Tingling In The Foot

By Ehren Allen, DPT/Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

 Why Do I Have Tingling In The Foot

There are many possible reasons behind tingling in the foot. The sensation is often described as a “Pins and Needle” feeling. This tingling can be episodic or chronic in occurrence.  In some situations, be associated with numbness, itching, pain, and/or muscle weakness. The physicians at JOI can help accurately diagnose and treat your foot tingling. If your physician believes that you need physical therapy or occupational therapy, JOI Rehab has a skilled team of clinicians to treat your condition.

image of Syndesmosis Sprain

Image of a foot

Diagnostic Process

It is important to get a proper medical evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Many causes can lead to foot tingling. You can expect your health care provider to perform an evaluation.  He or she will perform a physical exam and inquire about your symptoms and medical history. Depending on your individual situation, your health care provider may need to perform further testing.

Testing may include:

Blood Tests

A blood test can detect things such as; diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, organ dysfunction (liver, kidney, thyroid), metabolic disorders, and some immune system activity.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis

Cerebrospinal fluid analysis can identify conditions of the central nervous system (CNS). Such as important antibodies (a blood protein) associated with peripheral neuropathy (see “Common Causes of Foot Tingling” below).

Electromyogram (EMG)

An electromyogram (EMG) uses electrical stimulation to measure nerve-to-muscle communication and reveal any neuromuscular abnormalities.

Nerves of the foot

In anatomy, lymphatic vessels

Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV)

A nerve conduction velocity (NCV) is another form of electrical stimulation testing. This test measures the conduction of nerve impulses, similar to EMG testing.

Computed tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography (CT) scan uses x-ray images to create cross-sectional images of the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) utilizes magnetic fields to construct images of soft tissues and bones.

Nerve Biopsy

Skin Biopsy

Nerve and skin biopsies are similar tests in that they both remove a small sample of a nerve or skin for pathological testing.

Common Causes of Foot Tingling

Peripheral Neuropathy

This condition means the connection between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body has damage or disease process.  Peripheral Neuropathy is often a symptom of other diseases or damage.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can develop if you have diabetes. If you have diabetes, you may have high blood sugar levels, which can damage nerves. It can impair their ability to communicate throughout the body. Diabetic Neuropathy is the most common cause of foot tingling.  However, the sensation can also have tingling in the legs, hands, and arms.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a common blood circulation issue. It is when your arteries are partially blocked with fatty deposits restricts the blood flow to your extremities.  Foot tingling is common as well as claudication (leg pain when walking). Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of fatty deposits in other areas of your body, such as your hands, arms, and heart.

Autoimmune diseases

Auto-Immune Disease is a general term for “a disease that occurs when the body attacks itself.” Therefore, several autoimmune diseases may cause foot tingling, such as Lupus, Jögren’s syndrome, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Celiac disease, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease that damages the outer walls of your nerve cells (known as sheaths) in the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). Foot tingling may be an early sign of MS.

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin Deficiency is when the body does not have adequate amounts of the necessary vitamins it requires. Certain vitamins such as vitamin B12, are important because it supports the communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. If you have diabetes and are vitamin deficient, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and foot tingling can be intensified.

Foot Pain

Young woman massaging her foot on the bed.

Additional Causes of Foot Tingling

  • Alcoholism.
  • Anxiety.
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
  • Hereditary Neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP).
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Infections.
  • Inherited disorders.
  • Injury.
  • Kidney Failure.
  • Medication.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Nerve Damage.
  • Nerve Entrapment Syndromes.
  • Smoking.
  • Stroke.
  • Systemic Diseases.
  • Toxins.
  • Tumors.


Treatment options for foot tingling vary based on your diagnosis. There are no treatments available for progressive peripheral neuropathy (damage of the nerves), diseases that are genetic. However, other peripheral neuropathy-causing diseases can be improved through nerve regeneration if the nerve cells have not been completely killed and only damaged.

(Note that damaged nerves in the brain and spinal cord do not repair themselves like the rest of the body, which has the ability to “heal” or grow back damaged nerves.)

Under certain circumstances, your health care practitioner may suggest medication to reduce symptoms. Certain medications originally developed for treating seizures have been shown to reduce “foot tingling” and similar symptoms. Other, more common types of “foot tingling” causes can usually be improved through simple measures such as regulating blood sugar levels, exercising, eating a balanced diet, and/or vitamin supplementation. In general, a healthy lifestyle has been shown to help reduce symptoms. If the foot tingling has caused impaired mobility, is sensitive, painful, and/or non-weight-bearing, physical or occupational therapy may be recommended.

Finally, to schedule for physical therapy at JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

If you feel you may be suffering from tingling in the foot, our dedicated team of orthopedic specialists is ready to help you! To schedule an appointment, please call 904-JOI-2000 or click the button below to schedule an appointment online.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician in Jax.

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By: Stephen Borkowski, PT

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