How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Numbness in your legs and feet can cause discomfort and awkwardness, but it’s usually no cause for alarm. If you sit or stand in the same position for an extended period of time, you might find that you lose sensation in one or both of your legs or feet. Usually, you can take care of simple numbness like this on your own and restore feeling within a few minutes. However, if you can’t determine the reason for your numbness, or if the numbness persists for more than an hour, call your doctor so they can help determine the cause and treat your numbness appropriately.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: Trying Home Remedies Download Article

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Use the process of elimination to determine the cause of the numbness. Numbness in the legs and feet potentially has many different causes. The more of these causes you can eliminate, the more efficiently you’ll be able to treat your numbness.

  • For example, if you were sitting with your legs crossed, you might uncross them or stretch them out. On the other hand, if you were sitting on your feet, releasing them and moving them around might be all you need to do to restore feeling.
  • If you have a chronic back injury, or recently had an acute back injury, that can cause numbness in your legs and feet.

Tip: Check your legs and feet for bug bites, especially if you’ve recently been outdoors. Some bug toxins cause temporary numbness.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Massage your legs and feet to increase blood flow. Gently rub the numb parts of your legs and feet in a circular motion. Adding some pressure and making a kneading motion might also help.

  • Be careful not to massage too deeply. You might inadvertently bruise yourself because, without feeling in your leg or foot, you wouldn’t be able to tell when the pressure was too intense.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Wear looser, less restrictive clothing. If you’re wearing tight clothing, it might be restricting the circulation to your legs and feet. Similarly, if your shoes are too tight, they might cause your feet to go numb.

  • If you’re wearing socks or stockings, check the top seam to see if it’s too tight. If it’s causing an indention in your skin, it might be cutting off the blood flow to your ankles and feet.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Change your body position more frequently. Your legs and feet will go numb if you sit or stand in the same position for too long, especially if you’re sitting with your legs crossed or with your feet under you. Moving around and shifting your weight frequently encourages circulation.

  • Generally, it’s better to change position before your legs and feet start to go numb. You’ll be more comfortable and you won’t have to deal with the pain and frustration of waiting for your legs or feet to “wake up.”

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Take vitamin supplements if you have a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin deficiencies frequently cause numbness, particularly in your arms, hands, legs, and feet. B-complex vitamin deficiencies can cause numbness or an unsteady gait, also known as ataxia. Potassium, calcium, and sodium deficiencies can also cause numbness.

  • You usually won’t have a B-12 deficiency unless you have an underlying condition or if you have decreased intake for a few years, like if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
  • If you’re not already taking a multivitamin each day, you can typically add one of these to your daily routine without any complications and see if that helps. However, if you’re taking medications or other supplements, you might want to ask your doctor before you start.
  • If you’re already taking a multivitamin, it’s less likely that a vitamin deficiency is the cause of your numbness. However, you can have your doctor measure the vitamin levels in your blood to be sure.

Method 2 of 3: Seeking Medical Assistance Download Article

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Call your local emergency number if you have more serious symptoms. Numbness in legs and feet is relatively common and usually has a fairly simple cause. However, this numbness occasionally is a sign that you have a more serious health problem, such as a stroke, that calls for immediate treatment. Seek emergency medical care if you notice any of the following in conjunction with numbness in your legs and feet:

  • Weakness or inability to move
  • A sudden, severe headache
  • Loss of control of your bladder or bowels
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech, difficulty talking, or a change in vision

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

See your doctor if you can’t find the cause of your numbness. If your legs and feet continue to get numb despite your best efforts to treat the problem at home and you can’t figure out why, your doctor can help you. Tell your doctor all about the issues you’re having with numbness, including the circumstances under which it starts, how long it lasts, and what you’ve done to try to stop or prevent it. Your doctor will attempt to isolate the cause. Once the cause is treated, your symptoms should go away.

  • Some common conditions your doctor may rule out include diabetes mellitus, carpal tunnel, or a compressed nerve in your back.
  • Tell your doctor about any recent illnesses, injuries, or infections you’ve had and how they were treated. You also want to make sure your doctor is aware of all medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you’re currently taking. Numbness can be a side effect of some drugs and supplements.
  • Your doctor might also ask questions about your medical history and your family’s medical history to determine your risk level for having a stroke.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Get blood tests to measure your vitamin levels and detect toxins. Depending on your medical history and other symptoms, your doctor might order a series of blood tests. These tests will determine if your numbness is caused by a toxin, heavy metal toxicity, or vitamin deficiency. Your doctor will recommend supplements or medications based on the results of these tests.

  • These tests can also help your doctor determine if your thyroid and liver are functioning properly. Problems with either of these organs can result in numbness in your legs and feet.
  • If your doctor identifies a vitamin deficiency, they will likely recommend supplements to correct the deficiency. Taking these supplements according to your doctor’s instructions should relieve your symptoms within a few days.

Tip: If your doctor suspects stroke or mini-stroke activity, they might also order imagining tests. Ask your doctor questions to make sure you understand your doctor’s suspicions and what they might mean for your long-term health.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Try nerve conduction tests to check for nerve damage. With a nerve conduction test, adhesive patches with electrodes are attached to different parts of your legs. Each patch stimulates the nerve beneath it and your doctor evaluates the muscle’s response. While this test may cause some discomfort, you typically won’t feel any pain afterward.

  • You’ll usually only get a nerve study completed if your doctor can’t identify the cause by any other means since it’s an invasive procedure.
  • Abnormal results from this test indicate that you have nerve damage or destruction in your legs that is likely responsible for your numbness. This nerve damage may also be related to a specific condition, such as diabetic neuropathy or Guillain-Barré syndrome.
  • If nerve conduction tests show nerve damage, your doctor will attempt to find the cause of the damage. Once that cause is eliminated, the nerves will likely heal and you’ll have less numbness. For example, if you have nerve damage due to high blood sugar, lowering your blood sugar will reduce the numbness in your legs.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Take medications to relieve your symptoms. Depending on what your doctor determines to be the cause of your numbness, they may prescribe medications either to treat the underlying cause or to ease your symptoms. The specific medications recommended for you depend on the reasons for your numbness, as well as your overall health and normal lifestyle.

  • For example, if your numbness is caused by peripheral artery disease, your doctor might prescribe medications to treat any underlying conditions that contribute to that disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar.
  • Antidepressants and corticosteroids can also sometimes effectively treat long-term nerve problems.

Method 3 of 3: Preventing Numbness Download Article

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Exercise and diet to lose weight if you are obese. If you have a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30, you’re medically considered obese. Obesity can decrease circulation in your legs and feet, leading to numbness. Additionally, if you are diabetic, being obese increases your risk of diabetic neuropathy, which can cause numbness in your legs and feet.

  • Your doctor can help you come up with an effective diet and exercise plan that will help you lose weight and keep it off. You might also involve a nutritionist or personal trainer to work with you to achieve your goals.
  • Generally, plan to exercise most days for at least 30 minutes a day and eat whole foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Tip: If you have numbness in your legs and feet, try walking, biking on a stationary cycle, or swimming to get your legs moving. You might find you have numbness less frequently if you move your legs more.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Create a smoking cessation plan if you smoke. Smoking narrows and hardens your arteries, which can decrease blood flow to your legs and feet, leading to numbness. Smoking also damages your nerves. If you smoke, tell your doctor that you want to quit. They will help you work out a plan to decrease gradually before you quit.

  • Typically, you’ll have a better chance of quitting for good if you cut down before you quit and use a nicotine replacement therapy, such as a patch or gum, after you quit to help cut down on the cravings.
  • You might also try taking up a new hobby to keep your hands busy so idleness doesn’t create the urge to smoke.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Develop a regular exercise routine. Regular exercise will help improve your blood flow as well as your overall fitness. Even if you’re not overweight, exercise is still necessary to keep yourself healthy.

  • The more active you are, the better your circulation will be. Cardiovascular exercise is especially important if you have numbness in your legs and feet due to poor circulation.
  • Incorporate activity into your everyday life as well. For example, you might take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park further away from your destination and walking across the parking lot.

How to Treat Numbness in Legs and Feet

Try alternative therapies to improve your circulation. Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and massage therapy, might decrease your numbness by improving the circulation in your legs and feet. Talk to your doctor to find out if they recommend any of these therapies.

  • You can typically schedule a consult with a practitioner to describe your symptoms and find out if their therapeutic treatment would help you. At that time, you can also discuss how many sessions they’d recommend and what they’ll charge.
  • Keep in mind that alternative therapies typically aren’t covered by private health insurance plans, so if you decide to go this route, you’ll most likely be paying out of pocket for the treatments.

Warnings

  • Never start taking new vitamins or supplements, or stop taking any prescribed medication, without talking to your doctor first. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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