Tingling and numbness in the feet is a symptom that can result from a variety of medical conditions. Since the feet are the furthest part of the body from the heart, it is easier for them to experience low blood flow, which can cause tingling and numbness. Some of the conditions that lead to tingling and numbness may be serious, so it is important to determine the cause of the symptoms quickly and seek medical attention if necessary.
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Numbness and tingling in the feet is often caused by external restrictions on blood flow through the legs. This may lead to the feeling of the legs or feet "falling asleep." Elevation of the legs for an extended period of time can cause tingling. Anything that restricts blood flow through the legs, such as a tight bandage, tourniquet or weight placed on the legs can limit blood flow and cause tingling. It can be caused by sitting on your own legs or crossing the legs.
Temperature of the tissues of the legs impacts how quickly fluids will move through them. When the legs are kept cool for an extended period of time, the feet are likely to become numb. Also, if the skin of the feet is subjected to extreme cold, the cold will numb the nerves of the foot. Since water is a better conductor of temperature than air, placing the feet in cold water will cause numbness quickly.
A stroke is a serious episode of brain damage which results from an interruption of blood flow to the brain. This can lead to being unable to control the limbs or cause them to feel as if they are tingling or numb. The damage caused by strokes is often permanent. Other factors that damage the brain's function such as brain cancer or tumours may lead to similar feelings in the feet.
Diabetes and Weight
Diabetes is another condition that often causes numbness in the feet. Being overweight can also increase the likelihood of foot numbness. Obesity increases the likelihood of diabetes and also dilutes overall blood flow through the body, so it is easier for a certain area to get too little blood. The additional stress of walking with a large amount of weight on the feet can cause numbness and tingling.
The nervous system is what senses feelings like pain, temperature and pressure and delivers them to the brain. If the nervous system is damaged or inhibited, it can lead to feelings of tingling and numbness. Spinal cord injury can lead to foot numbness, as can tumours in the spine. Alcohol abuse and the use of painkillers or illicit drugs can affect the nervous system and cause foot numbness and tingling.
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