Imagine touching your leg and realizing you can’t feel it. In fact, you can’t feel any sensation in your except maybe for some odd tingling – don’t panic, you are experiencing numbness in your legs.
You might feel like needles are poking you from inside, or even like ants are walking under your skin. If this happens to you, then you have come down with paresthesia. The name may sound intimidating, but it is simply just a medical term for that feeling of numbness and tingling.
Most people have experienced this at some point in their lives, whether in their legs or in other limbs. There are a number of conditions and situations that can cause someone to feel numbness in their legs.
Putting Pressure on the Nerves
This is the most typical cause of paresthesia. Whether you know it or not, it is something so normal that you have almost certainly done it before. It’s as simple as having your legs crossed, kneeling or sitting on your legs for a long period of time. Doing these can press on the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your toes and has roots branching out through the back of each leg. This can cut off circulation to the nerve, causing it to stop sending messages to the brain. When the nerves can’t signal the brain like that, the legs are considered numb.
While in this state, you might not be able to feel your feet stepping on the floor, which can make walking difficult. However, once you’ve assumed a more comfortable position that relieves the pressure, it should fade away within a few minutes.
A Symptom of Certain Diseases
Sometimes relieving numbness in your legs requires more effort than just uncrossing them and shaking it off. Various illnesses and medical conditions that affect nerves and the nervous system can produce numbness and tingling as symptoms because they pinch the nerves. These diseases include peripheral artery disease, hyperthyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and strokes.
Paresthesia also appears in about a quarter of all people with fibromyalgia and about three-fifths of all people with diabetes. Furthermore, it can be the result of conditions that disrupt regular blood flow, such as Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Injuries and Damage to the Skin
Disease is not the only form of harm that can cause numbness in the legs. Injuries and inflammation can put enough pressure on your nerves to cause paresthesia. Peripheral nerve tumors, scar tissue, herniated disks, and carpal tunnel syndrome are all examples.
Skin damage, like rashes and injuries, can also lead to paresthesia. It is a symptom of frostbite, a condition that can also cause Raynaud’s phenomenon; and shingles, which can damage the peripheral nervous system.
While not as common, infections such as Lyme disease, bone and disc infections such as osteomyelitis or spondylodiscitis, and viral infections such as herpes zoster or HIV, are sometimes known to cause leg pain, numbness, and tingling.
People who suffer from anxiety and stress commonly suffer from symptoms that vary wildly. But many people experience tingling, numbness, heaviness, and pain in the extremities as a result of chronic anxiety or stress that can worsen when trying to go to sleep or during a panic attack.
Recovering From Back and Spine Surgery
Herniated discs and protruding spinal bones can be the source of pressure on a nerve. Sometimes doctors perform surgery on the back and spine to relieve this pressure. Some patients immediately stop feeling leg numbness after surgery. If it doesn’t disappear right away, it could just be that the muscles and nerves are still recovering. Give your body a bit of time to lose foot numbness after back surgery.
In some cases, a simple deficiency of vitamins can be the culprit. Electrolyte imbalances can also cause tingling in the legs. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium are the four main electrolytes that carry an electrical charge and help regulate nerve impulses. When they are out of balance, numbness can occur.
When to See a Doctor
Of course, if it persists even after surgery, you should definitely ask a medical professional to check out any numbness in legs. You should also see someone if none of the causes given above seem to be the reason, if the numbness doesn’t go away after some time, or if you experience confusion or lose consciousness while also feeling numb. It might even be a sign of an emergency if you experience this after suffering an injury to your head or your neck.
Visit the UrgentMED Network for Relief from Numbness
If you live in the Los Angeles area and any of this applies to you, the UrgentMED Network can take care of you quickly and effectively, without needing to make an appointment. Check out our on-site lab and receive medication any day of the week and every day of the year. Our 18 Southern California convenient walk-in clinics are here to provide quick and affordable medical support and services, insurance or not.