Numbness is most often caused by damage, irritation or compression of nerves. A single nerve branch, or several nerves, may be affected, as with a slipped disc in the back or carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, which can damage the longest, most sensitive nerve fibers (such as those going to your feet), can also cause numbness.
Usually, the affected nerves are located on the periphery of your body. Only rarely is numbness caused by problems in your brain or spinal cord. Numbness alone is only rarely associated with potentially life-threatening disorders, such as strokes or tumors.
Your doctor will need detailed information about your symptoms to diagnose the cause of your numbness. A variety of tests may be needed to confirm the cause before appropriate treatment can begin.
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.