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"Can you permanently damage nerve cells?"


I stubbed my toe and never got it looked at by a doctor. It has healed but now it feels numb most of the time. Did I ruin the nerves in my toe somehow? Can you permanently damage a nerve?


It sounds like you hit your toe really hard. Depending on how hard you hit it, there is a possibility that you damaged one of your nerves that services the toe. This can happen, though permanent damage is really unusual.

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Nerves that go the the fingers and toes tend to regrow when they get injured like that. Thus, I suspect that if your toe is numb because of an injury, then your feeling will return at some point. This is not the case for other types of nerve damage. For example, people with diabetes also suffer from nerve damage that can effect the toes first. This type of nerve damage can be permanent, especially if their diabetes is not well controlled. It does not sound like this is the problem you have. I think your next best move should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your toe and determine if there needs to be further evaluation, or if you should just wait and see if the feeling returns. If you need further evaluation, then you will first need an x-ray of the toe followed by an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Good luck.

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