Trouble afoot

Dear Lucy: I was sitting at my desk last Thursday, and it felt like both of my feet fell asleep. They had that buzzing feeling and ached a little bit. Well, here it is five days later, and the feeling hasn't gone away. It is a constant buzzing, tingly feeling. I’m a 37-year-old male, and I consider myself to be in good health, for the most part. Any ideas or suggestions? —Tingle Toes

Dear TT: There are few things Lucy finds more distracting and uncomfortable than that pins-and-needles feeling of a slumbering appendage. In the hope of alleviating your discomfort posthaste, Lucy reached out to MIT Medical Nurse Practitioner Maureen Dobrowsky for an answer to your puzzling symptoms.

Unfortunately, she could offer you no quick fix. “This is a tricky one to diagnose without an exam and possibly some lab tests,” she tells Lucy, recommending that you make an appointment for evaluation “sooner rather than later.” 

After hearing more about your symptoms and taking a look at your feet, the culprit may turn out to be something as simple as old or new shoes that don’t fit quite properly, Dobrowsky says. “Or your clinician may recommend an ergonomic evaluation at your work station, more frequent breaks from sitting during your long work days, or changing up your exercise program.”

But more serious problems may also be the cause of tingling in the feet, she notes. “I might also want to assess you for such issues as vitamin deficiencies or elevated sugar,” Dobrowsky says, “I’d also consider doing thorough cardiovascular, neurological, and orthopedic exams.”

While Lucy regrets not being able to provide you with an easy remedy for your foot issues, she hopes you’ll heed Dobrowsky’s advice and make an appointment to have your symptoms evaluated at MIT Medical as soon as possible. —Lucy

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