Reasons for numb feet & legs

Updated November 22, 2016

Numbness in the legs and feet can be caused by several factors. Any unusual or reoccurring numbness, tingling or uncomfortable feeling in the legs and/or feet should be addressed and treated.

Everyday Causes

Sitting with crossed legs, sitting on a foot, sitting or squatting for a long time, or even a bulging wallet in a back pocket can cause leg and foot numbness. These can all put pressure on nerves or arteries in the legs and feet and cause them to "fall asleep."


Any disruption to the sciatic nerve can cause pain in the legs and feet. In addition to pain, numbness, tingling and weakness can occur. Often, the discomfort is felt on just one side; however, it can affect both legs and feet.

Disc Problems

A bulging or herniated disc in the back can cause leg and foot numbness and pain. Sitting, standing, sleeping, bending, lifting and movement can aggravate the numbness and pain.

Spinal Tumors, Infections and Spasms

A spinal tumour or infection can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause leg and foot numbness and pain. Spinal spasms, also called piriformis syndrome, are another cause.


Pregnancy may also result in leg and foot numbness and pain. The womb can exert pressure on the sciatic nerve and be the cause. The symptoms are usually relieved after childbirth.

Diseases and Symdromes

Other causes for leg and foot pain and numbness include restless leg syndrome, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, stroke, Raynaud's phenomenon and the hereditary diseases Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and Marfan syndrome.

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