Numbness is an absence of feeling that can affect the toes for a variety of reasons. When a nerve branch is squeezed or irritated in any of your body's peripheries---arms, hands, legs or feet---numbness usually occurs in that area. In and of itself, toe numbness is not usually a medical concern, but it is a sign that something is wrong and the underlying cause must be treated or resolved to prevent further damage to your foot and your general health.
Peripheral neuropathy is a nervous system condition that can temporarily cause numbness, tingling and pain in the toes. It can result from trauma to the feet from wearing ill-fitting shoes that cramp the toes. It can also result from a variety of metabolic, vascular and glandular disorders or infections that affect nerve tissue. In some people, there is a genetic basis for peripheral neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy is a nervous system disorder specifically associated with diabetes that causes numbness in the toes. It is most common in people with diabetes who are overweight, have high blood pressure and blood fat levels, have trouble controlling their blood sugar and have had diabetes for more than 25 years, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.
Morton's neuroma, also known as plantar neuroma or intermetatarsal neuroma, is a benign overgrowth of nerve cells that develops most frequently between the third and fourth toes. The toes feel numb and you may experience burning pain in the ball of your foot. It is commonly the result of excessive pressure or irritation from wearing ill-fitting shoes or an injury to the foot from a sports-related or other accident. It is also possible to develop a neuroma as a result of other foot problems that cause irregular movement of the foot.
Raynaud's Disease is a condition where the blood supply to the fingers, toes, ears and tip of the nose is limited because of constrictions, or spasms, in the arteries. As a result, these areas of the body feel numb and cold and become pale in color. Raynaud's disease affects more women than men, according to the Mayo Clinic, and is more prevalent in colder climates because the body becomes more sensitive to cold temperatures. Raynaud's may strike for no apparent reason or it may occur secondary to other conditions such as lupus, scleroderma or repetitive trauma or injury to the feet or toes.