Life is no picnic living with a numb foot that never gets well. A numb foot has many causes including a disc herniation.

Can this cause a permanent numbness?

“Yes, the longer a patient suffers from a neurologic deficit such as numbness, the more likely it can be permanent,” says John D. Lipani, MD, FACS, neurosurgeon-in-chief for and founding director of Princeton Neurological Surgery in NJ.

“Sudden significant weakness is particularly concerning,” continues Dr. Lipani.

“Therefore, if a patient experiences pain, numbness and/or weakness in the arms, hands, legs and/or feet, he or she should seek medical attention.”

Herniated Disc

Another name for this is a bulging disc or a pinched nerve. A disc herniation usually occurs in the neck region or in the lower (lumbar) back.

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When it occurs in the lower back, it has the potential to cause numbness in a foot – and only the foot in some cases.

The foot may also be tingly and weak.

“If the symptoms are caused by a pinched nerve, the treatment might involve surgical decompression of the nerve,” says Dr. Lipani.

Unless the cause of the nerve irritation or pressure is resolved, the foot will continue being numb.

The nerves that control foot movement and sensation originate in the spinal cord.

Compression of the nerve that connects down to the foot could cause numbness at any point along that nerve’s path.

Dr. Lipani is a board certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeon. His specialties include minimally invasive spine surgery and non-invasive brain and spine radiosurgery. He’s the founding director of the JD Lipani Radiosurgery Institute™ for non-invasive neurosurgery.

 

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Top image: Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke