Physical Symptoms

What Toe Problems Are Caused by Anxiety?

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

What Toe Problems Are Caused by Anxiety?

The physical symptoms of anxiety can cause a considerable amount of worry, because they often take place in the heart, lungs, and brain. But the truth is that anxiety affects every part of your body, quite literally from head to toe. In this article, we'll explore some of the toe problems caused by anxiety and stress, and what you can do to control them.

Types of Toe Problems

Contrary to popular belief, your toes are actually one of the first areas of your body affected by changes in your breathing, heart, hormones, and more. They may not cause as significant issues as other areas of the body, but there are several ways that anxiety can affect the toe.

Examples of these types of toe symptoms include:

  • Tingling Toes The most common symptom is tingling toes. Anxiety leads to a breathing issue known as hyperventilation. When you hyperventilate, your blood is deprived of carbon dioxide and your blood vessels contract. This causes less blood to move to your extremities, which can make them tingle.
  • Cold Toes The opposite reaction can occur as a result of anxiety itself. Anxiety releases adrenaline, which takes blood out of some parts of your body and into your muscles. This can cause your toes to be cold. In addition, anxiety causes sweating, and the feet tend to be the area most sensitive to cold.
  • Toe Pain Anxiety does not directly cause toe pain. But what anxiety does do is make you more likely to notice minor pains you may not have noticed otherwise. This is known as hypersensitivity and it affects many people with anxiety attacks. In addition, in some cases anxiety can affect the way you walk or sit, which may mean more pressure on your toes.
  • Short Nails Anxiety does not affect nail length. This is one of the few areas that stress doesn't appear to change. However, picking your nails (even on your toes) is a habit/tic that some people do when they have anxiety without realizing it. This can cause short, and even painful nails if you pick too deeply.
  • Toes Smelling Toes that seem to smell more than other toes may not be affected by anxiety - after all, smelly feet are common for everyone. But in some uncommon cases the excess sweat from your anxiety may lead to slightly more of an odor than you would have had otherwise.

Because of hypersensitivity, as mentioned above, it's possible that some of your toe problems are not caused by anxiety at all. Instead, anxiety simply makes you notice them more and react to them worse. For example, toe discoloration and toe itching are both normal problems that can occur for any number of reasons, but those with anxiety tend to worry that they may mean something or that they may be anxiety related.

How to Overcome the Anxiety Toe Problems

There are no toe problems that are permanent, dangerous, or even that problematic from anxiety. Most are simply an inconvenience, or cause worries about whether or not they mean something about your health.

The truest and easiest way to solve these issues is to simply stop your anxiety. If you stop your anxiety, you'll immediately stop any anxiety related foot or toe issues.

Questions? Comments?

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Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

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