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Feeling numbness in thighs after sitting for a long time. How common is this? Should I be concerned?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
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Hello. I am noticing that if I sit too long or at least do not sit straight I feel a little numbness in my right thigh area on the skin. I also note a sensation that lasts a second or so of a pin prick(s) on the top of one of my feet or sometimes in my lower back. This doesn't bother me or interfere with my life, but I assumed this has something to do with some compression on my lower vertebrae. I assumed I should make a greater conscious effort not to slouch, and to sit very straight at my computer (or even on the toilet!). How normal or common would this be and is something to be concerned about in the future?

I forgot to mention that I also have a problem that if I sit too long my right outer ankle area feels uncomforable until I walk for a couple of minutes, it causes me to limp for a couple of minutes. Around the outer ankle bone to the heel. Is that also connected to a possible issue of spinal comprehension even if sitting rather straight?
Posted Sun, 19 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 7 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
You are right in assuming that the altered sensations on your leg are related to compression of lower vertebrae which are causing a nerve root compression. Degenerative changes in the spine are responsible for it. Since there is no pain, the compression is minimal and that too on sitting.
The uncomfortable feeling on the ankle is not likely to be related to this. It is likely to be due to a minor joint inflammation.
To avoid further progress of the problem, back strengthening exercises and stretching exercises for your hamstrings daily are recommended under the guidance of a Physiotherapist.
Also, maintain a proper posture while working, sitting and standing. Keep your back straight. If you work for long hours on the computer, the following link will tell you the posture to maintain while working:
WWW.WWWW.WW Discuss with your orthopedician in case the problem is persistent for prescription medicines.
Meanwhile you can start taking methylcobalamin supplements orally.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Feeling numbness in thighs after sitting for a long time. How common is this? Should I be concerned? 37 minutes later
Thank you, Dr. Taval. Actually the feeling in the peroneal area of the right ankle (on the same leg where I had the posterior tibial transfer) is some kind of cramp that makes me limp for a few minutes. However, since I wrote you originally I have been trying to keep my posture much straighter while walking and sitting, and this has made a significant difference for the better on the ankle.
The sensation of pins or slight electric shocks on the top of my foot also are much less since I concentrate on a straight posture. However, do you think this compression that causes these symptoms and numbness in my thigh is ultimately going to worsen with age because of painless arthritis in the vertebrae even if I concentrate on posture, etc.?
My wife has significant arthritis in her lower lumbar vertebrae and she doesn't have my problems, only occasional lower back pain.
Another sensation I have had is a feeling as if I had some water on my foot!
Should we assume that it is practically inevitable that I (and or my wife) are headed for surgery some day, or are people known to be able to live their whole life with compression, arthritis, stenosis etc. without serious pain or disability?
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 4 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
The symptoms you are having are related to degenerative changes in the spine. These do progress with age and the rate of degeneration can be retarded by adequate and regular physiotherapy.
It is not necessary that you have to go for a surgery. People do live a comfortable life with the help of exercise and adequate medical treatment. Please do not worry. Conservative treatment is always preferred over a surgery.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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