Pins & Needles - Paresthesia
Pins and needles, also known as paresthesia, is a common sensation that many people experience from time to time. This feeling can be described as a tingling or prickling sensation in the affected area, often accompanied by numbness or a loss of feeling. While pins and needles can be temporary and harmless, in some cases they may indicate an underlying medical condition. Our podiatrists frequently see patients with pins and needles in the feet and legs. Here’s what you need to know about this sensation:
Causes of Pins and Needles
Pins and needles can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Sitting or standing in the same position for too long
Injury or trauma to the affected area
Nerve compression or irritation
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)
Spinal cord injury
Treatment of Pins and Needles
Treatment for pins and needles depends on the underlying cause. Here are some common treatments:
Changing positions: If pins and needles occur due to prolonged sitting or standing, changing positions can relieve the sensation.
Stretching and exercise: Gentle exercises and stretches can improve circulation and relieve nerve compression.
Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications may be recommended to relieve pain or inflammation.
Vitamin supplements: If pins and needles are caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, taking a supplement may help.
Managing underlying medical conditions: Treating underlying conditions such as diabetes or peripheral neuropathy may help alleviate pins and needles.
Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve nerve compression or repair nerve damage.
When to Seek Medical Attention
While pins and needles can be temporary and harmless, there are situations where medical attention is necessary. Seek medical attention if:
Pins and needles occur frequently or persist for an extended period of time
Pins and needles are accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness, loss of coordination, or difficulty speaking
Pins and needles occur after a head injury, seizure, or spinal cord injury