Feeling numbness in your feet and legs are common and it happens when you put too much pressure on your nerves and reduce blood flow. Although, long-lasting numbness in your legs and feet can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Long-term numbness or tingling feeling in the legs can be a sign of underlying conditions. Numbness in the feet and legs can be due to conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Peripheral artery disease, etc. The sensation can be felt in your whole leg, below the knee, or in a different type of foot.
In this guide, we have mentioned some of the most common ways a person may experience numbness in the legs and the feet.
Causes of Numbness in Legs and Feet
Often, a person’s legs and feet will go numb because of their posture. However, a chronic or long-lasting numbness in the feet and legs is a sign of a hidden medical problem. Common conditions that are associated with feet and legs include:
Postural habits that put pressure on nerves or reduce blood flow in the lower limbs, and it is the most common reason for numbness in the legs and feet. Some habits that can cause your feet and legs to fall asleep are:
- Crossing the legs for too long
- Sitting or kneeling for longer periods
- Sitting on your feet
- Wearing pants, socks, or shoes are too tight
Injuries to the torso, spine, hips, legs, ankles and feet can put pressure on the nerves and it can cause your legs to go numb.
Some people with diabetes can develop a type of nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the feet.
4. Alcohol Use
The toxins in alcohol can cause nerve damage that’s associated with numbness, especially in the feet.
Chronic or excessive alcohol consumption can lead to nerve damage that causes numbness. This type of nerve damage can reduce the levels of B vitamins, such as B-1, B-9 folate, and B-12, which are caused by alcohol intake.
5. Multiple Sclerosis
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) can often experience sensory nerve damage that can cause numbness in a small region of their body or whole limbs. Although numbness associated with MS only lasts for a short period, it can last long enough to become disabling.
Symptoms of Numbness in the Legs
Numbness is just one of the many symptoms associated with temporary and chronic numbness. A lot of people with numbness in their legs and feet experience additional symptoms that include:
- A crawling feeling under your skin
Treatment of Numbness in the Legs and Feet
There are some medical options you can try for long-term numbness in the legs and feet, these include:
- Antidepressants: Specific antidepressants, such as duloxetine and milnacipran, have been approved as a treatment for numbness in the legs.
- Corticosteroids: Some corticosteroids can help in reducing chronic inflammation and numbness associated with specific conditions, such as MS.
- Gabapentin and Pregabalin: Medication that block and change nerve signaling can reduce numbness associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia, MS, and diabetic neuropathy.
Home Remedies for Numbness in the Legs
Home remedies can help in getting rid of uncomfortable numbness in your leg and feet, these remedies include:
- Rest: Many of these conditions that cause leg and foot numbness, such as nerve pressure, improve with rest.
- Ice: Ice can help in reducing the swelling that can put pressure on the nerves. All you need to do is apply cold compresses or wrapped icepacks to numb legs and feet for 15 minutes at a time.
- Heat: Heat can at times loosen stiff, sore, or tense muscles that can put pressure on your nerves and cause numbness. However, avoid overheating numb legs and feet, as this can worsen inflammation and cause pain and numbness.
- Massage: Massaging your numb legs and feet helps in improving your blood flow and reduces symptoms.
- Exercise: Without proper exercise, your heart and blood vessels can weaken, and it reduces their ability to pump blood to the lower limbs.
- Supportive Devices: Braces and specially designed footwear can reduce nerve pressure caused by conditions such as injury, tarsal tunnel syndrome, or flat feet.
- Sleep: Many of the chronic conditions associated with leg and foot numbness are known to worsen with a lack of proper sleep.
- A Healthful, Balanced Diet: Malnutrition, especially Vitamin B deficiency can cause nerve damage which leads to numbness. Getting enough vitamins and other nutrients can reduce chronic inflammation and pain.
- Alcohol Reduction and Avoidance: Alcohol contains toxins that can cause nerve damage and numbness. Alcohol can make your numbness, and inflammatory conditions worse and can even cause flare-ups.
Some alternative therapies have been shown to reduce the numbness in the legs and feet. These therapies include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Guided imagery
- Vitamin B supplementation (B-3, B-6, and B-12)
Conclusion: Numbness in Legs and Feet
Numbness in the legs and feet is a common disorder, though when it becomes chronic, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Anyone who has experienced numbness that’s unexplained, frequent, disabling, or accompanied by other chronic symptoms, should immediately seek a medical condition.