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Tingling in the Legs: What Is It a Symptom Of?

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What Causes Tingling & Weird Sensations in Legs?

We’ve all felt it, that familiar tingling feeling in your leg after you’ve been in the same position for too long, also known as pins and needles. But there are a number of other causes for a tingling sensation in the legs that you may not be aware of, especially if you are experiencing the feeling on a regular basis.

How Often Do You Feel Tingling and Numbness In Your Legs?

Frequent episodes of a tingling sensation in the legs and feet can be the result of many common causes, like poor circulation. Some causes are benign, and some that are more sinister in nature.

Does Sitting Cause Tingling in Your Legs?

People who suffer from anxiety can have some symptoms that vary wildly in frequency, duration, and severity. But many people experience tingling, numbness, or pain in the extremities as a result of chronic anxiety or stress that can worsen when trying to go to sleep or during a panic attack.

Systemic Diseases Causing Tingling in legs 

Diabetes is the perfect example of how systemic disease can cause a tingling feeling in the legs. Many people with lifelong diabetes or uncontrolled adult-onset diabetes suffer a complication known as diabetic neuropathy, which typically starts in the feet and legs and can progress to the arms and hands.

Diabetic neuropathy is the result of nerve damage that is caused by chronically high blood sugar levels and can have other symptoms such as a burning sensation, feeling of numbness, and pain in the affected limbs.

Sciatica Causing Tingling in and Numbness in Legs

Caused by damage or pressure on the sciatic nerve, the tingling, pain, or numbness sciatica can cause usually starts in the buttocks of the affected leg and travels down the leg to the ankle and sometimes into the foot. It usually only affects one leg at a time and is generally treated with anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.


Graphic showing causes of tingling in legs


Vitamin Deficiencies Could lead to Poor Circulation and Numbness

Many vitamin deficiencies can cause tingling in the extremities. A Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, deficiency is the most notable of these and can lead to pernicious anemia, which can cause peripheral neuropathy. Other vitamin deficiencies that can cause tingling and similar symptoms in the extremities include:

  • Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6
  • Niacin
  • Thiamine or Vitamin B1
  • Tocopherol or Vitamin E

An electrolyte imbalance can also cause tingling in the legs. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium are the four main electrolytes that carry an electrical charge and help regulate nerve impulses. When they are out of balance, this can lead to the irregular firing of the nerves and the sensation of numbness or tingling in the extremities.

Bacterial or Viral Infections Causing Leg Tingling

Many infectious diseases can cause damage to the nerves in the body resulting in severe complications and symptoms. Some of these infections include:

  • Shingles or herpes varicella-zoster virus
  • Lyme disease
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Cytomegalovirus

The herpes virus is the most notorious of the above infectious conditions, especially when it comes to nerve damage, which is typically found in the nerves of the face, ears, eyes, and extremities. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to excruciating pain and can last for months or years after an active infection.

Symptoms of Venous Diseases 

Vein diseases like deep vein thrombosis or DVT, and even varicose veins, can cause tingling in the legs. This is because venous disease disrupts the normal flow of blood throughout the body and can lead to blood clots, which can cut off the blood supply to nerves.

For example, deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the leg. DVT can be large enough to put pressure on surrounding nerves, or cut off blood supply to the nerves causing the pins and needles sensation, numbness, and even pain in the leg.

DVT can be a dangerous condition if left untreated. A piece of the clot can break away and travel to the lungs leading to a pulmonary embolism, which can be deadly. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the chest can become worse when inhaling deeply, eating, bending over, coughing, or exercising
  • A bloody cough
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • Sweating excessively
  • Dizziness or lightheaded feeling


Don’t suffer from leg tingling any longer.

If you are in Illinois, call us today at (815) 981-4742 or contact us online.

The link between deep vein thrombosis & pulmonary embolism

Deep vein thrombosis is a venous disease that is often associated with pulmonary embolism. But what exactly is the link between these two diseases?  To answer that, we need to know a little bit about both.

What is DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Simply put, deep vein thrombosis is a clot of blood that has formed in a deep vein of a limb. These blood clots typically form in the pelvis or legs, but they can develop in the arm as well. Deep vein thrombosis can be asymptomatic. In fact, almost half of all sufferers do not have any symptoms, but those who do often experience the following:

  • Pain in or around the area or limb affected
  • Inflammation or swelling around the area affected
  • Tenderness in the skin above the clot, the skin may be warm to the touch
  • Discoloration or redness of the skin near the clot
  • Heavy sensation or fatigue in the legs
  • Sudden appearance of veins that are easily visible in the skin

If you notice these symptoms or they appear suddenly, it is important to find a vein doctor right away.  Vein treatment can successfully alleviate the symptoms of DVT and prevent further damage to blood vessels. But if left untreated, deep vein thrombosis can quickly become a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism or PE?

One of the more serious side effects of deep vein thrombosis is a pulmonary embolism, also known as PE. A pulmonary embolism happens when a piece of the blood clot breaks away and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs. Like deep vein thrombosis, a pulmonary embolism may not have any symptoms. However, if there are symptoms, they typically include:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing
  • A “wet” cough that contains blood
  • Dizziness or a lightheaded sensation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain that gets worse with a cough or deep breath
  • Unexplained sweating

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

DVT/PE Treatment

Treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is aimed at primarily at prevention:

  • Preventing further growth of the clot
  • Preventing a piece of the clot from breaking away and traveling to the lungs
  • Preventing another deep vein thrombosis from forming in another vein

At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, our doctors use state-of-the-art ultrasound vein mapping to pinpoint the DVT and run blood tests to determine the extent of the venous disease.

Dr. Gilvydis will tailor your treatment to your needs which may include blood thinners to dissolve the clot. If you think you have a DVT or venous disease, contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Sycamore or Geneva medical offices.