Pins and Needles in Hands and Feet

You may experience pins and needles in feet or hands for many reasons, including diabetes, pinched nerve, etc. Learn what's causing problems in your case to identify the right treatment.

Pins and needles in feet is a burning, pricking, or numbing sensation. You may experience the same sensation in your hands, legs, or arms as well. You don't usually experience any pain, but it may lead to itching. The sensation is usually temporary, but you may sometimes experience it constantly. It is important to find out the underlying cause to be able to treat it.

What Causes Pins and Needles in Hands and Feet?

You may experience tingling sensation in feet or you notice pins and needles in hands and feet all the time due to one of the following reasons:

Temporary Pins and Needles

  • Most people experience temporary pins and needles in feet and hands, which usually happens when you're sitting in a posture or are lying on the bed in a way that the pressure is cutting off the blood supply to the nerves in that area. The nerves fail to send signals to the brain and you experience tingling sensation as a result. Changing your posture is usually enough to fix the issue – the blood supply will be restored and you won't feel any numbness.
  • Raynaud's disease may also affect the blood supply to your fingers and toes and cause temporary pins and needles. The condition becomes worse due to stress, anxiety, and cold temperatures.
  • Other causes for temporary pins and needles in feet and hands include breathing too quickly or dehydration.

Chronic Pins and Needles

Sometimes, you experience pins and needles in hands and feet all the time. If that is the case, you should consider getting in touch with your healthcare provider for evaluation. It is usually easier to fix the issue if you could diagnose it early. Here are some specific reasons why you may be dealing with pins and needles in hands and feet all the time.

Possible Causes

Description

Diabetes

If you have diabetes, this may lead to peripheral neuropathy that can cause pins and needles in feet or hands. In diabetic neuropathy, the symptoms will usually develop in the feet first and then go up the legs. About two-thirds of diabetic people usually have some degree of damage done to their nerves.

Trapped Nerve

You may be experiencing tingling sensation in your feet due to a trapped nerve. If it's carpal tunnel syndrome, you may experience numbness, pain, and burning sensation in your hand. If you have sciatica, which is the compression of the sciatic nerve, you may experience tingling sensation in your buttocks as well as legs and feet.

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause nerve damage and anemia, and is usually common among vegans, elderly people, and people suffering from pernicious anemia.

Injury

A nerve injury may also cause pins and needles in hands and feet. If your work involves dealing with vibrating tools, this may affect your nerve endings in toes and fingers that will cause tingling in your hands and feet.

Medicines

Using certain medicines on a long-term basis may cause nerve damage. The good thing is that you can reverse it by stopping the medicine. Some of the most common culprits are medicines used to treat cancer; the antibiotic metronidazole; and antiretroviral used to treat AID.

Conditions That Damage Nerves

Certain health conditions may also damage your nervous system and lead to pins and needles in hands and feet. These may include multiple sclerosis, stroke, and brain tumor.

Other Causes

You may also experience burning, tingling sensation in your hands and feet for several other causes. It includes alcoholism, liver disease, kidney disorders, chronic inflammation and infection such as shingles and lyme disease, exposure to heavy metals (such as mercury, arsenic and lead), and autoimmune diseases. It may also happen due to some inherited disorders.

When to See Your Doctor

Your condition may only be temporary and return to normal after some time, but you need to see your doctor if you experience pins and needles suddenly or the feeling is constant.

How to Treat Pins and Needles in Hands and Feet

How successful the treatment proves will depend on correct diagnosis. It is important to identify the underlying cause to determine the best treatment option. The treatment will also depend on if the peripheral nerve cells have already been killed or not. Moreover, there is no treatment available if you've inherited the problem, but the acquired types usually respond well to certain treatment options. For instance, you may have diabetic neuropathy, which may improve once you do something to regulate blood sugar level.

You can also try the following things on your own to improve your condition:

  • Stop wearing tight shoes or clothes.
  • Stay active and don't sit in the same position for long. Consider doing Pilates or yoga.
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights and take regular breaks if your work involves repetitive movements. 
  • Don't drink too much alcohol and take steps to keep your blood sugar level in check.
  • Maintain a balanced diet to avoid vitamin B-12 deficiency. This will also help you lose and maintain healthy weight.
  • Go see your doctor if you're noticing any symptoms of a neurological disease.

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