Tingling and numbness (such as toes falling asleep) are categorised as sensibility or sensory disorders.
These signs, warning signals and symptoms should be taken seriously and indicate that there is most probably something wrong either with certain neural pathways or with the circulation of blood or lymph.
The causes may be fundamentally different:
- Diseases of/damage to the nerves:
- Mechanically impaired nerves as a result of muscle tension in the area around the spinal column, the sacroiliac joint or the pelvis.
- Excess pressure on the feet as a result of shoes that are too tight, heels that are too high or too much standing in unsuitable shoes.
- Side effect of chemotherapy on the nerves (polyneuropathy).
- Polyneuropathy caused by other nerve diseases such as MS (multiple sclerosis), Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia and so on.
- For further details, see below: Causes
- Vascular problems (veins, arteries, lymph)
- All mechanical impediments that impair the flow of the blood or lymph such as tension in the back or the pelvis, excess weight and so on.
- All illnesses that indirectly lead to not enough blood or lymph being able to circulate, for example, diabetes.
- For further details, see below: Causes
- The following aspects are important for all these problems:
- Combat the bothersome symptoms (including tingling, numbness and ‘falling asleep’ of the feet) immediately and in a natural way.
- Find out the cause.
- Combat the cause as naturally as possible without side effects.
More details » Take the first step towards pain-free walking. Try a pair of kybun trial shoes for 14 days.
Because it is important to us that kybun really makes a difference, we offer you the option of trying the kyBoot for free over a period of two weeks at the cost price of CHF 30 for outward and return postage. During this evaluation period, you will also receive professional support from our guidebook. You are under no obligation if you are not satisfied with the shoe.
Tingling is a sensation on the surface of the body. The unpleasant or even painful feeling is transmitted to the skin by sensitive nerves or nerve endings, forwarded through the neural pathways and perceived by the brain. That means that increased nerve activity plays a significant role when the hands or feet tingle. But there is usually no recognisable exterior stimulus.
Unpleasant tingling that is a symptom of a disorder is triggered by ‘incorrect’ or pathological stimuli, such as when the nerves in the affected area are damaged (by a disease). In such cases the pathways are overactive The incorrect perception (the medical term is paraesthesia) can arise in a wide variety of locations on the skin: in the arms and legs, the hands, fingers, feet and toes, the head and the face. It manifests as straining, piercing pain or formication. Some affected individuals describe the feeling as a burning or an electrical shock. Tingling occasionally precedes numbness, but can also follow it.
Numbness arises in the limbs (extremities), in the face, mouth or other delimited parts of the body. These sensations, which are usually considered irritating, can also affect nearly a whole side of the body. Sitting in the same position, such as with drawn-up legs, for a long time may lead to the legs ‘falling asleep’. Pressure on the nerves can cause these innocuous problems that go away again when the leg is moved.
Numbness indicates temporary nerve underactivity that may be harmless, but may be pathological. Experts refer to this as hypoaesthesia. Occasionally, the nerves in the affected area, such as the feet, are damaged and have lost some of their function. Blood flow might also be disrupted, causing a part of the body to be undersupplied.
Tingling and numbness have a variety of causes. The damage might be directly in the areas experiencing stabbing pain or numbness, but may also be in superordinate areas of the body. For example, it is not uncommon for problems in the cervical spine to manifest as tingling fingers or hands.
- Circulatory problems and vascular obliteration in the legs: If the flow of blood is disrupted for a long time, there will also be insufficient blood circulation for the nerves in the legs, as is the case in peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD), for example. Pain when walking that forces you to stop is the main symptom after a particular phase of the illness is reached. If the nerves are also affected, a burning tingling sensation may also be experienced along with other, often painful sensibility disorders and signs of paralysis. PAOD is caused by arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The main risk factors are nicotine dependence and diabetes mellitus. For more detailed information, please read our ‘Circulatory disorders of the limbs (PAOD)’ guidebook.
- Restless legs: Restless legs syndrome is characterised by highly unpleasant discomfort (paresthesia) in the legs that is often difficult to describe. It is less common in the arms. The often painful tingling, pulling or burning sensation normally starts when the legs are in a state of rest, mainly in the evenings and at night. Those affected by this syndrome experience an agonising restlessness, which may also occur without any sensation disorders. The complaints normally improve when the sufferer walks around or carries out particular activities. Severe sleep disorders are the consequence. The cause is often unknown. Restless legs syndrome may also occur in association with iron deficiency anaemia, uraemia in kidney failure or during pregnancy. Read more in the ‘Restless legs syndrome (RLS)’ guidebook.
- Fibromyalgia syndrome: This chronic pain disorder mostly affects the joints and the musculoskeletal system. Besides ongoing pain in various areas of the body, sufferers sometimes also experience tingling or numbness in the limbs. The ‘Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)’ guidebook describes which complaints occur frequently.
- Alcoholism: Alcohol abuse is right at the top of the list of potential triggers for vascular and nerve disorders in the legs (polyneuropathy, see above). Alcohol addiction can also lead to deficiency symptoms that also frequently trigger sensation disorders.
- Deficiencies: Medical conditions in which the intake or utilisation of food is impaired sometimes lead to nerve disorders that are accompanied by tingling and numbness. Chronic bowel diseases or a gluten intolerance (coeliac disease) are good examples. A pronounced magnesium deficiency, a calcium deficiency, which can also be associated with muscle cramps (‘Trousseau sign of latent tetany/obstetrician's hand’), or a vitamin B12 deficiency can sometimes lurk behind tingling and paraesthesia in the hands, feet and legs (see ‘Fingers and hands’ above).
- Vascular diseases: Sensibility disorders in the limbs and other characteristic symptoms occasionally point to a vascular inflammation (vasculitis). Various nerve disorders can, for example, be part of a disease of the arteries, such as polyarteritis nodosa. Characteristic symptoms include fever, joint pain, skin rashes, Raynaud syndrome with tingling, numbness and sensitivity to cold in the feet and hands (see also above). The cause is unknown. Inappropriate immune responses may play a role.
- Decreased function of the parathyroid glands: Tingling and formication in the feet and hands are symptoms of this hormone disturbance (hypoparathyroidism) that can, amongst other things, be a consequence of a surgical operation carried out on the thyroid. Muscle cramps caused by a calcium deficiency (for example, in the hands) are also characteristic (as similarly described in the ‘Deficiencies’ section above).
- Secondary diseases of diabetes mellitus: Diabetic neuropathy involves nerve damage that leads to sensory disturbances, primarily in the legs and feet. This problem is often also part of the diabetic foot syndrome. Read more about this in the ‘Type 1 diabetes’ and ‘Type 2 diabetes’ guidebooks at www.diabetes-ratgeber.net.
- Diseased nerve roots in the spinal canal: In Guillain-Barré syndrome, for example, nerve roots, spinal cord nerves and peripheral nerves become inflamed often for no known reason. Previous infections, inflammations or autoimmune reactions may play a role. Paralysis and movement disorders develop. Gastro-intestinal infections or respiratory diseases may be early signs. The nerve complaints often begin in both feet and legs with paraesthesia. This then spreads to the hands. This is followed by pain, signs of paralysis and muscle weakness that first affect the legs. The disorders can continue upwards and become life threatening.
- Diseases of the central nervous system: Sensation disorders in the legs are often one of the initial symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Other diseases that can be accompanied by tingling and numbness include epilepsies or Parkinson’s.
Growths and tumours in the brain and spinal canal can impair the nerves and pathways that are responsible for sensations in the legs and feet. Sensation disorders can also occur after injuries, bruising or inflammations of the brain.
- Immune-related nerve disorders: It is also possible for the immune responses that occur in cancerto lead to impaired nerve activities (paraneoplastic syndromes). Tingling in the legs, feet and hands can be a sign of this. Of course, there are other indicative symptoms as well.
- Problems in the spinal region often lead to paraesthesia in the legs and feet. Constriction, muscle tension in the lower back, a slipped disc, spinal cord injuries or spinal cord damage, amongst other things, are often to blame.
- Constrictions along peripheral nerves: Nerve compression syndromes similar to carpal tunnel syndrome also occur on the feet (see the ‘Fingers and hands’ section above), although very different nerves can be affected.
In general, burning pain on one side and sensation disorders in the front of the thigh and around the hips may point to an inguinal tunnel syndrome (meralgia paraesthetica), also referred to as ‘jeans disease’. Compression in the inguinal canal, caused by excess weight, for example, or clothes that are too tight (such as jeans), damages the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. Further information is available under ‘Hip pain’.
Toes falling asleep is usually not a serious problem and represents a temporary reaction that is easily corrected. However, caution is advised in the following cases:
Always consult a physician if tingling or numbness arises suddenly without discernible cause or if it is very severe or of long duration. Sensation disorders that recur at specific intervals should also be reported to a physician. This is true especially when further complaints, such as pain, visual disturbances, signs of paralysis, dizziness, nausea or skin reactions arise in addition to paraesthesia. If you have diabetes or another disorder, it is always important to take changes to the surface of your body seriously.
Varies according to cause. For example:
- Medications that stimulate circulation (for diseases that involve circulatory problems)
- Pressure relief in the affected area (for a foot malposition), often by means of orthopaedic insoles
With the kyBoot/kyBounder, you can actively work against circulatory disorder in the feet or legs, stiffness in the toes and ankle joints, or weakened foot musculature (foot malposition).
In the kyBoot/on the kyBounder, your foot stands on a soft, elastic sole/mat and can move freely in all directions. When you walk, you can roll your foot naturally from the heel to the big toe, mobilising the joints and strengthening the foot and leg musculature.
The increased rollover improves the circulation in the feet and legs and loosens restricted joints. This reduces or even eliminates incidences of cold feet or tingling and numbness in the toes.
Specific initial reactions with existing foot problems (such as foot/toe malposition, circulatory problems, osteoarthritis):
In the beginning, the toes or feet can ‘go to sleep’ in the kyBoot/on the kyBounder. This is a common initial reaction and reveals your weak spot. As soon as your foot musculature becomes stronger and your joints more mobile, these symptoms will decrease and usually go away altogether. You can read about what you should do in this case under ‘Application tips’.
Click here for the general initial reactions experienced by kyBounder and kyBoot beginners: Initial reactions
For information about the special kyBoot exercises or the basic kyBounder exercises , please click here: kybun exercises
The following adaptations to the standard implementation of interval walking are important in case of toes falling asleep, tingling or numbness :
- Put on non-slip socks before you begin
- If your feet begin to fall asleep during interval walking, use a fast exercise to increase circulation
- Be sure to maintain an upright body posture and foot position.
Correct any lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint in the kyBoot/on the kyBounder. The load on the foot should be applied uniformly, which means that the same amount of pressure should be applied to the front, back, right and left sides of the foot.
- Be sure to roll your foot naturally when you walk, from the heel to the big toe. Push off with the big toe, not the little toe!
If this causes you severe pain because you suffer from toe osteoarthritis, you should shorten your steps and push off with your big toe with less force.
- Avoid taking excessively long steps since this makes it easier to maintain balance and an upright foot position with the kyBoot/kyBounder.
- Always lace the kyBoot from bottom to top without pulling too tightly.
- Keep the toes loose without curling them (this often happens unconsciously)!
- Perform the kybun exercises regularly in order to loosen the muscles.
- If you feel very fatigued in the kyBoot/on the kyBounder despite the kybun exercises, are no longer able to correct lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint or even feel pain, we advise taking a short kybun break until the symptoms go away.
- Try different kyBoot models: The first-generation models are slightly wider in the forefoot, which means the toes have more room to move. Ask for advice at a specialist kybun store.
- If you have a flattened transversal arch of the foot (forefoot muscle weakness), we recommend inserting a stiffer, thin insole (available at shoe stores) in the forefoot area of the kyBoot. This insole reduces the softness of the kyBoot sole somewhat so your foot does not get over-extended as easily.
For more information, see the indication ‘Forefoot pain’.
I have been wearing kyBoot shoes for two months and there have been some changes. I am experiencing significantly less pain and I can generally walk swiftly and without limping. There have been substantial improvements to the paraesthesia and the numbness in my toes. I can now feel what is beneath my feet again – stones, the floor, the folds in my socks. Most nights, I am not in any pain.
If I take the shoes off, however, things become somewhat more problematic.
But I am hopeful that there will be improvements here, too. Thank you so much, Jürgen! Your tremendous
commitment will ensure that lots more people will find out
about kyBoot and will hopefully be inspired to try wearing these shoes.
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