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Foot feels numb after acupuncturist did micro bleeding

Q:  Our acupuncturist did micro bleeding on two toes and continued trying to get blood out and now one foot on the side feels numb. The acupuncturist says it is a damaged nerve and will get better? Very worried.

A: Your practitioner is very probably correct in that this is a temporary problem which should resolve quite quickly.

 It is not for us to make judgements about technique, and we are aware that using bleeding techniques can be a slight problem when people do not bleed easily, especially in some areas of the body like the toes where the circulation can be a little slower. If someone has to be needled more than once it is always worthwhile warning the patient that there is a slightly increased risk of bruising.

 We're not sure about the 'damaged nerve'. In our experience if you needle a nerve the patient knows about it very clearly. What he probably means is that there has been slight bruising within the tissue which is not yet visible at the surface, and may never be, but it is slightly impinging a nerve and causing a loss of sensation. As soon as the bruising clears, which may take a few days or perhaps even as long as a week or more, the normal sensation will return. Many people use arnica in one of several forms to encourage the healing of bruising, but that is not within our scope of practice so you would have to take advice from a pharmacist or qualified practitioner on that.

 In the extremely unlikely event that the loss of sensation continues beyond a fortnight then it would be worthwhile getting a referral from your GP to a dermatologist. Any continuing loss of sensation in the toes needs to be investigated, but we think it is highly unlikely that it will come to this.

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