Monday, June 29, 2009

Numb of Toe

"Numb toe," most often the big toe, and even more often the outside of the big toe, is a pretty common complaint I hear from hikers. The cause, again most often, is an improper boot fit. Or maybe those same boots are not laced snugly enough. Either way, on the downhill leg of trails, the part where toes are smushed against the toe end of the boot, this happens: the nerves of the toe are crushed and/or the circulation gets cut off too long--and the toe gets numb and stays numb. If it happens occasionally, it's not a big deal. But if it happens all the time, and especially if the toe does have enough recovery time before the next hike, you should try to find a boot that alleviates the problem and/or try lacing up more snugly. Go for boots that are wider in the toe box and/or boots that are a bit longer than the offending footwear. If that doesn't work, custom insoles may alter the pressure on your toes enough to keep numb toe away. And if that doesn't work, a visit to a foot specialist is recommended. Persistent toe numbness may lead to permanent damage.

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