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Tingling in Hands and Feet

Updated on December 19, 2013

Tingling in hands and feet is described as an abnormal feelingthat can be compared to a pin or needle pricking the skin. It can happen at any time and disturb our sleep. This tingling sensation is called as ‘paresthesia.’ The tingling may be constant or irregular. The pain linked with tingling in feet may make activities such as walking, uneasy.When the tingling is for a few seconds or a few minutes, then it is said to be normal. But if the tingling last for several hours then a medical expert should be consulted as soon as possible. The main cause for tingling in hands and feet is nerve damage. Obstruction in blood circulation in the extremities may also result in tingling. Proper diagnosis is necessary for correct treatment.

Symptoms of Tingling in Hands and Feet

Some common symptoms that may accompany tingling in hands and feet are pricking sensation, weakening in hands and feet, dizziness, numbness, and uneasiness while engaging in activities like walking.

Causes for Tingling in Hands and Feet

Tingling in hands and feet may be due to various reasons ranging from nutritional deficiencies to severe disease or a nervous system disorder. Some of the causes are as follows:

  • Vitamin deficiency: Vitamins such as B5, B6, B12, A, and D are necessary for good health. When these vitamins are deficient then it causes tingling in hands and feet. It is accompanied with other signs like fatigue, tiredness, muscle weakness and loss of sensation. Thus it is essential to consume the sufficient vitamins in diet to avoid tingling in hands and feet.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: It is a disease wherein the cells of the immune system that fight infection damage the protective covering of the nerves, which leads to decline in the functioning of the nerves. When the nerves of the legs and hands are affected it causes tingling and pain in these body parts.
  • Anxiety and migraines: Anxieties and migraines are the common causes for tingling in hands and feet. An anxious person experiences physiological changes such as increased heart beat, shallow breathing and numbness. In case of migraines too symptoms like numbness in hands, feet, neck and mouth are evident.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes, especially diabetes type 2, causes tingling in hands and feet. High blood sugar and glucose levels result in malfunctioning of the nervous system which in turn further causes damage to the nervous system.
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA):It is also referred to as a ‘mini stroke.’ It is a disorder caused due to the temporary loss of blood supply to the brain leading to interruption in brain function. This may cause tingling in various body parts like hands, feet, etc, which may last for an hour or two. This may further lead to numbness in those parts.
  • Angina: Angina is caused because of the thickening of the arteries resulting in reduced supply of oxygen to the heart. This causes tingling in the left side of body along with acute pain.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: This results in damage to the nerves pertaining to hands and feet. As there is loss of sensation in the nerves located in the area, one may experience tingling in hands and feet. Exposure to toxic substances, accidents and certain chemotherapy drugs, rheumatoid arthritis and uncontrolled diabetes can also cause peripheral neuropathy.
  • Thyroid Problems: Thyroid is one of the essential glands responsible for good health. Any problem with the thyroid gland can result in tingling sensation in hands and feet. Usually hypoparathyroidism and hypothyroidism are the primary causes for this occurrence.
  • Fibromyalgia: Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia are fatigue and joint stiffness. People with fibromyalgia experience pain and tingling sensation, which is not restricted and can affect multiple sites on the body. Although old people are at increased risk of fibromyalgia, physical trauma can also trigger this disorder.
  • Raynaud's Syndrome: It is a disorder in which there are spasms in the blood vessel due to excess emotional vent-out and low temperature. These spasms can limit the blood flow to hands and feet, causing the tingling sensation.
  • Compromised Blood Flow: When leg arteries are blocked to an extent due to cholesterol buildup, there can be a tingling sensation in the legs. Over the time, the arteries can stiffen causing worsening problems to the extremities, which can also manifest in the form of tingling in arms and legs while walking.

Treatment for Tingling in Hands and Feet

Correct treatments can be done only after diagnosing the cause for tingling in hands and feet.

Treatment is also aimed at preventing aggravation of the underlying condition. For example, multiple sclerosis patients are often advised to start a regular exercise routine and are given corticosteroids to reduce pain in the extremities.

If the tingling in hands and feet is frequent one should consult the doctor immediately


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    • kristyleann profile image

      Kristy LeAnn 4 years ago from Princeton, WV

      I'm glad I came across this. I've been having a weird problem where an arm or leg will just randomly start tingling but it's really painful. It's like it "fell asleep" but it happens out of no where and even when I'm not really in a position to make it fall asleep. It's really painful and takes forever to go away. I think I'll try to see a doctor soon and ask them about it.