Causes of Foot Numbness & Pain

Foot numbness and pain can be caused by numerous factors. According to the Mayo Clinic website, foot pain and numbness may be caused by ill-fitting shoes, traumatic injury or repetitive strain. Structural defects and certain medical conditions can also cause foot problems--including pain and numbness throughout the feet. Burning and tingling sensations may also manifest in the feet. Foot pain accompanied by numbness or other abnormal sensations often signals an underlying condition that requires intervention by a qualified health care professional.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder can cause foot numbness and pain. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or NINDS--a division of the National Institutes of Health--Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder is a common inherited neurological disorder that affects about one in every 2,500 Americans 2. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder affects peripheral nerves or nerves that exist outside the brain and spinal cord. Common signs and symptoms associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder include pain that ranges from mild to severe, weakness in the legs, ankles and feet, numbness in the legs and feet, reduced ability to run, high foot arches, hammertoes, foot drop and a high-stepped gait, frequent tripping or falling and muscle wasting in the legs and feet. The NINDS states that Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder symptoms progress gradually.


Diabetes can cause foot numbness and pain. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases--the NIDDK, a division of the National Institutes of Health--states that, over time, a diabetic can develop nerve damage or neuropathy throughout his body. Diabetic neuropathy is particularly common in the extremities, including the feet, and may be accompanied by pain, tingling or numbness in the affected area. According to the NIDDK, approximately 60 to 70 percent of diabetics suffer some type of neuropathy. Common signs and symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy include numbness, tingling and pain in the feet and toes, atrophy or muscle wasting in the feet, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, urination problems and muscle weakness. The NIDDK states that diabetic neuropathy symptoms depend on two factors: the type of neuropathy and the nerves affected.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can cause foot numbness and pain 3. According to the Sports Injury Clinic website, tarsal tunnel syndrome is an entrapment or compression neuropathy of the posterior tibial nerve 3. The posterior tibial nerve travels through the tarsal tunnel--a tunnel made of bone and connective tissue on the medial or inner aspect of the ankle, near the bony bump known as the medial malleolus. Other structures passing through the tarsal tunnel include tendons, arteries and veins. Common signs and symptoms associated with tarsal tunnel syndrome include the following: pain that radiates into the heel, arch and toes, numbness in the sole of the foot, foot pain when running or standing for prolonged periods, pain that's worse at night and relieved by rest and tenderness in the affected area beneath the medial malleolus 3. Possible causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and tenosynovitis 3.