Pins and Needles in Feet

The term pins and needles in the feet describes the uncomfortable feeling of numbness, prickling or tingling that you may experience in the left foot, right foot, or both. The scientific name for these sensations is called “parasthesia”. The affected area is sometime referred to as “falling asleep”.

Symptoms of Pins and Needles in Feet:

  • Initial heaviness and numbness
  • A feeling of prickling and tingling of the skin
  • The feelings usually disappear a few minutes after changing the position
  • The condition may be associated with difficulty walking, anxiety, rash, pain and increased sensitivity to touch

Causes of Pins and Needles in Feet:

Pins and needles in feet may be symptoms of a wide variety of conditions, such as:

  • Reduction in blood supply
  • Compression on nerves
  • Injuries to nerves
  • Diabetic neuropathy (damage of nerves due to diabetes mellitus)
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Bone diseases, such as fractures, osteoporosis and herniated disc
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome (compression on the tarsal nerve near the ankle)
  • Multiple sclerosis (chronic disease of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Hyperventilation syndrome (respiratory disorder in which breathing is too rapid or too deep)
  • Toxic nerve agents, such as alcohol and lead
  • Certain drugs or chemicals
  • Hypothyroidism (reduced function of the thyroid gland)
  • Transient ischemic attack (brief blockage of the blood supply to the brain)
  • Stroke (sudden death of brain cells due to reduced blood supply)
  • Neurological diseases, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain due to bacterial or viral infection)
  • Spinal cord diseases, such as inflammation and tumors

The Most Common Cause of Pins and Needles pain in feet is mechanical compression, such as tight footwear or lying awkwardly.

How to Stop Pins and Needles in Feet:

  • Change your position
  • Move your foot
  • Walking can reduce some types of pins and needles
  • Proper treatment of the underlying condition, such as vitamin B12 deficiency and diabetes mellitus (DM)


Pins and needles in feet are bothersome sensations of numbness, pricking or tingling that usually disappears after changing the position. The condition may be transient or chronic (persisting for a long period of time). The symptoms usually start at the soles of the feet and may progress to the top (dorsum) of feet. A common cause of pins and needles in feet is mechanical compression. Persistent pins and needles may be due to serious disorders, such as diabetes mellitus (DM), nerve injuries and vitamin B12 deficiency. You should seek a medical care if you experience pins and needles in feet for a long period of time. If the condition is left untreated, it may lead to permanent loss of sensation and/or chronic pain.