting in numbness in the toes.
6. Herniated Disk
Herniated disk may also cause pinky toe numb. The gel-like substance bulges out and compresses the nerves leading to its dysfunction.
Toe numbness may also originate because of wrong footwear. People may get pinky toe numbness from tight shoes. They also complain of pinky toe numb after wearing heels.
8. Miscellaneous Causes
Other causes of the numb toe are Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Morton’s neuroma, shing
When To Seek Medical Attention For Numb Toe?
If the numbness in the toe is accompanied by other symptoms that make you uncomfortable, you should right away consult with your healthcare provider. Following are some of the symptoms, when experienced with a numb toe, requires medical attention;
- Twitching or jerking of muscles
- Difficulty balancing
- Numbness proceeds after nerve injury or head injury.
- Poor concentration and difficulty in thinking and speaking.
- Feeling weakness in legs
- Headache and a feeling of nausea and vomiting
If you have pinky toe numb for days you should consult with your doctor.
How Is Toe Numbness Diagnosed?
There are various probable reasons for the numb toe. The physician should try to exclude various reasons through preliminary examination. The physician may ask about the history of nerve or brain injury or any disease related to the nervous system. A CT scan or MRI may also be advised to check the health of the brain.
The doctor may also perform various nerve conduction studies and electromyography to identify the cause of numb pinky toe.
How To Treat Pinky Toe Numbness?
The treatment for numbness in the pinky toe is directed to the management of the underlying cause.
After the exact cause is diagnosed, the doctor prescribes medication to manage the condition. Managing blood pressure and blood sugar may help prevent the progression of nerve damage. If the footwear or high heels are the main culprits, the doctor may ask to change the footwear and advise to opt for a comfortable option.
In certain conditions, medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioids may be prescribed.
How To Prevent Toe Numbness?
Various measures are to be adopted to prevent the numbness and its recurrence. These include;
- Managing the underlying condition such as blood pressure and diabetes.
- Routine exercise to maintain blood flow to nerves.
- Avoid prolonged exposure of foot in extreme cold.
- Wear comfortable footwear.
What Are The Complications Associated With Toe Numbness?
When people have their pinky toe numb, they may have an underlying condition that requires medical attention. The person may have a stroke or autoimmune disease that reduces the activity of nerves. The person may also have poorly controlled blood sugar which is a cause of peripheral neuropathy.
Rohit Jain is an IPR Specialist and Medical Content Writing Expert. For over a decade, he has written several articles in the areas of female infertility, Erectile dysfunction, hemangioma, cervical cancer, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, mononucleosis, mitral valve disorder, shin splints, mild cognitive impairment, cellulitis, lymphoma, sepsis, cardiac rehabilitation and more.