When you get a tingling feeling in your hands and/or feet it can be annoying and scary—especially if it’s happening regularly and there is no obvious explanation (like you’ve been sitting with your legs crossed or fell asleep with your arm under your head). And that tingling feeling should concern you if there’s no logical explanation, as it could be a sign that there’s something more serious going on with your body.
What Causes Tingling in Hands and Feet?
When you can’t figure out why your extremities are tingling, get to a doctor, because there could be any number of causes—and some are quite serious. Tingling in the feet, legs, hands, and arms is a common symptom for a number of conditions that can be episodic, severe, or chronic. Furthermore, it could indicate or come along with pain, itching, numbness, or muscle wasting.
Tingling is typically the result of some sort of nerve damage acquired from any number of causes. Peripheral neuropathy is the medical term for it. This is the condition you may have if you have a hard time walking without tingling or pain, for example. There are hundreds of different types of peripheral neuropathy and more than 20 million Americans are estimated to have it.
Tingling in the feet and legs that spreads to the arms and hands may also be a result of diabetes. Tingling is usually one of the first signs of diabetes and is responsible for about 30% of reported “tingling” cases.
Other Potential Causes
Another 30% of cases are the result of unknown causes, also known as “idiopathic,” while the last 40% of cases come from a variety of conditions including:
Nerve entrapment syndrome (such as carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve palsy)
Systemic disease (such as kidney or liver disorders, chronic inflammation, or hypothyroidism)
Vitamin deficiencies (such as deficiencies in vitamins E, B1, B6, B12, and niacin)
Exposure to heavy metals
What Are the Treatments for Tinging in Hands and Feet?
As you might imagine, treating tingling can take a number of different avenues depending on what’s causing it. The first step in getting rid of tingling is having your doctor diagnose its root cause so you can select the best treatment.
What’s good to know is that as long as the nerves are still alive, they have the ability to regenerate if they’re treated properly. So if you have diabetes, for example, a good way to treat it is to pay close attention to blood sugar levels. People with vitamin deficiencies may find supplementation or dietary changes to be an effective form of treatment.
Lifestyle Changes that May Cure Tingling
If you’re experiencing tingling, there are also some general lifestyle choices you can make to try to curb it, but they are not a substitute for checking in with your doctor. A few things that can impact tingling sensations in your extremities are:
Maintaining a healthy weight
Eating a balanced diet