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Tingling toes/ball of foot when I walk or flap my right foot

by Andrea
(Pasadena, CA)


For the past two weeks I have noticed that when I walk or (tap/flap) my right foot, I get a momentary tingling sensation that vibrates in my right foot for just 1 or 2 seconds, and then it quickly fades away. It affects the big toe, second and third toe, and part of the ball of the foot. This vibration usually repeats each time I take a step or move my foot. I can best describe it as a light reverberation, like what a gong does when it's hit. (PING!)

I have no other tingling or numbness in any other part of my body, and this does NOT happen if I keep my foot still (such as when I'm sitting still, standing in place, laying down/sleeping). I have no pain or weakness at all.

If I move my foot side to side it usually does not vibrate. Seems to be more the up and down motion. It happens when I walk (usually just as Im lifting my foot off the ground), or if I flap my foot up and down (as if my foot was nodding yes). It does NOT vibrate in a pulsing manner, like a cell phone. It just vibrates once, while in motion, and then it stops (it repeats only when I initiate another motion with my foot).

I also notice that if I lay flat (feet level with my body), the tingling doesnt happen when I move my foot. It seems to occur more when I my feet are below my body (walking OR sitting and moving my feet)

Two weeks before this tingling sensation started, I stumbled and twisted my right ankle. My ankle went outward. I basically teetered off the edge of a cement walkway and the outside edge of my foot (metatarsal bone?) took the impact. I had swelling and bruising to the outer edge/bottom of my foot just before the pinkie toe area. I had to walk on my in-step the next day to avoid the pain on the outside/bottom of my foot. The next day I was fine and resumed normal walking.

I'm curious if this injury may be related to the toe tingling. Perhaps the ankle has caused me to have tarsal tunnel syndrome? Ive searched online, and this is the only foot condition that resembles my situation. I've read that an ankle trauma can cause tarsal tunnel. My ankle did not hurt the day after my stumble, but I do recall that my ankle hurt quite a bit when I initially stumbled (I first worried that I sprained my ankle).


Hi Andrea,

Although I do not have the luxury of actually examining you, I suppose tarsal tunnel cannot be ruled out because your area of tingling appears to follow the path of the medial plantar nerve which originates in the tarsal tunnel area, so any impingement of this nerve any where along its course could give you the symptoms that you are experiencing.
There may be a cause and effect between the ankle sprain you suffered two weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.
Your options here include doing nothing and see if the symptoms dissipate over the next month or so. I say this, because if the tarsal tunnel symptoms were the result of a specific trauma, there is a good chance the tingling may subside. Taking anti-inflammatory medication (if you can tolerate it) for about 10-14 days may also be beneficial in reducing the inflammation within the tarsal tunnel canal which is what may be causing your symptoms. Additionally, wearing an arch support in your shoes repositions your foot in such a manner to reduce strain on the nerves within the tarsal tunnel canal.
The caveat here is if your symptoms further worsen, in which case you would want to see a foot specialist as soon as possible to prevent more severe pain. As in most medical conditions, the worse the problem gets, the more difficult it is to treat.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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