Ticklish Feet: It’s a Touchy Subject!

Courtesy Dr. Anant Joshi

There is no argument that feet are extremely ticklish.  But what makes our feet so sensitive to tickling?  As it turns out, thousands of nerves are to blame for making us squirm. 


Our feet are undeniably strong (they support our body weight), but each foot has about 8,000 nerve endings, making them as sensitive as they are strong.  Scientists believe these nerve endings exist to protect our feet from injuries, and because the nerves are a mixture of both touch receptors and pain receptors that carry information to the brain, feet tickling creates very different sensations in each individual person.


Add to this, there are two different types of tickling.  Light tickling, such as a feather brushing across the soles of your feet, is called knismesis. This type of tickle frequently produces irritation that makes a person instinctively pull away rather than laugh with pleasure. Meanwhile, harder tickling is called gargalesis. This type of tickle comes from using your fingers on the sole of the foot and usually elicits laughter from your “victim” if done playfully.


While some people genuinely dislike the fact that their feet are ticklish, having sensitive feet is a good thing. Non-ticklish feet could be a sign of problems with a person’s nerve receptors, which can happen from illnesses like arthritis, diabetes, and neuropathy, which is a degenerative nerve disease.


If you’re concerned that you are losing feeling in your feet or your feet feel numb, don’t ignore it.  Give our office a call at (973) 256-3919 and come in to see us.  We’ll check things out to make sure you keep on walking!

We are located at 1031 McBride Avenue, Suite D-105, Woodland Park, NJ, 07424.


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