General Question

monsoon's avatar

Does any one know what causes a painful paralysis in the toes?

Asked by monsoon (2483 points ) June 5th, 2008

I’ve had this weird thing since I was a teenager (and just found out that my mom did too), where my toes seize up painfully, becoming really tight, as if i was trying to stretch them as far as they could go. But this happens involuntarily, and hurts quite a lot. I would have to physically press them down with my hands in order to get them to stop (and to stop hurting).

Does any one else know what causes this, or have this happen to them?

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16 Answers

brownlemur's avatar

I don’t think that is paralysis, it sounds more like cramping. Sometimes too little potassium in the body can cause that.

monsoon's avatar

Yeah, “cramping” makes more sense. I never thought to use that word.

monsoon's avatar

@brownlemur, actually, just putting “foot cramping” instead of “foot paralysis” lead to a plethora of google results that I couldn’t find before :) Thanks.

Apparently it is mostly to do with diet. Maybe I should start taking a multivitamin.

brownlemur's avatar

No problem. Also, nice use of the word plethora!

buster's avatar

my toes sometimes do that after swimming a lot.

AstroChuck's avatar

You should call for a toe truck.

tekn0lust's avatar

The men in my family have “peripheral neuropathy” that is genetic. As we get older we start getting numbness and pain in our extremities especially the toes. My grand father had it my father and both uncles have it and now my self and two brothers are showing early symptoms.

Not exactly the symptoms you describe, but maybe something to look at.

wildflower's avatar

I get those cramps too, in toes, feet and legs. I think as well as diet, there seems to be a connection to the shoes I’ve been wearing (more likely to get these cramps if I’ve gone from heel to flat) and amount/type of walking I’ve done (without warm-up/stretching).

DeezerQueue's avatar

Shoes have a lot to do with, you’re pinching a nerve. Pumps are the prime suspects in a lot of cases.

scamp's avatar

It could be a condition called Morton’s neuroma.

monsoon's avatar

Never worn high heals in my life, and I really only wear tennis shoes. I was wearing flip flops when it happened last.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Pumps aren’t the only reason, but I recently had a professional tell me that. Up to then I’d worn a lot of pumps, in fact and it was actually tendinitis that led me to him in the first place. But he told me that the supports that he was going to fit me for would take care of that, too. It did. It was probably one of the best investments that I’ve ever made in my life. It comes from were your body weight ultimately lands when you walk. The supports helped to shift and displace that.

It might be worth checking into, getting supports that are made specifically for you.

He also said that a person should never go barefoot. I’m not sure what that would mean to you, but I wasn’t very happy to hear it. I love going barefoot, particularly around the house, but don’t do it anymore.

monsoon's avatar

Wow, if getting rid of my foot cramps meant never going barefoot… I don’t even think that’s a worthy trade off. Honestly it doesn’t happen all the time or anything, I love my feet.

scamp's avatar

Did you read the link on Morton’s Neuroma? I used to work for a podiatrist, and what you are describing sounds like that.

monsoon's avatar

Yeah I did, it didn’t sound like that was it. “localized pain” is really not the right word for the excruciating tightness I feel that seems to come from all my toes cramping and stretching, and it didn’t say anything about my foot seizing up and my toes outstretching involuntarily. Also, as I said, shoes and walking don’t seem to have anything to do with it. It usually happens when I’m sitting down.

Maybe that link didn’t fully explain it?

scamp's avatar

Maybe this will give you a little better description. I found the other link in a hurry yesterday because I was at work. I’ve heard patients with this problem describe similar symptoms to yours, which is why I thought you would want to check into this. Whatever it is, I hope you find some relief.

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