Tingling: a symptom to be taken seriously?


Tingling: a symptom to be taken seriously?

The tingling, that tingling sensation in the body, is usually not serious and quite common, if only fleeting. However, if this sensation persists, several pathologies can hide behind symptoms of numbness. When should tingling be taken seriously?

What are the symptoms and signs that should alert?

Nothing could be more banal than to feel “ants” in the legs, feet, hands, arms, when one has remained for example, in the same position for a certain moment. This is only a sign that our blood circulation played a little trick on us while we were still. Concretely, a nerve has been compressed, then when we move again, the blood comes back and the nerve relaxes.

However, if the tingling persists and is repeated, this sensation can be the sign of a wide variety of pathologies, in particular neurological or venous ailments.

In the case of repeated tingling, when a leg no longer responds or during vision problems, it is advisable to speak quickly to your doctor.

What can be the causes and serious pathologies of tingling or paresthesia?

In general, the causes of tingling are of nervous and / or vascular origin.

Here are some examples (not exhaustive) of pathologies that can be the cause of repeated tingling.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The median nerve at the level of the wrist is compressed in this syndrome, inducing tingling in the fingers. The reason is most often an awareness of the fact of particular activity at the level of the hand: musical instrument, gardening, computer keyboard. The symptoms are: difficulty in grasping objects, pain in the palm of the hand, sometimes up to the shoulder. Women, especially during pregnancy or after 50 years are the most affected.


Pathology linked to the compression of a nerve root, it is linked to osteoarthritis, disc damage, for example. Our roots take place in the spine, which has 31 pairs of spinal roots, including 5 lumbar. These roots start from the spinal cord and reach the ends. More common in the lumbar and cervical areas, this pathology can occur at all levels of the spine. Its symptoms are: weakness or partial paralysis, numbness or electric shock, pain when the root is stretched.

A mineral deficit

A lack of magnesium can be the cause of tingling in the feet, hands, and also eyes. Magnesium, known to help relax muscles and the body in general, is often deficient in times of stress. Also, iron deficiency can cause intense tingling in the legs, accompanied by twitching. This is called restless legs syndrome, affecting 2-3% of the population.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Rather rare pathology, this syndrome is caused by compression of the tibial nerve, the peripheral nerve of the lower limb. One can contract this disorder by repeated stress during activities such as walking, running, by too much weight, tendonitis, inflammation of the ankle. The tarsal tunnel is in fact located on the inside of the ankle. The symptoms are: tingling in the foot (tibial nerve), pain and burning in the area of ​​the nerve (especially at night), muscle weakness.

Multiple sclerosis

Autoimmune disease, this pathology can start with tingling in the legs or in the arms, usually when the subject is between 20 and 40 years old. Other symptoms are electric shocks or burns in the limbs, often during an inflammatory flare. Women are the most affected by this pathology. 

Peripheral artery disease

This disease occurs when arterial blood flow is obstructed, most often in the legs. In cause, one finds arthrosclerosis (formation of lipid deposits at the level of the walls of the arteries), the cigarette, the diabetes, hypertension, an imbalance of lipids (cholesterol, etc.). This pathology, in the form the most severe and not treated early enough, can result in amputation of the leg. Symptoms may be: pain or burning in the legs, pale skin, numbness, coldness of the limb, cramps.


Circulatory disorders

Due to poor venous circulation, prolonged immobility (standing) can cause tingling in the legs. This can progress to chronic venous insufficiency, leading to heavy legs, edema, phlebitis, venous ulcers. Compression stockings prescribed by your doctor can help promote blood flow through your legs to the heart.

Stroke (stroke)

This accident can occur after feeling tingling in the face, arm or leg, a signal that the brain is no longer supplied with water properly. IF this is accompanied by difficulty speaking, headache, or partial paralysis, call 15 immediately.

If in doubt about the onset of the symptoms described above, do not hesitate to consult your doctor who will be able to judge your condition and administer the appropriate treatment.


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