Foot Numbness and How Enhanced Sensory Stimulation Can Prevent It

A lack of sensation in your foot could signal that something is affecting your nerves. Usually, the culprit of foot numbness is nerve compression from poor posture or tight shoes. Getting rid of the cause should make your foot numbness go away. But in other cases, the culprit is nerve injury or damage. Many disorders can have paresthesia (the medical term for “numbness”) as a symptom. So, if you have an underlying medical condition, you need to speak to a doctor.

Learning more about foot numbness can help you prevent it — and decide when to seek medical help.

What Is Foot Numbness?

The term “foot numbness” may mean different things to different people. Numbness in the foot could refer to the following:

  • An abnormal feeling
  • Loss of sensitivity
  • A pins-and-needles sensation
  • Prickling
  • Tingling

In general, foot numbness means an abnormal sensation in the foot. The medical term for distorted sensation is paresthesia.

To understand paresthesia, you need to know a little about how the nervous system works. It’s made up of the peripheral nerves and the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain). The peripheral nerves in the arms and feet need to communicate with the sensory cortex. This is the region of the brain that processes sensory information. That’s how you can feel temperature, touch, and pain.

Numbness happens when there’s a problem along the sensory pathway between the foot and the sensory cortex. The cause can be a compressed or injured nerve.

Foot numbness is very common, affecting 7 percent of adults in the United States. That’s about 16 million people. Many of them have diabetes, which is the leading cause of foot numbness. But there are many other causes of paresthesia.

Causes of Foot Numbness

Some types of paresthesia appear suddenly. Others are progressive — they get worse with time. Foot numbness can be temporary, lasting as little as a few minutes, like when your “foot is asleep.” Or foot numbness can be permanent. This can happen when the cause of nerve damage is a chronic medical condition.

Foot numbness can be dangerous. It might prevent you from feeling when your feet touch the ground. This can make you lose balance and coordination. Walking can become difficult, and driving impossible. Also, you may not feel when you step on a sharp object, and get foot sores.

Here are some of the most common causes of foot numbness:

  • Bad posture. In the simplest case, your foot is “asleep” because you’ve sat in an awkward position for too long. Your foot feels numb because your posture has caused nerve compression. This has interrupted the communication between your peripheral nerves and your sensory cortex.
  • Tight shoes. Wearing poor-fitting shoes may interrupt the communication path in your nervous system. If your peripheral nerves become compressed, you may feel pins and needles in your feet. Or you may feel numbness in the top of your foot. That usually happens when your shoelaces are too tight.
  • Another result of wearing tight shoes, a bunion is a painful deformity of the joint of your big toe. Not everyone who wears shoes with tight toes gets bunions. Some foot types are more prone to bunions than others. Bunions often cause pain and numbness.
  • An injury along the peripheral nerve pathway can cause foot numbness. That’s because nerve pressure or damage can lead to loss of sensation.

Foot numbness alone is not usually a concern, especially if it doesn’t last long. But if you experience other symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately:

  • Sudden numbness in the foot for no obvious cause (such as poor posture)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden weakness
  • Numbness in the foot as well as in the leg
  • Numbness that spreads to other parts of the body

Your doctor will examine you to determine which part of your body has suffered nerve damage. They’ll then identify the cause of foot numbness.

There are many conditions that have foot numbness as a symptom. The following list includes some of the most common:

  • About one in two people with diabetes has nerve damage (neuropathy). One of the hallmark symptoms of diabetic neuropathy is foot numbness.
  • Multiple sclerosis. Numbness in the limbs is a typical symptom of multiple sclerosis. Foot numbness is not usually a cause of disability for people with multiple sclerosis. But in some cases the numbness may be so severe that people can’t feel the floor, so they can’t walk.
  • Pinched nerve. If a nerve has suffered damage or injury from stretching, compression, or constriction (“pinching”), you may get foot numbness. Other symptoms include pain, tingling, and a pins-and-needles sensation.
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. This progressive disease is also called chronic relapsing polyneuropathy. It is more common in teenagers and in men, but it can affect anyone. Its symptoms include tingling or numbness in the toes. Other symptoms are weakness of the limbs, loss of reflexes, and fatigue.
  • Peripheral neuropathy. This condition affects the peripheral nerves. Damaged foot nerves can cause foot numbness. This may develop over days, weeks, or years.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome. It’s a rare disorder that affects about one in 100,000 people each year. The symptoms include foot numbness and pain, as well as weakness and loss of reflexes.
  • More than 80 percent of people with fibromyalgia have paresthesia. Numbness in people with fibromyalgia is not usually limited to the foot. It affects other parts of the body, too.
  • Posterior tarsal tunnel syndrome. This condition is common in people with fibromyalgia, affecting about 18 percent of them. Its symptoms include pain, burning sensation, numbness, tingling, and tightness in the sole of the foot.
  • Repetitive motion disorder. Performing certain repetitive activities daily can lead to repetitive strain injury. While it’s more common in the hands, it can also happen in the feet. It causes foot pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, and redness. Left untreated, this disorder can lead to neuroma formation.
  • Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma is a kind of permanent nerve damage. Morton’s neuroma happens when the nerve tissue between the third and fourth toes thickens. It does so because of compression and irritation. The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma begin gradually. They include numbness, tingling, and pain in the toes and foot.

Treatment of Foot Numbness

The choice of treatment for foot numbness depends on its cause. It’s wise to see a doctor if you get foot numbness from other causes than poor posture or tight shoes. If you also have pain, weakness, or other symptoms, speak to a doctor.

How to Treat Foot Numbness from Poor Posture, Wrong Footwear, or Bunions

  • Waking up a “sleepy” foot. If you’ve slept in an awkward position, or sat with your legs crossed for too long, your foot may go “numb.” To make the numbness go away, change your position and try to walk. You’ll release the compression of the nerve. This restores the normal communication between your peripheral nerves and the brain. At first, the “pins and needles” sensation may get worse. The blood circulation and nerve function will then go back to normal. As they do, your foot will “wake up.”
  • Getting rid of foot numbness from tight shoes. If your shoes don’t fit well, or your laces are too tight, you may get foot numbness or pins-and-needles pain. The solution is obvious: change your shoes. Avoid those with narrow toes. They can cause not only foot numbness but also bunions, arch pain, and other foot problems.
  • Eliminating foot numbness from bunions. If you have a bunion (a hard lump by your big toe) you may feel pain or numbness when you walk or run. To ease the symptoms, wear comfortable footwear that fits well. Also, use bunion pads to prevent the shoe from rubbing on the bunion. Your doctor may also recommend shoe inserts. These re-position the foot and provide padding. Ice packs, warm soaks, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve the pain. If these treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend bunion surgery.

How to Treat Foot Numbness from Other Causes

There are many medical conditions that can cause paresthesia. So, it’s wise to seek medical help to pinpoint the cause. To be able to make a diagnosis, your doctor will need to examine you and your medical history. Referral to a specialist may be necessary.

Once your doctor identifies the underlying cause of paresthesia, they’ll work on addressing it. You may need to make changes to your diet and stop drinking alcohol. Or, you may need to take prescription drugs.

Medication for neuropathic pain includes antidepressants, antiepileptic medications, antispasmodics, and analgesics. You may also need to work with a specialist, like an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or podiatrist.

Follow your doctor’s advice and take the medications they give you.

Prevention of Foot Numbness with Enhanced Sensory Stimulation

To prevent foot numbness, you can do the following:

  • Wear well-fitting shoes — to avoid nerve compression and bunions
  • Avoid sitting cross-legged or in awkward positions too long — to avoid nerve compression and “sleepy foot”
  • Walk barefoot when it’s safe to do so — to keep the foot’s peripheral nerves stimulated
  • When you can’t walk barefoot, use textured insoles in your shoes — to ensure your feet receive proper sensory stimulation

Why Foot Sensory Stimulation Matters

Plantar foot sensory stimulation benefits anyone. But it’s especially useful for people who have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, or another chronic neuropathy. Chronic foot numbness may lead to balance impairment. Reduced foot sensitivity poses an increased risk of falls and injuries.

Fortunately, there is a way to prevent loss of sensitivity: enhanced stimulation of the foot using textured insoles. Naboso Technology insoles are specifically designed to improve dynamic stability and mobility. This technology stimulates the foot’s peripheral nerves.

The foot’s nerves are sensitive to stimuli like vibration, pressure, texture, and touch. They send this information to the central nervous system, which uses it to control your balance and movement. But wearing shoes blocks some of the stimulation the foot’s nerves receive. This can affect your balance and coordination.

Textured insoles in your shoes can mimic the sensory stimulation of walking barefoot. The foot’s sensory nerves receive the stimulation they need to perform optimally.

Benefits of Naboso Technology

Naboso Technology has built upon scientific research to create these insoles. They are ideal for people with decreased foot sensitivity.

Using Naboso Technology insoles has many benefits. The main one is increased plantar foot sensory stimulation. This boosts the foot’s sensitivity and promotes nerve function. Also, using textured insoles may improve your posture and balance. This reduces your risk of falls.

Using textured insoles in your shoes is not the only way to enhance plantar foot stimulation. Naboso Technology has also integrated its textured material into training mats. Exercising barefoot on a Naboso Technology mat increases joint position sense.

Naboso Technology products promote the connection between the foot and the brain. Enhanced sensory stimulation helps you strengthen your foot and prevent foot injuries.


Numbness of the foot, or paresthesia, is an abnormal sensation in the foot. It happens when a nerve suffers injury, compression, or constriction. The causes of foot numbness range from poor posture to chronic diseases. The treatment for foot numbness depends on its cause. But prevention is always better than treatment. Preventing foot numbness involves keeping the foot’s nerves healthy.

Using Naboso Technology insoles is an effective way to enhance the sensory stimulation of the foot. The added benefits are better balance, coordination, and mobility. Do you need help choosing your Naboso Technology insoles? Click here to learn about the graduated stimulation of our insoles.

Dealing with Painful Feet During Pregnancy

Foot pain is one of those frustrating health conditions that can be difficult to combat. Between plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, fallen arches (and more), there’s a never-ending stream of causes of foot pain.

Many pregnant women experience foot pain. Contrary to common belief, simply “dealing with it” is not the correct answer. Painful, swollen feet, arch pain, and ingrown toenails are all common causes of foot pain in pregnant women. Walking technique may also be to blame!

If you’re suffering from foot pain during pregnancy, this article is for you. Below, we’ll break down some of the common causes of foot pain during pregnancy and present several practical treatment options.

Common Causes of Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Weight Gain

Weight gain during pregnancy is natural and completely expected. Women of average weight can expect to gain upwards of twenty to thirty pounds, whereas underweight women can expect to gain even more. Overweight women can expect to gain around fifteen pounds.

Weight gain may contribute to foot pain: edema, overpronation, and bigger feet can all cause discomfort and pain. Increased body weight leads to increased pressure on the plantar fascia (the fibrous tissue that links the heel bone to the toes).

Foot Pain From Edema

Edema is puffiness and swelling caused by excess fluid buildup in the body. Pregnant women most often experience edema in their ankles and feet. It is quite common for women to experience edema during pregnancy — more than three-quarters of pregnant women suffer from it — and it can begin during the second trimester.

Edema occurs due to the body’s need to produce additional fluids for both the woman and the baby. During pregnancy, the body produces approximately 50% more fluids than it does normally. Increased blood flow and fluid pressure in the lower extremities may lead to fluid retention (and buildup) in the ankles and feet.

While uncomfortable, edema is typically not a serious medical issue. Mild edema (light to moderate swelling) is normal and is not a cause for concern for most pregnant women. It’s important to note that if the swelling continues to worsen (or spreads beyond the feet and ankles), you should contact your physician.

Tip: If your socks leave indents or red marks along the ankle, they are too tight.

Foot Pain From Overpronation

During pregnancy, the relatively rapid weight gain may cause a combination of arch fatigue or overpronation. Overpronation occurs when the arches of the feet flatten (‘flat feet’) and roll inward.

With the arch flattened, the plantar fascia (the ligament that runs through the arch of the foot) undergoes severe strain. The strain caused by overpronation can lead to the inflammation of the food — something best avoided — and is quite painful.

There are two main factors that play into overpronation and foot pain. First, as the woman gains weight, the arches of the feet experience ever-increasing amounts of pressure. This increased load bears down heavily on the arch and may cause it to flatten.

The second causal factor for overpronation is a shift in the body’s center of gravity. A pregnant woman gains weight across her body unevenly — weight gain is not distributed perfectly — and the feet need time to adjust. Unfortunately, the importance of proper foot care (stretching, use of supportive footwear) is not stressed to many pregnant women. The result is a body with a changed center of gravity that is more likely to feel the effects of overpronation.

Collapsed, weakened, or damaged arches can cause pain in a variety of ways. Depending on your specific ailment, you may suffer from any of the following:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain along the bottom, middle, and ball of the foot
  • Soreness or tenderness in the arch of the foot
  • Increasing discomfort after standing for a period of time
  • Pain when extending or contracting the foot
  • Sharp or stabbing pain in the heel when walking or running

It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer from foot pain early in the morning, only to find that the pain dissipates quickly after waking. However, Plantar fasciitis, or the inflammation of the plantar fascia, can be both debilitating and painful.

If this condition affects you, consult with your medical professional immediately and consider some of the at-home treatment options available today.

Release of the Relaxin Hormone

Pregnancy impacts every aspect of a woman’s body, including hormones. Hormones are ‘signaling molecules’ (chemical messengers) that regulate bodily functions. Think of hormones as the couriers that tell the body what to do in order to prepare for the pregnancy.

The endocrine system releases hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones then journey to their target cells and tell those cells what to do. Relaxin appears in large quantities during the first trimester.

What Does Relaxin Do?

Like all other hormones secreted into the bloodstream due to pregnancy, Relaxin has a unique role to play. Unsurprisingly, Relaxin is true to its name and helps the body loosen up. Specifically, Relaxin ‘relaxes’ the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments of the body.

Relaxin plays an important role in childbirth. This hormone causes the ligaments in the pelvis and cervix to loosen, widen, and soften in preparation for the coming birth. Pregnant women will experience heightened levels of Relaxin during the first and third trimesters.

How Does Relaxin Impact Foot Pain?

Relaxin weakens and softens the supportive structures in your feet. As you gain weight during pregnancy, that increased weight bears down on your arches. Relaxin weakens these already-stressed structures and contributes to their collapse.

Treatment Options for Foot Pain During Pregnancy

Topical Magnesium Oil

Magnesium plays an important role in many bodily functions. This naturally-occurring mineral is responsible for over300 different chemical reactions in the body. In the context of pregnancy, magnesium is vital for muscle and skeletal health. Along with calcium, magnesium is one of the more important minerals used in the formation of healthy bones.

Magnesium may also play an important role in reducingmuscle cramps and headaches. If you’re suffering from foot pain during pregnancy, a topic magnesium oil may be a good option for you.

Topical magnesium oil is (technically) not an oil. Instead, think of it as a mixture of magnesium chloride ‘flakes’ and water. The resulting solution feels oily (hence the name) and is remarkable for its ease of use and fast absorption rate.

Using topic magnesium oil is simple. Most magnesium oils come in a simple spray bottle: simply apply the oil to your feet and legs and rub it in vigorously. You may also consider making a sort of magnesium oil bath: fill a basin or bathtub with water, add the oil, and let your feet and ankles soak.

Naboso Insoles

Naboso™ Insoles are specially-designed insoles that target the nerves located at the bottom of the feet. Even minimal footwear blocks the skin of the bottom of the foot from coming into contact with the ground. Naboso™ Insoles aim to enhance the barefoot footwear experience through the application of a unique texture technology that maximizes foot stimulation.

Naboso Technology offers a range of different insoles for people with varying needs. The Naboso 1.5 Textured Insole, for example, is ideal for someone new to a barefoot or minimal footwear lifestyle. For for anyone looking to enhance their neuro-rehabilitation program, the Naboso Neuro is an excellent choice.

Regardless of the specific product chosen, all Naboso Insoles look to restore foot sensitivity and increase nerve stimulation. We encourage you to learn more about Naboso Technology products here: our proprioceptive insoles are on the cutting-edge of foot care.

Releasing Feet Daily with Power Plate® DualSphere™

As much as you’d like to get off your feet, life is never so easy. One of the most effective ways to treat foot pain during pregnancy is with a massage.

A Power Plate DualSphere is a fantastic way to release the tight muscles that make up the arches of your feet. Massage does more than simply feel good: it improves blood flow, stimulates muscles, and reduces soreness.

Using the DualSphere is not particularly complicated, but there are a few steps you’ll want to follow for maximum effectiveness. If the DualSphere is unavailable, consider using a triggerpoint massage ball.

  • Sit down in a chair and place the Power Plate DualSphere on the ground in front of you
  • Gently place your bare foot on top of the DualSphere, with the arch of your foot resting on top
  • Select a comfortable vibration intensity and apply gentle pressure as you roll your foot forward and back, keeping your arch in contact with the DualSphere

It’s not uncommon to feel tenderness or even pain when performing this massage. The goal is to stimulate the muscles of the foot and release built-up tension in your arch. Consider massaging the arches of your feet daily. If you feel sharp or stabbing pains at any point, stop immediately and contact your doctor.

Arch Supports From Maternity Insoles

Maternity Insoles offers, as their name implies, a series of insoles aimed specifically at pregnant women. Their MommySteps™ Maternity Insoles provide a perfect blend of arch support and general foot comfort.

Unlike other insoles on the market, Maternity Insoles stress arch support above all else. When it comes to foot pain from pregnancy, the vast majority of problems arise from collapsed arches. With MommySteps™ Maternity Insoles, you will be able to support your arches from the very beginning of your pregnancy.

Even better, the company offers a mix of different insoles designed for common situations. For example, Maternity Insoles designed the Athletic & Active Insole specifically for pregnant women who are out and about in runners, trainers, and hiking boots. The Casual & Flats Insole fits perfectly inside your loafers, Toms, flats, and similar footwear.

Proper Walking Technique

Contrary to popular opinion, some things are not as easy as they seem. Walking (and walking properly) is one of those things.

While it is true that everyone’s anatomy is different, there are most certainly “right” and “wrong” ways to walk. Of course,

We’ll go ahead and break down proper walking technique below:

  • Stand up and position your feet directly under your hips. There should be a straight line from your hipbones straight down to your feet. Likewise, avoid any external or internal rotation of the feet: point them straight ahead.
  • Move one foot forward and let it fall. It’s vital that your heel lands before the rest of your foot — land heel first — so you’ll need to flex at the ankle.
  • Roll the rest of the foot down — heel to toe — and push off with your toes.
  • Move the rearward leg up and forward and repeat.

A common mistake is to “overstride” (taking excessively long steps). Instead of taking longer strides, focus on maintaining good walking form and pushing off with the toes.

With all the changes that your body is undergoing, it might seem strange to take the time to analyze your walking technique. However, if you’re struggling with foot pain during pregnancy, it’s a great idea to take a few minutes and make sure your walking technique isn’t to blame.

What’s the Takeaway?

Painful feet during pregnancy is an (unfortunately) normal occurrence that impacts many women. If you suffer from painful feet, consider the treatment options discussed in this article. You may benefit from topical magnesium oil, Naboso Technology Insoles, regular tissue release via massage, or arch supportive footwear.

You may also want to reconsider your walking technique. As a general rule, do not pursue active weight loss during pregnancy and always consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.