Fibromyalgia Numbness and Tingling

People with fibromyalgia may experience numbness or tingling in their legs and feet, which may also be present in their hands or arms. This numbness and tingling is called  paresthesia , and about 1 in 4 people with fibromyalgia is affected by this symptom.

Fibromyalgia numbness and tinglingNo one knows exactly what causes people with fibromyalgia to experience paresthesia. Two possible theories include stiffness and muscle spasms that cause muscles to press on nerves.

These spasms are known as a condition of  cold-induced vasospasm, where the blood vessels of the extremities such as the feet and hands are spasmed and closed . The consequence is that the blood does not flow towards them and produces numbness.

The numbness and tingling may disappear and reappear without explanation.

Fibromyalgia numbness and tingling

Other causes of numbness and tingling

There are a variety of reasons why people might experience numbness in their feet and legs, fibromyalgia is just one. Other diseases are multiple sclerosis, diabetes, tarsal tunnel syndrome, peripheral arterial disease and excessive pressure on the nerves.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. It is caused by damage to the myelin sheath. MS is a chronic condition that progresses over time. Many people will have remissions and relapses in the symptoms.

Other common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:

muscle spasms
loss of balance

Numbness and tingling is a common sign of MS. It is usually one of the first symptoms that leads people to their doctors. These sensations may be mild, or severe enough to cause foot or walking problems. In MS, cases of numbness and tingling tend to go into remission without treatment.

Diabetic neuropathies

Diabetic neuropathies are a group of nerve disorders caused by the nerve damage of diabetes. These neuropathies can affect any part of the body, including the legs and feet. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes experience some form of neuropathy.

Numbness or tingling in the feet is the first symptom for many with nerve damage from diabetes. This is called  peripheral neuropathy . The numbness and accompanying symptoms usually get worse at night.

Other common symptoms of this peripheral neuropathy of diabetes include:

Acute pains or cramps in the affected areas
Extreme sensitivity to touch
loss of balance

Over time, blisters and sores can develop on the foot when the injuries go unnoticed due to numbness. These can lead to infections, and along with poor circulation, can lead to amputations. Many of these amputations are preventable if infections are detected early.

Tarsus tunnel syndrome

The tarsal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the posterior tibial nerve, which is located along the inside of the heel. This can produce symptoms that extend from the ankle to the foot, including tingling and numbness in any part of the foot. It is the foot version of the carpal tunnel.

Other common symptoms of this disorder include:

Pain, including sudden pain 
Sensation similar to an electric shock 

The symptoms are usually felt inside the ankle and lower part of the foot. These sensations can be sporadic or come suddenly. It is essential to seek treatment. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can cause permanent damage to the nerve if it is not treated in time.

Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries. Over time, this plaque can harden, narrowing the arteries and limiting the supply of blood and oxygen to parts of the body.

Peripheral arterial disease can affect the legs, so there is numbness in the legs and feet. It can also increase the risk of infection in those areas. If the peripheral arterial disease is severe enough, it could result in gangrene and amputation in the legs.

Because peripheral arterial disease increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, you should consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Leg pain when walking or climbing stairs
Coldness in the lower leg or foot
Sores on the feet, feet or legs that do not heal
Change in the color of the legs
Hair loss, slower hair growth on the legs or the feet
Loss or slow growth of the toenails

Raynaud’s phenomenon

It is a condition in which cold temperatures or strong emotions cause vascular spasms. They block blood flow to the fingers and toes, ears and nose.

The Raynaud phenomenon is called “primary” when it is not associated with another disorder. In most cases, it begins in women under 30 years of age. Secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon is associated with other conditions and usually occurs in people older than 30 years.

The common causes of the secondary Raynaud phenomenon are:

Diseases of the arteries (such as atherosclerosis and Buerger’s disease).
Drugs that cause narrowing of the arteries (such as amphetamines, certain types of beta-blockers, certain drugs for cancer, certain drugs used for migraines).
Arthritis and autoimmune conditions (such as scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).
Repeated use or injury (such as, for example, typing, playing the piano, or excessive use of hand tools).
Burn by cold.
Upper thoracic opening syndrome

Relieve numbness and tingling


If the injuries have caused numbness or pain, maintaining a rest can help your body heal without causing more damage.


For some conditions, such as tarsal tunnel syndrome, applying ice to the affected area can reduce numbness and pain. Do not leave the ice for more than twenty minutes.


For some people, applying a heat pack to the numb area can increase the blood supply and also relax the muscles. You can also take a hot bath or shower.

Pads / templates

For people who experience too much pressure on the nerves, the insoles can help relieve that pressure, and any pain and numbness. Wear comfortable shoes with a two-cm heel to distribute the weight of the foot.


Be sure to inspect your feet to detect sores and blisters. This is important regardless of the cause. Numbness can prevent injuries, which can lead to infections that could spread to other areas of the body.


Massaging the feet increases blood circulation, in addition to helping to stimulate the nerves and muscles, which can improve their function.

Foot baths

Immersion of the feet in Epsom salts can help relieve symptoms. They have magnesium, which can elevate blood circulation. It is believed that  magnesium can help treat numbness and tingling and potentially prevent these sensations from recurring.



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