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Why is my foot asleep?

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Whether it’s pins and needles or a feeling of numbness and tingling when you go from sitting to standing, we’ve all felt it before. Our foot’s asleep.

It’s what’s called paresthesia and usually happens when a person sits in one position for a long time with one foot under one leg while the legs are crossed. This position cuts off the connection between nerves in the brain that travel to the feet. Blood flow is also cut off and oxygen isn’t able to get to the tissues in the lower limb.

Typically, a sleepy foot is harmless and disappears within minutes. To wake it up, doctors recommend changing positions and avoid sitting for long periods. But there are cases when something else might be going on, especially if the sensation persists to the point where it’s difficult to walk.

Below is a list of medical causes of sleepy feet:

  • Diabetes
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Certain cancers including lung and leukemia
  • Stroke
  • Medications including antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs
  • Infection
  • Pinched nerves or compression or trauma to the nerves

For more from Dr. Mary Gillis D.Ed., you can follow her on Facebook.

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