The medical term for pins and needles on the skin is paresthesia. It could be felt not just in the feet and legs but also in other parts of the body, like the hands, mouth or neck. Usually, this is a painless condition and is accompanied by a sense of numbness and itchiness. We often refer to the prickling sensation in the feet as 'feet fallen asleep'. It can either be a temporary or chronic problem.
Wrong Posture: Tingling feet in the morning is a common occurrence because of awkward positioning of the legs while sleeping or sitting. A foot may go numb due to wrong sleeping position as it may exert some extra pressure on the legs, limiting the flow of blood to the nerves in the lower legs. Numbness may subside soon after the pressure on the leg is relieved. However, if it recurs throughout the day, then its cause has to be identified.
Central Nervous System Disorder: The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. Serious health disorders such as brain abscess, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, transient ischaemic attack (mini stroke), stroke, etc. affect the normal functioning of the central nervous system and lead to loss of sensation in the feet. It is often associated with transverse myelitis (a disease that affects the spinal cord).
Pinched Nerve: The sciatic nerve emerges from vertebrae in the lower part of the back and runs through the legs. If a bulging disc in lower spine gets rubbed against the sciatic nerve, one experiences pins and needles in legs and feet.
Inflammation of the Nerve: This is also known as neuritis. It may occur due to deficiency of vitamin B12 as it adversely affects the functioning of the spinal cord. Sometimes, the nerves are inflamed after excessive intake of alcohol for a prolonged period of time. It can also result from a viral infection known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Nerve Injury: The nerves in the legs may suffer injury during an accident or because of overuse of the legs. If you get a prickling sensation in the feet all of a sudden while running, then it is an indication that the nerves present there are pulled or overstretched after the overuse of feet.
Exposure to Toxins: Presence of a large amount of a toxic substance in the body has an adverse effect on the nerves. Toxic buildup in the body occurs because of metal poisoning (such as lead poisoning) and overdose of medicines or supplements like vitamin B6. Some of them are components of certain drugs and chemotherapy agents which when get accumulated in the body cause damage to the nerves.
Other Causes: Those who are suffering from connective tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus have tingling feet quite frequently. Metabolic disturbances caused by diabetes, hypothyroidism, malnutrition can be held responsible for this problem. In some people, it could be due to a hereditary disease known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, where the leg muscles are wasted. It results in deformation of the foot.
- Immediate Medical Attention: Serious conditions like brain tumor or stroke requires emergency medical intervention.
- Stretching: When you are feeling a mild tingling in your feet, just stretch the limb and hold this position for a while. This will improve the blood circulation and you can get relief within minutes.
- Identifying the Cause: You can successfully get rid of the problem provided its underlying cause is identified and treated properly. Once the cause is cured, the accompanying symptom will disappear on its own.
- Medication: Suitable medicines are used to treat various other medical conditions that trigger this abnormal sensation. Any injury of the nerves due to overuse gives foot pain along with numbness and tingling. These symptoms are alleviated with the help of anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Healthy Diet: Nutritional deficiency is treated with correct dosage of nutritional supplements. You should avoid consumption of alcohol as it tends to aggravate the condition further.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.