why do my pinky toes go numb

Atherosclerosis causes disease in two ways. 1) Atherosclerosis can limit the ability of the narrowed arteries to increase delivery of blood and oxygen to the to tissues of the body during times when oxygen demand needs to be increased, for example, during exertion; or 2) complete obstruction of an artery by a thrombus or embolus (thrombus and embolus are forms of
), which results in tissue death (necrosis). Exertional angina and intermittent claudication are two examples of insufficient delivery of blood and oxygen to meet tissue demand; whereas strokes and are examples of death of tissue caused by complete artery obstruction by blood clots. There are many similarities between coronary artery diseases (atherosclerosis involving the arteries of the heart) and peripheral artery disease, and the two conditions may coexist in the same individual. For example, patients with exertional angina typically have no symptoms at rest. However, during exertion the critically narrowed coronary arteries are incapable of increasing blood and oxygen delivery to meet the increased oxygen needs of the heart muscles. Lack of blood and oxygen causes (exertional angina). Exertional angina typically subsides when the patient rests. In patients with intermittent claudication, the narrowed arteries in the lower extremities (for example, a narrowed artery at the groin) cannot increase blood and oxygen delivery to the calf muscles during walking. These patients experience pain in the calf muscles that will only subside after resting. Patients with unstable angina have critically narrowed coronary arteries that cannot deliver enough blood and oxygen to the heart muscle even at rest. These patients have at rest and are at imminent risk of developing heart attacks. Patients with severe artery occlusion in the legs can develop rest pain (usually in the feet).


Rest pain represents such severe occlusion that there is insufficient blood supply to the feet even at rest. They are at risk of developing foot ulcers and gangrene. When atherosclerosis narrows the arteries, blood tends to clot in the narrowed areas, forming a thrombus, a type of blood clot (plural thrombi). Sometimes pieces of the blood clot break off and travel in the bloodstream until they are trapped in a narrower point in the artery beyond in which they cannot pass. A thrombus or piece of thrombus that travels to another point is called an embolus. Thrombi and emboli can cause sudden and complete artery blockage, leading to tissue necrosis (death of tissue due to lack of oxygen). For example, complete blockage of a coronary artery by a thrombus causes heart attack, while complete blockage of a carotid or cerebral artery causes ischemic. Emboli originating from atherosclerosis in the (the main artery delivering blood to the body) can obstruct small arteries in the feet, resulting in painful and blue (cyanotic) toes, foot ulcers, and even gangrene. What are collateral vessels or collateral circulation? Sometimes, despite the presence of a severe blockage in an artery, the involved area does not become painful or lose its blood supply due to the presence of collateral vessels. Collateral circulation means that the particular area is supplied by more than one artery, so that that blockage of a single vessel does not result in a severe degree of blood loss. Collateral circulation can develop over time to help provide oxygenated blood to an area where an artery is narrowed. Doctors believe that regular supervised exercise can stimulate the growth and development of collateral circulation and relieve symptoms of intermittent claudication.


Have you noticed that your toes go numb when you walk on the treadmill or enjoy a fitness walk outdoors? You may wonder why this doesn t happen at other times. Here are some reasons that you may have this problem and some solutions you can try. Toes go numb from reduced blood circulation or from nerve damage. If your toes feel numb only during sustained walking, then first try to rule out the most obvious causeyour shoes. Are your shoes are too tight or too small and that is restricting blood circulation and making the toes go numb? Even if you think your shoes are big enough, your foot may be sliding forward in them with each step to cause this problem. Are Your Shoes Too Tight? Your feet swell during sustained walking, as much as a full shoe size. Your should be a size larger than your dress shoes, or even larger. Your shoes also need a wide-enough toe box to allow your foot to swell for width as well as length. If either the length of the shoe or the width is too small or too narrow, you may be cutting off blood flow to your toes or impinging on nerves. Follow tips toP Pand understand that you will needP. Give your toes enough room in the toe box by lacing them so that the shoelaces at the toe end of the shoe are loose to allow for expansion. Use variousP Pso that you can tighten the fit at the ankle without tightening it at the toe. You want a tight lacing at the ankle so your foot stays in the heel of the shoe and doesn t slide forward with each step. That cuts off toe circulation and can traumatize your toes. , or by use two sets of laces per shoeone for the toe end, one for the ankle end. Is Your Stride Causing Toe Numbness? Many walkers curl their toes under when they walk, which not only traumatizes the toes, but also doesn t let your foot flatten out as you roll through a step.


Others walk with a tense toes up position. Pay attention to what you are doing with your toes and try to relax them and let them flatten out with each step rather than holding them up or curling them under. Your foot should, heel striking first, rolling through, and then pushing off with the toes. Numb toes can be an important symptom even if it clears up with changes to your shoes and lacing. Discuss this with your doctor at your next check-up even if it goes away. If your toe numbness continues after making changes to your shoe fit and lacing, make an appointment for a check-up and discuss this with your doctor. , and the sooner you are diagnosed and begin controlling your blood sugar, the better your life will be. : If you have diabetes, discuss toe numbness with your doctor immediately. This is a serious condition that can develop when you have poor blood sugar control. If ignored, it can lead to problems including necrosis and amputation. : Many conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy and toe numbness, everything from trauma to alcoholism or vitamin deficiencies. This is all the more reason to get a check-up and discuss this symptom with your doctor. Taking good care of your feet is part of a healthy lifestyle. Treat your feet to shoes that fit properly and are flexible enough to allow a good walking stride. But don t ignore a problem with foot numbness, burning, or other odd sensations that doesn t clear up. American Diabetes Association. http://www. diabetes. org/living-with-diabetes/complications/neuropathy/peripheral-neuropathy. html. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www. niddk. nih. gov/health-information/diabetes/preventing-diabetes-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies.

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