ZocdocAnswersWhat happens when a body part ?falls asleep??

Question

What happens when a body part ?falls asleep??

My left foot falls asleep a lot, even when I'm standing up sometimes. I know weird angles can make your body parts ?fall asleep?. What is happening when this happens? Is there something wrong with my circulation or something?

Answer

When a limb such as your leg or your foot "falls asleep", this is usually due to blood flow being cut of or reduced to that area. This happens when we sit or lie down in such a way that the artery (or arteries) that serve that limb get kinked and reducing the amount of blood that goes to the area. Without blood, the nerves in that area don't have enough oxygen to function. When this oxygen delivery reduces, the nerves stop sending signals, or they send abnormal signals creating the sensation of the foot falling asleep. Despite this being a scary thing, it rarely (if ever) causes a danger to your foot. It is just uncomfortable for a few minutes while you uncross your legs. Since your symptoms come on when you are standing, then they may be due to something else besides blood flow. Because you have symptoms when you are standing, you should see your doctor. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your legs and make sure that you have good pulses in your feet. If you don't, then your doctor will want to explore reasons why your foot is falling asleep.

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

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