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What Causes Tingling in Hands and Feet?

A model of a human hand.
Typing can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition associated with tingling in the hands.
Poor blood circulation may cause tingling in the feet.
Frequent smokers might experience nerve damage that causes tingling.
Article Details
  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2014
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Tingling in hands and feet can result from poor blood circulation, nerve damage, nutritional deficiencies, or the presence of a wide range of medical conditions. Sitting in one position for too long can decrease blood circulation, and is a common cause of tingling hands and feet. Injuries and medical conditions that cause nerve damage or place pressure on the nerves can lead to tingling. Medications and radiation therapy can, in some cases, lead to a tingling sensation.

Poor blood circulation can sometimes cause tingling in hands and feet. Standing or sitting in a particular position for too long can inhibit proper blood circulation. Atherosclerosis is one medical condition where cholesterol build-up can lead to the blockage of arteries and blood circulation. Dealing with extremely cold weather can inhibit proper blood circulation, leading to tingling of hands and feet.

Nerve damage is another cause of tingling sensations. A man who has injured his neck in a car accident might experience tingling along his arm or hand. Lower back injuries from lifting heavy objects, for example, can lead to nerve damage and pinched nerves, resulting in tingling sensations. A typist might experience carpal tunnel syndrome, which impacts the nerves in the wrists and can cause tingling.

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Toxic elements in the body can also cause nerve damage. An individual who drinks alcohol or smokes excessively is more prone to toxic nerve damage, and may experience tingling sensations. Lead is another toxic substance that can damage the nerves. Some medications can also cause toxicity, leading to tingling. Radiation therapy is another possible cause of tingling caused by nerve damage.

Some medical conditions place pressure on the nerves, causing tingling sensations. An infection can cause swelling and nerve pressure. The presence of large tumors that impinge on nerves is another possible reasons behind pins and needles sensations. Health conditions that cause enlargement of blood vessels can also create nerve pressure, leading to tingling.

In some cases, tingling in hands and feet is a result of nutritional deficiencies. A vitamin B12 deficiency can possibly cause tingling sensations. Potassium, sodium, and calcium deficiencies can also cause this problem. In these cases, making sure nutritional needs are met will usually reduce or eliminate tingling sensations.

Treatment for tingling in hands and feet requires uncovering the underlying cause of the problem. If the sensation is caused by sitting or standing for too long in one position, the cause is clear as the tingling will disappear within a few minutes. When the cause is unclear, however, a medical professional will usually ask about the location of the tingling, how long it has been a problem, and whether it is accompanied by other symptoms. Immediate medical attention should be sought if paralysis, blurred vision, confusion or muscular weakness accompany the tingling.

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