I suffer from thoracic spinal stenosis and have lived with bilateral neuropathy in my legs and feet for years. It's not pleasant and can drive you mad after a while. It's not just numbness but strength, balance and dexterity are all impacted.
Surgery has restored some feeling to my legs but axial nerve regeneration is extremely slow (1-2 mm per year) and some areas may never come back. What most people don't know is the head of the nerve is in your brain and the nerve cells radiate outward from there so any regeneration starts from the head down. This is why recovery is so slow and in the case of severing of the spinal cord due to trauma, usually permanent.
This is why stem cell research is so promising for nerve damage. Looking forward to new breakthroughs in this area.