Why do hands and feet tingle?

Those affected often experience tingling as if they were touching a nettle or as if ants were crawling over the skin. Tingling is one of the so-called abnormal sensations (paresthesia). These are unpleasant and disturbing sensory impressions that occur either spontaneously or with gentle touch stimuli. In addition to tingling, the abnormal sensations also include burning, a furry feeling, tingling, electrifying pain and numbness.

Often the causes of tingling are harmless, for example, “fallen asleep” legs after prolonged sitting. The annoying symptom then disappears on its own after a short time. Sometimes, however, there is also a disease behind it that may require treatment.

Discomfort on the skin includes various complaints that occur individually, but also in combination. Sensations such as tingling, a feeling of fur or pins and needles are referred to as paresthesia, literally translated as “malfunction”. They mark e.g. B. the initial symptoms of damaged peripheral nerves (polyneuropathies) and nerve compression syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

If the abnormal sensations are unpleasant to painful, without there being an obvious reason for the pain, it is by definition dysesthesia. These occur with a wide variety of damage to the nervous system, such as advanced polyneuropathies, after a stroke or nerve injuries.

If the numbness is in the foreground, one speaks of hypesthesia or reduced sensitivity to touch. Any damage to the nerves can be the cause, be it through injury, pressure, metabolic diseases, circulatory disorders, infections or other diseases. Hypoesthesia occurs particularly frequently as a symptom of polyneuropathy or a herniated disc.

The opposite of hypaesthesia is hyperaesthesia – an increased sensitivity of the skin to various sensory stimuli, e.g. B. touch, pressure or temperature. It is a typical symptom of Sudeck’s disease, but it also often occurs at the edge of a “numb” area of skin. A special form of hyperaesthesia is hyperalgia, in which the hypersensitivity of the skin only relates to pain stimuli.

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