Numbness - what could cause it

Hi, a new recent thing which has developed is what can only be described as numbness in both my feet predominantly in the last 3 toes of both feet. I have had RA for 29 years getting progressively worse, it affects nearly all my joints. My ankles and feet have been a problem for the last few years and this numbness has only been here for approx 8 weeks. It's an odd sensation not exactly painful but not pleasant. Can anyone give me any help or advice?

10 Replies

  • Hi there do you think it could be a circulation problem because I have RA and OA and my body can be on fire but my toes and fingertips are always cold

  • My circulation is okay, my feet are usually warm so not circulation, I'm not sure whether it's a nerve trapped or something?

  • Do your toes turn yellow when numb? If so it could be Raynoud's syndrome

  • Hi Matilda7, no I had thought of that but my toes are a healthy pink. Many thanks

  • I get this with my feet.Sometimes it's both feet or just part if one.I mentioned to my rheumy and he just said it's all part of condition.I have also been told it's part of Fibro too

  • Thank you, I will mention it to rheumy when I next see them. Hadn't thought of Fibro though

  • Hi dippy, love the name,

    Can I put something else into the equation. My feet have been painful but bearable for a few years now, mine are cold same as my fingers but I have had raynards for year's now and diagnosed with sjogrens syndrome so just got on with things. Last October after wearing sandles through the Sumner and the base of my foot became very painful my gp refered me to a chropodist . Started wearing built in shoes but gradually my end 3 toes got extremely painful.

    My appointment came round and I was told she had no idea why my feet were like that and passed me to a podiatrist. My diagnosis as soon as I was seen ( very quickly) straight away told me that I have rheumatoid feet !!! Just seeing the way I walk he could tell.... funny the PIP assessment said I had a perfect gait!.........

    Apparently we all have cushioning on the base of our feet to cushion the skeleton from damage. With RA ( I was diagnosed in 2002 ) the cushioning can get pushed up under the toes, hence the pain in my sole, it will then try and get between the toes causing more pain. My toes have now pushed out at the side of my right foot making my toes and feet numb. So then refered on to a surgeon who I saw Jan 3rd. Who was brilliant, I'm due to go and have surgery to realign under my small toes and put pins in to hold in place. Nothing can reverse the damage but I'm also having some insoles individually made , rheumatoid feet also have fallen arches !, and it should help with easier less painful walking.

    I should be going in as soon as the weather's a bit warmer as I also have pulmonary fibrosis so need warm weather to give my foot a fighting chance to heal.

    You may not have this condition dippy but worth asking, oh and dont wait for your rheumy appointment see your gp.

    Hope this helps and sorry its a long winded post but my family do say I go round the houses when "talking" .

    I have said before about even the slightest symptom tell someone because in my case the same as others all my conditions lead back to rheumatoid arthritis. This disease does like to share. !! That's why it should be called rheumatoid disease.

    Take care Linda x

  • Hi Linda, thank you so much for your reply and sorry that you are having so much trouble.

    I already have my shoes from the orthotist and know that my toes are misaligned and getting worse though wasn't aware it could cause numbness. I also have problems with my ankles which I thought could be the cause. I will most definitely go to see GP. I feel that it's getting to the stage that I question myself as to relevancy of my symptoms as in, I am imagining this?

    I will let everyone know how it goes. Once again, thank you, I really hope your op solves your problems. Take care.


  • You could ask to have blood tests for your autoimmuno profile. Once you have one autoimmune condition, you are a candidate for others. Numbness or neuropathy is a symptom of other autoimmune conditions, eg parietal cell (resulting in pernicious anaemia), hashimoto's thyroid disease. Neuropathy is also a symptom of diabetes. I am not saying it is any of these but it may be worth checking. I have a friend with pernicious anaemia and when she is due an injection of Vit B12, her arms go wobbly and she can't drive. It might be worth having Vit B12 and folate blood levels checked. The results can be just borderline, in which case nothing will be done and it will be dismissed, so it is worth checking everything to see if you can identify a pattern or connection.

    I had numbness and burning in my forearms and numbness in my hands when the RA suddenly came on. This was put down to excessive liquid within the hands, seen at ultrasound. I also had numbness in my lower left leg, which has cleared up but no cause was identified - the swelling, compared with the right, can be seen clearly on photos.

  • Thank you for this. Have made an appointment for next week and going armed with lots of questions.

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