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What Are the Causes of Tingling in the Feet?

By Valery Elias ; Updated July 27, 2017

Tingling in the feet can originate from many causes, including disease, diet, and environmental factors. Underlying causes of tingling in the feet can be determined by your doctor, who will provide appropriate treatment options that may include medication, exercise, or lifestyle changes. Treatment may relieve symptoms and prevent the condition from becoming worse.

Foot Falling Asleep Sensation

Sitting in one position for too long can cause tingling in the feet, creating the all too familiar sensation of your foot being asleep. Often, just changing position or walking around will alleviate this feeling. This is not considered a medical condition and is easily remedied.

A lower back injury can cause a tingling feeling in the feet, and a sensation of numbness or tingling down the back of the leg, similar to a foot falling asleep sensation.


Pressure on spinal nerves, or specifically pressure from a herniated disc, can lead to tingling of the feet. Pressure on peripheral nerves that arises from enlarged blood vessels, as well as tumors, can cause numbness or tingling in the legs or feet. Scar tissue and infection can also press on nerves, which can then cause numbness and a tingling sensation.

Blood Supply

When the legs and feet experience a deficit in the amount of blood flowing in their veins, plaque or cholesterol can build up. This can cause atherosclerosis in the legs and feet, and cause pain, tingling, and numbness. This is a problem for diabetics in particular; this condition is known as diabetic neuropathy. People who have frostbite also can have numbness and tingling in the feet because of the lack of blood flowing to the extremities.

Medical Conditions

In addition to diabetes, some other medical conditions that can lead to tingling in the feet are multiple sclerosis, seizures, stroke, underactive thyroid, and abnormal levels of calcium, potassium, and sodium. Radiation therapy, a lack of Vitamin B12, and the use of certain medications can also lead to tingling sensations in the feet. Excessive use of alcohol and tobacco can lead to toxic nerve damage, resulting in tingling feet.


Treating the underlying causes of tingling feet is critically important. Your doctor will identify and examine the causes, and if they are from medication you are taking, low vitamin levels, chronic back pain, or being diabetic, he or she will determine a way of treating those conditions that can lead to tingling feet.

For chronic back pain that leads to tingling feet, your doctor may recommend exercises to help alleviate the pain. Low vitamin levels can be easily rectified by taking the appropriate supplements. Medication you are taking can be adjusted or eliminated to reduce tingling in the feet, and diabetics can manage their disease through better diet, exercise, and blood sugar level monitoring to reduce the sensation of tingling feet.


For people who have tingling feet from medication, don't stop taking your medications until you have consulted with your physician. Likewise, don't add any vitamins or supplements to self-treat until you have discussed the situation with your doctor.

Diabetics in particular have to be careful not injure their feet if they notice tingling or numbness in their feet. Taking extra care not to bump or bruise a foot is important.

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