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What causes pins and needles sensation in the legs?

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Posted on Mon, 27 Jul 2015
Question: Once in a while I have a shooting pin-like pain (mostly right leg). Feels like a needle pricking me.
Started out occasionally in ankle and it has increased to daily, and now traveled to calf.
Should I be concerned?
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (35 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
peripheral neuropathy

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Shooting intermittent pain is normally related to peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy refers to a disease affecting the peripheral nerves (nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord).

There are different possible causes , some of the common causes are: (1)trauma to the nerves that supplying the area. Arthritis to the lower back , where the nerves to the legs come from, may also cause this problem

(2)vitamin b12 or folate deficiency

(3)diabetes

(4)liver or kidney disease

(5)exposure to toxins

(6)neurological diseases such as stroke or ms

(7)idiopathic- cause not known

IF you have a history of diabetes, liver or kidney disease then one of these may be the cause.

Any recent trauma or arthritis to the lower back (where the nerves to the calf and ankle come from), may also cause a problem.
This can be checked by an Xray of the back

If none of these are present, your doctor may want to check your B12 or folate levels as low levels can also cause a problem.
Replacement would help.

Summary: (1) xray of the back would be able to determine if there is an issue here
(2)blood tests for the kidney, liver, diabetes, vitamin levels may also be needed

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16811 Questions

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What causes pins and needles sensation in the legs?

Brief Answer: peripheral neuropathy Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic Shooting intermittent pain is normally related to peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy refers to a disease affecting the peripheral nerves (nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord). There are different possible causes , some of the common causes are: (1)trauma to the nerves that supplying the area. Arthritis to the lower back , where the nerves to the legs come from, may also cause this problem (2)vitamin b12 or folate deficiency (3)diabetes (4)liver or kidney disease (5)exposure to toxins (6)neurological diseases such as stroke or ms (7)idiopathic- cause not known IF you have a history of diabetes, liver or kidney disease then one of these may be the cause. Any recent trauma or arthritis to the lower back (where the nerves to the calf and ankle come from), may also cause a problem. This can be checked by an Xray of the back If none of these are present, your doctor may want to check your B12 or folate levels as low levels can also cause a problem. Replacement would help. Summary: (1) xray of the back would be able to determine if there is an issue here (2)blood tests for the kidney, liver, diabetes, vitamin levels may also be needed I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions