Tingling In The Legs: What Is It A Symptom Of?

Frequent tingling in the legs can be more than simply a little annoying. You might start to worry about the cause of this sensation and whether it is dangerous to your health. 

Our vein specialists tell you everything you need to know about tingling in the legs including the common causes and what this means for your health. 

Table of Contents

What Causes Tingling & Weird Sensations in Legs?

We’ve all felt it, that familiar tingling, numbing feeling in the 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 tingling in legs that you may not be aware of, especially if you are experiencing the feeling on a regular basis. So what is tingling in legs a symptom of?


Tingling in the legs is a sure sign of poor blood circulation but the root causes of this can vary from lack of exercise to more serious cojditions. Some of these causes include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Blood clots
  • Venous diseases
  • Diabetes
In order to call out the true cause of the tingly uncomfortable feeling in legs there are a few more things to take into account.

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

If you only experience this tingly uncomfortable feeling in legs occasionally, it might only be due to the way you are sitting.

However, frequent episodes of a tingly uncomfortable feeling in legs and feet can be the result of many common causes, like poor circulation. Some causes of tingling in legs are benign, and some can be more sinister in nature. Let’s dive into the causes of tingling in the legs. 

What is Tingling in Legs a Symptom of?

Tingling in legs infographic listing causes and the role of venous diseases

1. Sitting For Too Long

When you sit for a long time, especially with your legs crossed, you put pressure on your nerves and blood vessels, which can limit blood flow and cause tingling in lower legs and even a numb feeling in legs. The nerves and blood vessels can also become compressed, leading to further discomfort.

To alleviate this, you can try standing up and moving around every 30 minutes or so, or adjusting your sitting position to relieve pressure on your legs. Stretching and doing light exercises, such as walking or biking, can also improve blood flow and prevent tingling sensations. If the tingling persists or becomes severe, you should consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

2. Anxiety

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.


Anxiety triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response, which prepares the body to respond to perceived danger. This response can cause a variety of physical symptoms, including tingling or numbness in the extremities, such as the legs.


The tingling sensation is usually a result of hyperventilation, which can occur during an anxiety attack. Hyperventilation leads to a decrease in carbon dioxide levels in the blood, which can cause changes in the pH balance of the blood and lead to tingling or numbness.

3. Systemic Diseases

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 with a weird sensation in legs and feet, 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.

4. Restless Leg Syndrome

Another common condition that can lead to tingling in legs is the restless leg syndrome. Characterized by an irresistible urge to move legs, this neurological disorder is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in legs such as tingling, itching, and discomfort at rest.

Since restless leg syndrome can originate from a variety of reasons such as iron deficiency, chronic disease, or even certain medication, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. 


5. Sciatica

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. If you are experiencing one leg numbness, sciatica is a likely cause.

6. Vitamin Deficiencies

Many vitamin deficiencies can cause tingling in lower legs and 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 a leg tingling sensation. 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 lower legs and the extremities.

7. Bacterial Or Viral Infections

Many infectious diseases can cause damage to the nerves in the body resulting in severe complications and symptoms such as numbing feelings in the leg. 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.

When to Consult a Professional - Symptoms of Vein Disease

Women holding leg showing spider veins

Vein diseases like deep vein thrombosis or DVT, and even varicose veins, can also cause this tingly, uncomfortable feeling in 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 tingling in legs, numbness, and even sharp pain.


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) 827-1098 or contact us online.

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Get back to yourself.

We’re proud to be one of three vein centers in Illinois  with an IAC accreditation. Get back on your feet with a team of vein specialists who help you understand your vein treatment options.