What Occurs When Your Foot Falls Asleep?


By Zachary Gillen, Mississippi State College

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What occurs when your foot falls asleep? – Helen E., age 8, Somerville, Massachusetts


Think about you have simply sat down to observe your favourite TV present. You determine to snuggle in along with your legs crisscrossed since you discover it extra snug that method.

When the episode ends, you attempt to get up and instantly your proper foot is not working. At first you simply cannot transfer it, then it feels prefer it has pins and needles throughout it. For a minute or two it feels uncomfortable and peculiar, however quickly sufficient you’ll be able to get up and stroll round usually.

What simply occurred?

I am an train physiologist – a scientist who research what occurs to our our bodies once we transfer and train. The objective of a lot of my analysis has been to know how the mind talks to and controls the completely different components of our our bodies. When your foot falls asleep, there’s something improper with the communication between your mind and the muscle groups in that space.

Each time you determine to maneuver your physique, whether or not it is standing up, strolling round or enjoying sports activities, your mind sends indicators to your muscle groups to ensure they transfer appropriately. When the mind is unable to speak with a muscle or teams of muscle groups, some bizarre issues can occur – together with that a part of your physique getting that bizarre falling-asleep sensation.


An animation explains how the nervous system works.

It often begins with a way of numbness or tingling in that space. This sensation, which individuals usually additionally name “pins and needles,” is technically often known as paresthesia.

Some individuals mistakenly assume a scarcity of blood movement causes this sense. They think about the “asleep” feeling occurs when your blood, which carries vitamins throughout your physique, is unable to get to your foot. However that is not proper.

When your foot falls asleep, it is usually because the nerves that join the mind to the foot are getting squished because of the place you are sitting in. Bear in mind, it is these nerves that carry messages backwards and forwards to let your mind and your foot talk with one another. If the nerves have been compressed for a short time, you will not have a lot feeling in your foot as a result of it could possibly’t get its regular messages by means of to your mind about the way it feels or if it is transferring.

When you begin to transfer round once more, the strain on the nerves is launched. They “get up” and you will begin to discover a “pins and needles” feeling. Don’t fret, that feeling will solely final for a couple of minutes after which every thing will really feel regular once more.

Now comes the essential query: Is that this harmful? More often than not, when your foot, or every other physique half, falls asleep, it’s non permanent and nothing to fret about. In reality, because it lasts for less than a minute or two, you might not even bear in mind it occurred by the top of the day.

Despite the fact that it isn’t inflicting any everlasting injury, you may nonetheless wish to keep away from the uncomfortable feeling that comes when your foot falls asleep. Listed here are a few ideas which will assist:

  • Swap your place usually.
  • Do not cross your legs for very lengthy.
  • If you find yourself sitting for a very long time, strive standing up occasionally.

You most likely cannot 100% stop your foot from ever falling asleep. So don’t be concerned when it occurs each every so often. It’s going to go away fairly shortly – and perhaps it could possibly remind you of all of the essential mind messages your nerves are often transmitting with out your even noticing.


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Zachary Gillen, Assistant Professor of Train Physiology, Mississippi State College

This text is republished from The Dialog underneath a Inventive Commons license. Learn the unique article.

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