There are many problems that can lead to temporary numbness in your legs, from a herniated disc to simply crossing your legs for too long. Chronic issues with leg numbness, on the other hand, may be a sign of something much bigger that involves your vascular health.
At Advanced Vein & Laser Center, Dr. Steven Heird and Dr. David Winand head up our team of vascular specialists, giving us the expertise necessary to diagnose, and treat, vascular issues of all kinds. And when it comes to chronic leg numbness, that’s one symptom that causes us to sit up and take notice.
Here’s a look at the potential causes of the numbness in your legs and how we go about diagnosing and treating the problem.
The many faces of numbness as a symptom
As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, there are dozens of conditions that can lead to numbness in your leg. To give you an idea of the wide range of potential causes of leg numbness, the following is a list of the most common culprits:
- Poor posture
- Spinal stenosis
- Multiple sclerosis
And the list goes on, encompassing problems that range from neurological to musculoskeletal. Not included on this list are the vascular issues that lead to leg numbness, which rank near the top of the list of suspects.
A circulatory problem
If you’re experiencing ongoing problems with leg numbness with no easily identifiable cause, the odds are good that the problem may lie in your blood vessels. There are two primary conditions that can affect the sensation in your legs:
Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
One of the primary symptoms of PAD is numbness in your extremities, which is caused by poor circulation due to narrowed arteries. Because of atherosclerosis (a buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries), your body is unable to deliver oxygen-rich blood as it should, especially in far-flung areas like your legs.
The veins in your legs are among the hardest-working blood vessels in your body. They have the enormous task of fighting both distance and gravity to deliver blood back to your heart for recirculation. To help, your veins are lined with tiny valves that shut off as blood flows through, preventing it from spilling backward.
If these small valves begin to fail, your blood has a harder time making its way up, which can lead to spider veins and varicose veins, as well as leg numbness and cramping.
Diagnosing and treating your leg numbness
When you come in, our first order of business is to ferret out whether your circulation is compromised, which we can do through a series of tests, a review of your symptoms, and advanced imaging tools such as ultrasound to help us get a better look inside.
Once we identify the problem, our goal is to restore full feeling to your legs, which we do by addressing your vascular issues. In most cases, we start conservatively with lifestyle changes and medications, but if your numbness persists, we may recommend more aggressive solutions.
But perhaps “aggressive” isn’t the right word. Our clinic offers the latest minimally invasive techniques to address issues in your veins, including sclerotherapy, endovenous ablation, and surgical vein removal. These outpatient procedures are highly effective in resolving problems with numbness by addressing the affected veins and rerouting your blood to healthier vessels.
Even if we turn to a procedure, you can still do your part by following our suggestions and making a few changes to your lifestyle, such as getting more exercise, wearing compression socks, and spending less time sitting.
If you’d like to regain feeling in your legs, please give us a call. Or you can use the online form to request an appointment.