ZocdocAnswersWhy do I get numbness and tingling in my foot?

Question

Why do I get numbness and tingling in my foot?

I only encounter the numbness and extreme tingling when I am on the airplane.

Answer

Unfortunately this is a fairly common problem. The numbness and tingling likely is coming from some minor compression of the nerves running down your legs, perhaps worsened also by some pooling blood in the legs. In a restricted space like a small airplane seat, the cramped posture unfortunately can do this, especially in people who are taller or who have any medical problems, like varicose veins, which predispose to poor circulation in the legs. It is generally not a serious problem, and if you can get up and move around, the symptoms should go away. If you can, you should try to get out of your seat periodically and walk in the aisles to give your legs a break and to encourage circulation. You can also try some of the isometric exercises that are usually listed in the back of the airline magazine while you are seated. Of course the major risk of sitting for prolonged periods of time in the airplane is the risk of a blood clot in the veins of the legs. Moving around and performing exercises will help prevent this. Also if you ever notice swelling of a leg or shortness of breath after a long flight, you should see your doctor immediately.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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