Tingling in the feet: 10 possible causes


Tingling in the feet is a common concern. Many people experience a feeling of "pins and needles" on their feet at some point. Often the feet may also feel numb and painful.

This is not usually a cause for concern. It may be due to pressure on the nerves when you have been in a position for too long. The feeling should disappear when you move.

However, the tingling in the feet can be persistent. If the feeling of "pins and needles" continues for a long period of time or is accompanied by pain, you should consult your doctor. They can help you determine the cause.

Possible causes

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of persistent tingling in the feet. Diabetic neuropathy is the result of nerve damage caused by a high blood sugar level.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • frequent urination

  • extreme thirst

  • dry mouth

  • skin itch

  • breath with the smell of fruit

  • Pain or numbness in the hands and feet.

  • increase in hunger

  • unexpected weight loss

  • slow healing of cuts or sores

  • fungal infections

  • drowsiness or lethargy

  • changes in vision

  • nausea and vomiting

Your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam and perform blood tests to determine if you have diabetes or if your diabetes is causing tingling.

Diabetes can be controlled with changes in lifestyle and various medications, such as insulin.

The pregnancy

It is not uncommon to experience tingling in the feet during pregnancy. As the uterus grows, it can put pressure on the nerves that go down the legs. This causes a feeling of "pins and needles".

You may be able to relieve tingling by:

  • resting with your feet up

  • changing positions

  • making sure you're well hydrated

If the tingling gets worse, does not go away or is accompanied by weakness or swelling, you should consult your doctor to make sure nothing serious happens.

Vitamin deficiency

Not getting enough of certain vitamins, particularly B vitamins, can cause tingling in the feet. Being deficient in vitamins may be due to a poor diet or an underlying condition.

If you are deficient in vitamin B-12, you may have some of the following symptoms:

  • fatigue

  • short of breath

  • dizziness

  • Tingling and coldness in hands and feet.

  • headache

  • Chest pain

  • digestive problems

  • nausea

  • enlarged liver

Your doctor will take a medical and family history, complete a physical examination and have blood drawn to determine if you have a vitamin deficiency.

You may need vitamin supplements or other treatment, depending on the cause of your low vitamin levels.

Renal insufficiency

Kidney failure can cause tingling in the feet. Kidney failure can have many causes, but the most common are diabetes and high blood pressure.

Symptoms of tingling in the feet caused by kidney failure include:

  • Pain, tingling and numbness in the legs and feet.

  • cramps and muscle contractions

  • Sensation of "pins and needles".

  • muscular weakness

Your doctor may perform a series of tests to determine if kidney failure is the cause of your tingling. Tests may include:

  • a neurological exam

  • Electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle activity.

  • a nerve conduction velocity test

  • blood test

Treatment for kidney failure includes dialysis and a kidney transplant.

Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body attacks itself. A series of autoimmune diseases can cause tingling in the feet. Some of these conditions include:

  • lupus

  • Sjogren's syndrome

  • Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrom

  • Celiac Disease

  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

To determine if an autoimmune disorder is causing the tingling in your feet, your doctor will perform a detailed family and medical history, perform a physical examination and probably perform a series of blood tests.

Treatments for autoimmune diseases vary. They may include changes in diet and medications.


A series of infections can cause inflammation of the nerves. This can cause tingling in the feet. These infections include:

  • Lyme's desease

  • herpes

  • Hepatitis B and C

  • The hiv

  • AIDS

  • leprosy

If you think you may have an infection, you should consult your doctor. They will take a medical history, complete a physical examination and probably have blood drawn to detect infectious diseases.

The treatment will vary depending on the infection you have, but will probably include medications.

Use of medications

Some medications can cause tingling in the feet as a side effect. The most common medications that cause this are those used to fight cancer (chemotherapy) and those used to treat HIV and AIDS. Others include medications to treat:

  • seizures

  • heart disease

  • high blood pressure

If you are taking a medication and you experience a tingling in your feet, you should talk to your doctor. They will be able to determine if this is a side effect of your medication. They will also decide if it is necessary to change their dose.

Pinched nerve

If you have a pinched nerve in your back, it can cause tingling in your feet. Pinched nerves may be due to injury or inflammation.

You can also experience:

  • pain

  • Changes in the sensation in your feet.

  • decreased range of motion

Your doctor will complete a medical history and physical exam to determine if you have a pinched nerve. They can also complete an EMG to observe muscle activity or a nerve conduction velocity test. Other tests may include an MRI or an ultrasound.

Treatment for a pinched nerve may include:

  • break

  • medication

  • physical therapy

  • possibly surgery

Exposure to toxins

Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins can cause tingling in the feet. They can also cause pain, numbness, weakness and difficulty walking.

Some toxins that can cause tingling in the feet if swallowed or absorbed through the skin are:

  • lead

  • arsenic

  • mercury

  • Thallium

  • organic insecticides

  • alcohol

  • some medicinal herbs

  • antifreeze

  • glue

It can be difficult to diagnose exposure to toxins as the cause of tingling in the feet. Your doctor will take a medical history, including details about your work and family environment, your diet and any supplements you take. They can perform other tests, including blood tests.

Treatment can include medications, safety measures, and changing your environmental exposure to toxins at work or at home.

Unknown causes

Sometimes people experience tingling in the feet and there is no known cause. Doctors call this "idiopathic."

This condition is more common in people older than 60 years. You may experience symptoms of tingling, pain, numbness, weakness and instability when standing or walking.

Your doctor will complete a physical exam and perform a series of tests to rule out anything that may be causing your symptoms.

The treatment may include:

  • pain medications

  • security measures

  • special shoes

When to see a doctor

If you experience tingling in your feet that does not go away, gets worse, is accompanied by pain or prevents you from walking properly, you should consult a doctor. You may be at risk of falling if you can not feel your feet properly.

If you experience tingling in your feet accompanied by a severe headache, tingling in the face or sudden weakness, you should receive medical attention immediately. These can be signs of a stroke, which can be life-threatening.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/health/tingling-in-feet


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