Some of the symptoms of anxiety are unusually frightening. Most of us are used the nausea, the tension, the sweating, and the increased heart rate, but in some cases you may have an anxiety symptom so disturbing that the symptom alone causes more anxiety.
That's is often the case with tingling feet. Those who find their feet start tingling for no apparent reason often run straight to Google, and find that tingling feet is a symptom of terrible diseases, like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart failure and more. This adds to their anxiety and causes some serious health scares. But in many cases, tingling feet is just another forgotten symptom of anxiety.
Are Your Tingling Feet Anxiety?
Only a doctor can diagnose the cause of your tingling feet. But when all tests are negative, there's a good chance it's simply anxiety. Tingling feet is also rarely the only symptom. Take my free 7 minute anxiety test to score your anxiety severity and see what you can do to stop it.
Different Types of Symptoms
Everyone describes the tingling feet sensation differently. Some claim it's like their foot fell asleep and is waking up. Others experience more of a pain or burning feeling. All of these may be versions of the same anxiety symptom.
You'll want to speak to a doctor for your own peace of mind. But take my free 7 minute anxiety test now to find out what anxiety you may be experiencing.
Main Anxiety Cause of Tingling Feet
Tingling feet - and related sensations - may not seem to be related to anxiety. That's because for many, they're a symptom of a symptom. When you struggle with anxiety, you become far more prone to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is known to cause tingling in the hands and feet.
Hyperventilation is when your body takes in more oxygen then it needs and expels too much carbon dioxide. For the person hyperventilating, it can feel as though you're not getting enough oxygen, so you start breathing deeper. Unfortunately this only makes the hyperventilation worse.
When your carbon dioxide levels are imbalanced, your body experiences a range of problems related to poor blood oxygen levels. One of them is tingling in the hands and feet.
Other Causes of Tingling Feet From Anxiety
Nothing with anxiety is that simple. It's possible for several other issues to lead to tingling feet as well, and all of them still relate to anxiety.
One of the most common is simply over-sensitivity. Those with anxiety are more prone to noticing small changes in the way they feel, especially when compared to someone without anxiety. Your feet, tingle and feel lighter all the time. They fall asleep, they lose a little blood here and there - all of this occurs all throughout the day and is not an indication that something is wrong.
But when you have anxiety, you can't help but notice these sensations more. When you do, it triggers more anxiety, which causes you to focus on the tingling as though it is indicative of a larger problem. That's one of the reasons that many people with anxiety disorders also develop health anxiety and panic attacks - because even normal sensations start to feel like something is terribly wrong.
Finally, when you suffer from anxiety, you may also burn away valuable nutrients. For example, those that have severe stress often use up their magnesium reserves. Magnesium (and vitamin B12, and a few other vitamins) plays a role in nerve health, so in some cases you may simply be suffering from a lack of nutrition. Talking to your doctor about the right multivitamin can be a big help.
How to Reduce the Anxiety of Tingling Feet
Part of overcoming the tingling feet sensation is simply reminding yourself it's nothing to worry about. Talking to your doctor can be a big help - by ruling out diabetes, heart disease, etc., you can learn to be more confident about what your tingling sensations "mean."
But unfortunately that's rarely enough. Those with anxiety often talk themselves into believing that their doctors missed something. So you'll also need to figure out how to distract yourself from your worried thoughts. It's not necessarily important how you do this as long as you do it in a way that is healthy for your mood. For example:
- Talking to a friend on the phone.
- Going for a nice walk.
- Listening to upbeat music.
The goal is to essentially take your mind off of your distressing symptom and put it on something that isn't as distressing. Something as simple as drinking water can be a huge benefit to those with tingling symptoms simply because looking for the water and drinking it is enough to make them focus less on the way their feet feel.
Still, the only way to cure the sensation once and for all is to cure your anxiety. Only by decreasing the amount of focus and energy you place onto those negative sensations, and stop the way your mind wanders and worries will you be able to successfully find some relief. Tingling feet is going to happen, but if you can learn to control your anxiety you'll stop worrying about how your feet feel, and you'll potentially stop your tingling feet altogether.
I strongly insist that you take my free 7 minute anxiety test if you haven't yet. The test is designed specifically to look at your symptoms, like tingling feet, and provide information and recommendations for how to treat it.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.