Superheroes are, as we all know, awesome. They can do things the rest of us
only dream of, like flying around (with or without capes), seeing through
brick walls, throwing train engines at bad guys, or stretching themselves
between the edges of a ravine to serve as a bridge for a village full of
people escaping from a giant worm. Yeah. Things like that.
But perhaps one of the most useful superhero abilities is when they have
that special sense that only triggers when there’s someone in danger.
They’ll say, “My superhero sense is tingling!” and rush off to save the
So, what does it mean exactly when your feet start to tingle? Well, unless
you’re a superhero, it probably doesn’t mean you need to rush off to save
the mayor from a band of evil-doers on pogo sticks. But, it could mean
trouble for you.
Tingling feet can be caused by a variety of conditions, although some are
going to be a bit more serious than others. You can, of course, get prickly
and tingly feet just from sitting or standing in the same position for a
while. But other things can cause them as well, things that may need
medical attention. Neuromas (benign growths in nerve tissue), ganglion
cysts (soft tissue growths filled with fluid), tarsal tunnel syndrome (when
a nerve gets pinched or stressed near the ankle), circulatory problems, and
peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage from diabetes, alcohol, lead, tobacco,
AIDS, or nutritional deficiencies, etc.) are all potential causes of your
foot sense going all tingly on you.
You may notice that the tingling in you foot (or feet) confines itself to a
specific area, or it may be all over your foot. Where the tingling happens
can depend on the cause of your condition. For instance, neuromas can cause
tingling in the ball or bottom of your foot, as can tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Ganglion cysts may cause the top of your toes to tingle, and peripheral
neuropathy often starts with the toes and gradually moves up the foot.
Along with tingling, you may experience numbness, prickling, burning, or
electric-like shocks in your feet. And with peripheral neuropathy you may
also experience a loss of muscle tone or control in your feet, or dry and
Most podiatrists aren’t superheroes (although, of course, some may be using
the mild-mannered podiatric profession to hide their secret life of crime
fighting), but they are heroes of a different sort, and are really good at
figuring out what the tingling of your feet might be trying to tell you. To
determine the cause of your tingly feet, your podiatrist will likely ask
you about your symptoms, such as where exactly the tingling occurs, how
long it’s been going on, whether anything has made it worse, and whether
you’re experiencing any other symptoms. Your podiatrist will also likely
examine your foot, and may press on it in an attempt to reproduce your
Depending on the suspected cause of your tingles, your podiatrist may order
some imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans or MRIs to get a look at the
insides of your foot (kind of like a superhero would be able to do). Nerve
conduction tests or electromyography may be used to see if there’s any
damage to your nerves.
While it would be nice if you had a super power of self-healing, you’ll
probably need to look to other sources to care for your tingly feet. If
diabetic peripheral neuropathy is the suspected cause, you’ll need to get
your blood sugar level under control as soon as possible. Treating the
tingling will mean treating the diabetes. Talk with your doctor about ways
to keep yourself as healthy as possible even with the disease. The tingling
itself (if painful or bothersome) is sometimes eased through pain
Neuromas and ganglion cysts can be taken out surgically, although your
doctor will likely want to treat them conservatively first. Padding and
taping the area, using medications to reduce inflammation, and orthotic
devices may all be helpful in getting relief from a neuroma. Cysts can be
drained, although they tend to reappear about 70% of the time. If tarsal
tunnel syndrome is your trouble, rest, immobilization, medication and
supportive orthotics can help relieve your symptoms. Surgery may also
sometimes be necessary.
Superheroes are definitely excellent. But regular people, like your local
podiatrist, can be even better than a superhero at pinpointing your
tingling and addressing the cause. In fact, you might start thinking of
your foot doctor as a sort of superhero anyway. Like…Podiatry Man (or
Woman). You’ve got to admit, it does have a certain ring to it.
Call 719-543-2476 today to schedule your appointment!