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What Causes Numbness in the Hands and Feet?

A model of a human hand.
Poor posture may cause numb feet.
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  • Written By: Kaiser Castro
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2014
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There are many ailments and conditions that can cause numbness in the hands and feet. Problems like poor circulation, disorders like hyperventilation disorder, and direct trauma can manifest itself as a tingling and numbing sensation. Individuals who are affected by random numbing sensations should visit a medical professional, as this can be a sign of a serious problem.

Numbness in the hands and feet can be caused by hyperventilation syndrome, a respiratory ailment that can plague individuals who are prone to panic attacks. The condition is marked by shortness of breath and a tingling and numbing sensation in the body’s extremities. Individuals who have the condition actually get enough air during an episode, but the body struggles to absorb the oxygen into the blood stream, which accounts for the numbness in parts of the body.

Poor blood circulation will also cause sensations like tingling and numbness. Free radicals and an unhealthy lifestyle can cause damage to the circulatory system. Once blood vessels are damaged, red blood cells will have difficulty supplying blood throughout the body, which can lead to numbness. Numbness in the hands and feet can also be caused by a direct impact or trauma to the bones in these areas leading to poor circulation. Fractured bones can splint or separate inside of the body, lending for excruciating pain and numbness. Adrenaline will be released in the body, allowing for sensations to be temporarily nullified and numbed.

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Pinched nerves can cause numbness in body’s extremities. Putting the arms or legs into an odd or unnatural position can unknowingly pinch a nerve, which will in turn cause tingling. Again, as with poor blood circulation, this will make it difficult for the body to supply oxygenated red blood cells. Caused by a continual pressure applied to the median nerve in the wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome prevents blood from properly reaching the extremities of the hand. Many individuals who are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome tend to experience a pain in their wrists that lingers around for a few months, with episodes of a sharp pain traveling up and down the arm.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that adversely affects the central nervous system. Parasthesia, an aggressive tingling of the limbs without an apparent long-term effect, tends to occur with individuals who are affected with this disease. It is important for people who suffer from chronic numbness in the hands and feet to be examined by a medical professional to rule out a serious problem.

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Discuss this Article

anon342968
Post 4

I don't have diabetes or panic attacks, but have daily, intermittent numbness in my hands and feet. I'm still wondering what is causing the poor circulation issues.

bluedolphin
Post 3

@fify-- In diabetics, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet are a sign of poor circulation and possible nerve damage.

It's odd that you would be experiencing these issues so soon after your diagnosis though. Unless of course, you had diabetes for years and only got diagnosed recently. Circulation and nerve problems develop in diabetes after many years of battling the disease.

If someone doesn't manage their diabetes with exercise, diet and medications and if they have high blood sugar all the time, damage to the blood vessels and nerves become inevitable. But like I said, it takes a while. My grandmother has been a diabetic for thirty years and has just recently started experiencing these issues.

fify
Post 2

I was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago and lately, I've started experiencing numbness in my feet and hands. What kind of treatment options are available for me?

ysmina
Post 1

Stress, panic and anxiety are terrible for the body and cause all sorts of symptoms. I used to suffer from frequent anxiety attacks before, which can be similar to panic attacks. A crying episode would usually trigger the attack and I would feel like I couldn't breathe. It was as if someone was strangling me. Then I would hyperventilate and if that continued for more than five minutes, first tingling and finally numbness would follow.

I've had numbness in my hands, in my legs and feet and in my face during different anxiety attacks. Once my legs and feet became so numb that I couldn't stand up or walk.

When I finally calmed down and my breathing slowed to a normal pace, the numbness and tingling would disappear.

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