What makes my toe go numb

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

Symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy:

"Tingling" or "pins and needles" on the skin (paraesthesia)

Touching warm or cold objects can be uncomfortable; medical professionals speak of so-called dysesthesia (abnormal sensations). A feeling of furiness and numbness in the affected extremities is also typical. Occasionally, an affected leg feels swollen even though it isn't thickened. Other patients feel uncomfortable pressure on their feet, even if the shoes are proven not to be too tight. They think they are walking “like cotton wool”. The temperature sensation in the area of ​​the damaged nerves can be disturbed or no longer present at all. Patients are often noticeable because of their unsteady gait, especially in the dark. If the sensation of pain is disturbed, the result is painless wounds that do not heal well because of the impaired function and are dangerous entry points for infections. On the other hand, pains appear spontaneously, which are described as burning or piercing, shooting, stabbing or spasmodic.

Muscle weakness in the hands and feet

As muscle strength decreases, the muscles become thinner. It can even lead to misalignment of the limbs, especially the arch of the foot. Sometimes muscle twitches, not infrequently muscle cramps (especially calf cramps) are observed.

Many patients complain of difficulty swallowing, feeling full or being sick. But alternating diarrhea (at night!) And constipation can sometimes be the first indications of a polyneuropathy of the digestive organs (autonomic polyneuropathy). The impairment of gastric emptying is a problem that is often recognized late and given too little attention. Dangerous hypoglycaemia are the result.

Lightheadedness and fainting spells after getting up

Drowsiness and fainting spells when standing up are the result of impaired nerve control of the blood vessels. The blood vessels do not contract as usual when you stand up, so that the blood pressure suddenly drops. The patient then becomes dizzy, "black before eyes" and can pass out (syncope).

Difficulty urinating and impotence

The damage to autonomic nerve fibers also means that diabetics, for example, no longer have a sense of how full the urinary bladder is. The result is uncontrolled urination. Potency disorders can occur in men.

Weight loss and depression

Weight loss and depression are not a direct consequence of diabetic polyneuropathy, but are common side effects due to the persistent pain.