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Tingling Feet: Find Out What Your Symptoms Could Really Mean


Have you been feeling some tingling and numbness in one or both of your feet? The first time or two, it may just feel like your foot has fallen asleep. That pins-and-needles sensation isn’t exactly pleasant, but as long as it passes quickly usually isn’t anything too worrisome. However, if you’ve noticed consistent tingling and numbness in your feet that seem to stick around for a bit and make frequent returns, there could be something larger at play.

Just what causes your feet to tingle? There are several different possibilities that could produce a tingling sensation. From issues with your piriformis to a herniated disc, to a simple pinched nerve, the spectrum of possibilities for this symptom is wide. But don’t fret! In this article, we’ll help outline the most common culprits for this familiar symptom in an effort to help guide you toward the best care to find real relief.

Sciatica and Its Role in Nerve Pain

One of the primary culprits for foot tingling and numbness is sciatica. Sciatica is very common and is the pain that follows the sciatic nerve, beginning in your lower back and running through your hips, glute, and down your leg to the foot. This nervy sensation can range from uncomfortable to bizarre to debilitatingly painful.

Generally, sciatica chooses one side to plague at a time. It flares up when the sciatic nerve gets pinched. And, there are several common ways for a nerve to become pinched, namely with a herniated disc or as a result of piriformis syndrome.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc in your spine is a prime candidate for causing sciatic nerve pain. The term “herniated disc” can be intimidating, so let’s dive into what a herniated disc actually is.

Our spines are comprised of stacks of vertebrae (or small bones, 24 of them to be exact!) and between each one are flat round “pads”, also called “discs.”  These discs serve as little shock absorbers to help protect our spine during day-to-day and dynamic movements, and each one has a tougher outer cartilage ring and a softer, gel-like center. When a disc herniates, the soft-center portion is pushed through the outer cartilage edge. Ouch.

Once a disc has herniated, the displacement can put pressure on the nerves within the spine, causing an array of referral patterns. When a herniated disc is located closer to the lumbar or lower back region, it can cause tingling in one glute, leg, or foot.

What should you do if you have a herniated disc? As frustrating as it may seem, oftentimes good old fashioned rest is the best answer. Of course, we urge you to do this with the supervision of a medical professional who can help guide your recovery with an appropriate mix of rest and rehab.

Piriformis Syndrome

Another common cause of sciatic nerve pain is piriformis syndrome. The piriformis is a band-like muscle that runs diagonally from the midline base of your spine to the outer hip bone. This means that it’s responsible for any hip rotation as well as the turning of your legs and feet. It helps us walk, stabilizes our movement, and overall helps us maintain balance and control of movement. In short, it’s a pretty well-used muscle – and one you should be keen to protect.

Where the piriformis can cause trouble is in its proximity to the sciatic nerve, as the sciatic nerve literally runs through the piriformis. This means that when the piriformis becomes overused, tired, or tight, it can also compress and pinch the sciatic nerve pretty easily, causing that referral pain to travel down from the lower back all the way to your feet.

The good news is that most encounters with piriformis syndrome respond very well to conservative care. With a mixture of rest, ice, and the correct rehabilitative exercises prescribed by a licensed professional, most people feel significant relief. Keep in mind it’s always best to seek medical help for a sound diagnosis and to understand your treatment options.

Other Causes of Foot Tingling

Of course, there are other causes to foot tingling out there. For instance, those who suffer from diabetes may be at risk for diabetic neuropathy, which can occur during bouts of very high blood sugar. This neuropathy damages nerves that send normal signals to your extremities, including your feet, and causing numbness and tingling. The sensation may even begin to feel like a mild burn. If you have diabetes and are experiencing foot tingling and numbness, it’s imperative to contact your doctor immediately, as diabetic neuropathy can quickly take a turn for the worse.

On another note, some women also experience this tingling sensation in their feet during pregnancy. With the massive changes that their bodies undergo, the shifting of the uterus may put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing that all too familiar pins-and-needles sensation.

The moral of the story? If you’re experiencing tingling and numbness in your feet, don’t blow it off. Take it seriously and seek medical help immediately. It’s best to know for certain what you’re dealing with and have the right, informed help to guide you back to full health.

Can Chiropractic Help Resolve Tingling Feet?

Yes! Chiropractic care is an excellent option for treating tingling feet and here’s why: chiropractors are experts in understanding how the spine, vertebrae, and surrounding muscles and tissues interact. Additionally, chiropractic care relieves your symptoms while addressing the root cause of your feet tingling; it starts with a personalized plan based on your unique symptoms, patterns, and medical history. Treatment often includes adjustments of the spine, neck, and extremities to help realign your body, decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, and ultimately allow your entire body to be more receptive to your natural healing process.

By working consistent chiropractic care into your routine, you could significantly reduce the lingering nerve discomfort that tends to come with conditions surrounding tingling feet, while putting your body in the best position to mend. That’s a huge win-win for your overall health and recovery.


Stay on top of the early or consistent signs of foot tingling. Schedule your appointment online or call (949) 751-4000.


This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

14 Join the Conversation

  1. Angin Elle Lapun says
    Oct 25, 2020 at 4:40 PM

    My wife diabetes symptom was diabetic neuropathy. We didn't know she was diabetic until we went to my doctor complaining about constant foot pain. After a multitude of tests for everything from rheumatoid arthritis to muscular dystrophy, an emergency room physician checked her blood sugar.After reviewing a letter written by my doctor, where I read he had prescribed Celebrex for her due to pain of Arthritis which had really messed her neck, back and knees, I found that one of the side effects of Celebrex is Diabetes, my wife was able to effectively cure herbal condition multivitamincare org It is too much for a patient to endure such as they slowly begin to pass away if the right medication is not taken organic herbal treatment.Having a positive mind is a powerful tool .My prayers goes out to diabetes patients and their care givers.

  2. Patrick says
    Jan 02, 2021 at 4:02 PM

    What herbal great did you use? Thank you

    • says
      Feb 18, 2021 at 11:26 AM

      Good herbs for inflammation are turmeric, ginger, boswellia (curcumin), Indian frankincense.

  3. Michael Strange says
    Feb 13, 2021 at 12:48 AM

    All the symptoms you describe fit with what I am suffering and "uncomfortable to bizarre" is absolutely right as well as the connection with previous pyriformis syndrome. I would pay you a visit for some treatment but a bit too far from England. Having passed diabetes tests plus nerve conduction tests it's about time for me to seek out a chiro here.

    • says
      Feb 18, 2021 at 10:57 AM

      Yes Michael! Find a chiropractor with a good reputation. I am a fan of the Gonstead technique. Good luck searching!

  4. Kenneth Griefnow says
    May 27, 2021 at 12:54 AM

    I have l4 and l5 herniation. No back pain no more just weak hip and numb toes. Ha 2 shots in my back already. They said i was a canadate for surgery. Not gonna do that. Just want to know will my nerves heal on there own with phisical help?

    • says
      May 27, 2021 at 7:29 AM

      Great question Kenneth, I hate to do this to you, but the answer is... It depends. If you haven't done it yet find a good chiropractor that is familiar with disc herniations and has experience looking at MRI and X-ray images. If the herniations are small enough we can help with natural, hands on work. I do the Gonstead technique and if you look that up online you should be able to find someone near you that does that technique and would be a great resource to you to find the least invasive approach. Hope that helps!

  5. says
    Jan 05, 2022 at 10:03 AM

    For several months now the bottom of my left foot and toes have been going numb. When standing firmly on my L foot I feel as if I'm standing on a golf ball - mid outside part of underfoot. I have reported the problem to my doctor and completed the requested tests he prescribed. The tests reported good blood flow and nothing that could cause any problems. I tried acupuncture yesterday but nothing has changed, though I am now experiencing a similar sensation in my right foot now. I guess my next option is to try a good chiropractor as mentioned. Thank you for the information. I'm sure it will take me to a better solution. Gonstead technique may be the answer.

  6. Jeanette says
    Mar 05, 2022 at 7:52 PM

    One month ago has spine operation. While in hospital lost all the pain and numbness in legs and feet. After traveling home in car 40 minutes from hospital got numbness back in both legs / feet. After 3 days lost numbness in left leg /foot but still have numbness in right leg / foot. Is there anything I can do to help me.

  7. says
    Mar 06, 2022 at 10:18 AM

    I have had a herniated disc on l4. I had to have op didn't go well got secondary infection. All as been well now for several years until now got severe pain in buttocks with my calf and foot tingling. I am waiting for a consultant, but is this my disc going again all is it my sciatica nerve. It sounds weird but hope it's not my back and just sciatic nerve.

  8. Michelle Fitzpatrick says
    Sep 03, 2022 at 9:31 AM

    Hi I had a blow to my ankle by a large bottle of frozen water falling from height, I have been walking on it etc and had lots of bruising but now am getting a constant tingling like pins needles in it and feels like a nerve has been hit but not want to go trouble a n e if it is just my imagination

    • says
      Sep 06, 2022 at 8:34 AM

      You probably hit a nerve on the top of your foot. It should resolve on it's own. If it persists longer than a few weeks, go to your doctor and get it checked out. Hope this helps!

    Jan 07, 2023 at 12:47 PM

    I am an extremely active 77 yr old. I've worked out daily since my early 20s. Recently my husband dislocated a hip replacement. He was put into a brace and could not get out of his chair. I hired help but I still had to help him in the early hours. Since then I'm having a hard time walking and tingling in my left foot. As the day goes on things ease up. Heat helps. What else should I do?

    • says
      Jan 09, 2023 at 8:56 AM

      You may want to try ice to reduce the inflammation in the low back. If the symptoms are persisting beyond a few days you should seek out a professional. Find a good chiropractor that can take some x-rays and see what might be going on. It very likely is nerve pressure from your low back causing the tingling.

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