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 resolve to snuggle in along with your legs crisscrossed since you discover it extra snug that method.
When the episode ends, you attempt to arise and out of the blue 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 bizarre, however quickly sufficient you’ll be able to arise 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 purpose of a lot of my analysis has been to know how the mind talks to and controls the completely different elements of our our bodies. When your foot falls asleep, there’s something flawed with the communication between your mind and the muscle tissue in that space.
Each time you resolve to maneuver your physique, whether or not it is standing up, strolling round or taking part in sports activities, your mind sends alerts to your muscle tissue to ensure they transfer appropriately. When the mind is unable to speak with a muscle or teams of muscle tissue, 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 typically additionally name “pins and needles,” is technically often known as paresthesia.
Some folks mistakenly suppose an absence 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 often 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 forwards and backwards 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 may possibly’t get its regular messages by means of to your mind about the way it feels or if it is shifting.
When you begin to transfer round once more, the strain on the nerves is launched. They “get up” and you may begin to discover a “pins and needles” feeling. Don’t fret, that feeling will solely final for a couple of minutes after which the whole lot will really feel regular once more.
Now comes the vital query: Is that this harmful? More often than not, when your foot, or every other physique half, falls asleep, it’s short-term and nothing to fret about. In reality, because it lasts for under a minute or two, chances are you’ll not even bear in mind it occurred by the tip of the day.
Despite the fact that it isn’t inflicting any everlasting harm, you would possibly nonetheless wish to keep away from the uncomfortable feeling that comes when your foot falls asleep. Listed here are a few suggestions that will assist:
- Change your place typically.
- Do not cross your legs for very lengthy.
- When you’re sitting for a very long time, strive standing up now and again.
You most likely cannot 100% forestall your foot from ever falling asleep. So don’t fret when it occurs each every so often. It will go away fairly rapidly – and possibly it may possibly remind you of all of the vital mind messages your nerves are often transmitting with out your even noticing.
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