Many people experience tingling sensations in their hands and feet that come and go. Are these cause for concern? The short answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.
This tingling — or prickly pins and needles sensation — is called paresthesia. It happens when pressure is put on your nerves or blood vessels. You could experience temporary paresthesia in the hands or feet by sitting cross-legged or sleeping in an odd position. Paresthesia could also occur in your arms and legs.
Symptoms of this often temporary and harmless condition could include a prickly sensation, numbness, itching, or a subtle burning sensation that doesn’t usually lead to pain.
The range and severity of paresthesia symptoms depend on their source. Especially if your paresthesia symptoms are long lasting and cause you discomfort, further research and a doctor’s care might be necessary.
Check out our list of eight things your tingling hands and feet could be telling you about your health.
8. You May Need More Vitamins
According to Unity Point Health, your nervous system needs certain vitamins to work properly. This is especially true of B vitamins. Tingling of your hands and feet could occur as a result of deficiencies in vitamins B1, B6, and B12. Niacin and vitamin E are also important for a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin deficiencies aren’t the only vitamin-related culprits of paresthesia. Sometimes having too much of a vitamin can cause prickling sensations, as could be the case with too much vitamin B6.
7. You May Need to Drink Less Alcohol
Unity Point Health also suggests that a high intake of alcohol could lead to vitamin deficiencies, causing the tingling symptoms of paresthesia. Lowering alcohol intake might decrease these symptoms.
Since alcoholism tends to be paired with low nutrition intake, adopting a whole food, nutrient-rich diet could help both conditions.
First, more nutrients consumed from healthy foods and healthy supplements could reduce tingling in hands and feet. Second, high nutrition intake might help a person feel stronger physically and mentally to overcome alcohol addiction.
6. You May Have an Infection
Tingling sensations could be symptoms of infections; in particular that of shingles, herpes or HIV. Even after shingles or herpes outbreaks subside, symptoms of paresthesia may continue for the short or long term. In most cases of these infections, tingling sensations come and go.
5. You May Have an Injury
Were you recently injured? Nerve compression or damage caused by an injury could cause tingling hands and feet. Two injuries commonly resulting in paresthesia could include a herniated disc and sciatica. These two conditions are related to radiculopathy.
Radiculopathy, as explained by Johns Hopkins Medical, is the collection of symptoms related to pinched nerves in the spinal column. These pinched nerves can result from injury and cause symptoms of tingling or prickly sensations.
4. You May Have Symptoms of Systemic Disease
A systemic disease is one that affects the whole body. Tingling of hands and feet could be symptoms of systemic diseases like diabetes and leukemia.
However, it’s important to note a distinction between compressed nerves of paresthesia and the nerve pain from nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy.
The constant battle of glucose regulation of diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves, which can cause tingling or prickly sensations from peripheral neuropathy.
3. Your Environment Could Be a Problem
Environmental toxins could be a source of tingling hands and feet, if you’ve ingested enough of those toxins to cause harm. From industrial chemicals to an overload of minerals our bodies need to survive, environmental toxins can do life-threatening damage to the body.
Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves and blood vessels) resulting in tingling hands and feet could come from exposure to many different toxins like ethanol, lead, and mercury.
2. Your Weight Could Be a Cause
Considerable pressure against our nerves could also be caused by obesity. Carrying significant extra weight can put enough stress on nerves to damage them.
And, like someone with diabetes, an obese person is more likely to experience the kind of glucose fluctuations that could also cause damage to nerves and blood vessels.
Even carpal tunnel nerve damage and tingling can happen more often in those who are obese, due to higher probability of blood sugar dysregulation.
1. You Might Need to Move Around More
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you might experience tingling hands and feet more than very active people. Spending many hours a day sitting or lying down puts added pressure on your nerves. Movement helps prevent that kind of nerve compression from happening.
Though repetitive motion can have the opposite effect. Let’s say it was your job to turn some kind of crank for hours at a time. You’d likely develop tingling in your hand, arm or elbow from that repetitive motion. You’d probably need lots of breaks and to switch hands regularly to try and prevent nerve damage.
If you’re experiencing long-term tingling in your hands and feet, consult with your doctor about therapies and medications that might help bring relief.