The next time your foot falls asleep, don’t panic — it won’t take long before things get back to normal. Doctors say that it’s nothing to worry about. However, they add that at times it could also be due to certain medical conditions. Read on to know the reason behind your feet falling asleep.
Paresthesia — that’s the fancy medical term for that pins and needles sensation you feel in your feet after sitting on your legs for a long period of time.
A lot of people think that their feet fall asleep because the flow of blood is cut off. However, this is not true at all since paresthesia has something to do with the nerves rather than circulation.
You can think of your nerves as wires that transmit electrical signals between your muscles and brain. Needless to say, there should be no obstruction present in order for those signals to travel through your nerves effectively.
When pressure is applied to one of the nerves situated in your leg, the transmission of those electrical signals becomes disrupted. This phenomenon is something that will keep going on for as long as you are sitting on your leg, causing that unnecessary pressure on the nerve.
As soon as the said pressure is relieved, the affected nerve starts to permit electrical signals to pass through it once more, although complete operation is not achieved in an instant. It’s while that nerve is trying to resume its task that you feel that characteristic pins and needles sensation in your foot.
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, there is no need for you to worry because it won’t take long before the odd sensation goes away — just keep on moving your leg and foot in order to make it disappear.
Of course it’s not just your feet that may fall asleep. Since there are nerves in all of your extremities, that pins and needles sensation can be experienced elsewhere. For instance, you may feel it in your hand after falling asleep with one of your arms tucked under your head, serving as a makeshift pillow.
However, doctors say that paresthesia can also be due to certain medical conditions, in particular those that are causing some form of damage to the nerves.
One example of such medical condition that can cause paresthesia is multiple sclerosis or MS, which something that progressively damages the protective covering of the nerves cells in the brain as well as spinal cord. Another example is carpal tunnel syndrome, something that is common in those with arthritis, diabetes and hypertension.
Just because you are experiencing weird pins and needles sensation in your foot doesn’t mean that the culprit is a medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated.
If it’s apparent that it’s because of you sitting on your leg, then there is definitely no need for you to worry — it’s obvious that the paresthesia you are having is simply due to the application of pressure on a nerve, and not something that causes damage to it. Just wait a while and everything will get back to normal in no time.