Experiencing tingling or numbness in one leg or both can be common. This is especially true after sitting in the same position for an extended period of time. This sensation, known as paresthesia, is often due to reduced blood flow or excessive pressure on the nerves.
The condition typically resolves once you change positions. However, persistent or unexplained numbness in the legs could signal an underlying medical issue affecting your central nervous system.
Conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, encephalitis, or peripheral nerve disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome may cause long-lasting numbness. The treatment for leg numbness varies depending on the underlying cause.
This article will explore possible causes of leg numbness, associated symptoms, how paresthesia is diagnosed and treated, and what you can do to treat your leg numbness.
Sitting or standing in one position for a long time can lead to temporary numbness due to nerve compression or reduced blood flow. Once you change positions, the sensation typically subsides.
Numerous health conditions can cause leg numbness, including:
- Vitamin Deficiencies: Deficiencies in vitamins B12 and thiamine can lead to nerve damage and numbness.
- Environmental Factors: Frostbite, insect bites, or exposure to toxins in seafood can result in numbness.
- Medications and Surgery: Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and surgical procedures, can cause nerve damage and numbness.
- Vascular Issues: Conditions like vasculitis or atherosclerosis can restrict blood flow to the legs, causing numbness.
- Neurological Conditions: Injuries, herniated disks, pinched nerves, or cervical spine trauma can lead to numbness.
- Chronic Diseases: The following conditions can cause long-term numbness in the legs:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Transverse myelitis
Numbness in the legs may be accompanied by other symptoms, including
- Back pain
- Burning sensations
- Crawling feelings under the skin
- Muscle spasms
- Sensitivity to touch
- Trouble sitting or standing
- Weakness in the affected leg
While occasional tingling or numbness in the legs is common and often resolves on its own, persistent or frequent episodes warrant medical attention. Your healthcare provider will conduct an extensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause. The following tests are usually included in the examination.
- Blood work
- Nerve conduction studies
- Lumbar puncture
- Thyroid function testing
- Toxicology screening
- Imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs
How To Treat Your Leg Numbness
Treatment for leg numbness depends on the underlying cause. If it’s due to a chronic condition, the focus will be on symptom management and disease control. Acute conditions or injuries will require specific treatments and rehabilitation.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications like Cymbalta, Neurontin, Tegretol, Pamelor, or Lyrica to manage pain and discomfort. The following home remedies may provide temporary relief:
- Rest and elevation
- Cold therapy
- Compression socks
- Foot soaks
- Capsaicin ointment
When to Seek Medical Attention
It’s essential to book an appointment with your healthcare provider if you experience ongoing or frequent episodes of leg numbness. Visit a qualified medical practitioner if the leg numbness is accompanied by other symptoms like changes in leg color, shape, or temperature, dizziness, rash, muscle spasms, or unusual sensations.
Seek the help of a relevant doctor if you experience sudden numbness, back injury, inability to move or walk, loss of bladder or bowel control, confusion, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, or vision problems.
Final Words On How To Treat Your Leg Numbness
Tingling or numbness in the legs can stem from various causes, ranging from temporary issues to chronic conditions. It is essential to seek the help of a medical practitioner for diagnosis and treatment plans when experiencing persistent leg numbness. Some causes may be manageable with simple treatments, while others may require ongoing medical care.