What does paresthesia mean with nerves?

Paresthesia is a condition that produces an abnormal tingling or numb sensation.  This is a sign that a nerve is overactive and transmitting more signals than normal.  Small electrical impulses run along the nerves from the spine to your legs.  These impulses or sensations also go up the spinal cord to your brain. 

If, for some reason there is pressure on the nerve, it causes an interruption of the signals going back and forth which normally relate to the transmission of feeling.

Paresthesias can result from many different causes.   These sensations may be permanent or they may be temporary.  Sometimes they can be reversed.

If there is pressure on the nerve, which can be caused from diabetes, an injury, metabolic disorders, alcohol, chemotherapy, to name a few, the small blood vessels that supply nutrients to the nerve are also squeezed so they now deliver less oxygen and glucose (food) to the nerves.  These are what the nerves need to survive.  This causes the nerves inability to function properly by sending normal signals.  Numbness may result.

If the pressure is removed the nerve cells start to receive the proper nutrients again from the blood vessels and the impulses can begin again.  This may be the sensations of pins and needles, tingling, as the nerves become hyperactive initially.  As nerves recover from the compression, they can be hyperactive for a period of time in some people.  This can be a good sign for recovery and may be temporary.

If you are concerned about paresthesias, call Harvey R. Danciger, DPM for further information and evaluation.  He is located in Palm Desert, California.  Call 760-568-0108, or use our online appointment form.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle