Nerve compression or damage from wearing certain shoes can often cause pinky toe numbness. Diabetic neuropathy can also cause the pinky toes to be numb. Read below for more information on causes and treatment options.
5 causes of numbness in the pinky toe side of the foot
This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.
Morton neuroma, also called by the older name Morton's neuroma, is a thickening of fibrous tissue in the ball of the foot. This tissue encapsulates the nerve leading to the third and fourth toes. It is not actually a tumor of the nerve, as the name suggests.
The thickening is caused by years of trauma, irritation, and/or compression to the feet. High-heeled shoes, especially if narrow or tight, are a common cause. The condition is most often seen in women over age 45.
Symptoms include burning pain in the ball of the foot, especially with walking or running. The condition will not heal on its own and can lead to chronic foot pain.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination of the foot with simple range of motion exercises, and sometimes x-ray.
Treatment includes changing to better-fitting shoes that do not compress the nerve; using orthotics in the shoes to take more pressure off of the nerve; and in some cases the use of corticosteroid injections.
Top Symptoms: foot numbness, pain in the sole of the foot, pain when touching the foot, pain in both feet, foot injury
Fibular nerve injury
The fibular nerves are also known as the peroneal nerves. Fibular nerves run from the lower spine all the way down the back of the leg, ending at the heel. If the fibular nerves are damaged or compressed, this can result in a condition known as foot drop.
The fibular nerves can be damaged through surgery, especially hip replacement or total knee replacement; any injury to the knee or low back; or neurologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease.
Foot drop means that the person is unable to flex the foot upward from the ankle, because the fibular nerves that control this voluntary movement have been damaged. There may also be pain, numbness and weakness in the foot, and difficulty walking.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination, nerve conduction studies, and imaging such as x-ray or MRI.
Treatment involves using orthotics, which are specially made shoes, supports, and braces for the foot; physical therapy; and sometimes surgery to decompress or otherwise help repair the nerve.
Top Symptoms: pain in the distribution of fibular nerve, numbness in fibular nerve distribution, difficulty walking or weakness with foot dorsiflexion
Urgency: Wait and watch
Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by longstanding or poorly controlled diabetes mellitus (DM). Other risk factors for developing diabetic neuropathy include obesity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, and abnormal lipid levels.
Diabetic neuropathy can present as a number ..
Chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the feeling of numbness, tingling, and pins-and-needles sensation in the feet. Idiopathic means the cause is not known, and chronic means the condition is ongoing without getting better or worse.
The condition is most often found in people over age 60. Idiopathic neuropathy has no known cause.
Symptoms include uncomfortable numbness and tingling in the feet; difficulty standing or walking due to pain and lack of normal sensitivity; and weakness and cramping in the muscles of the feet and ankles.
Peripheral neuropathy can greatly interfere with quality of life, so a medical provider should be seen in order to treat the symptoms and reduce the discomfort.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination; blood tests to rule out other conditions; and neurologic and muscle studies such as electromyography.
Treatment involves over-the-counter pain relievers; prescription pain relievers to manage more severe pain; physical therapy and safety measures to compensate for loss of sensation in the feet; and therapeutic footwear to help with balance and walking.
Top Symptoms: distal numbness, muscle aches, joint stiffness, numbness on both sides of body, loss of muscle mass
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Herniated (slipped) disk in the lower back
The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
Urgency: Primary care doctor
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Questions your doctor may ask about numbness in the pinky toe side of the foot
- Have you ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric issue, such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorder?
- While lying down on a firm surface, keep both legs straight. Have a friend slowly raise one leg at a time by lifting your ankle into the air. Do you have pain in that leg before fully raising it to a perpendicular position? (This is called the straight leg test.)
- Are you having any difficulty walking?
- Do any of your body parts (e.g., toes, hands, ears) feel cold?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.
Numbness in the pinky toe side of the foot symptom checker statistics
People who have experienced numbness in the pinky toe side of the foot have also experienced:
- 25% Toe Numbness
- 12% Numbness In The Heel-Side Of The Foot
- 12% Lower Back Pain
People who have experienced numbness in the pinky toe side of the foot were most often matched with:
- 75% Diabetic Neuropathy
- 25% Morton Neuroma
People who have experienced numbness in the pinky toe side of the foot had symptoms persist for:
- 37% Less than a day
- 27% Over a month
- 19% Less than a week
Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.