If you sit down after a nice walk around the neighborhood and notice that your legs feel like they are on pins and needles, you might wonder what causes tingling in the legs. Should you be worried? Will it go away? Finding out what causes tingling in the feet and legs can help you decide what to do next. For some people, the culprit is the tight-fitting sneakers worn on the walk. For others, tingling in the legs can signal a medical condition like peripheral artery disease (PAD).
PAD occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries enough to restrict blood flow to the legs and feet. It’s a serious condition that warrants treatment as soon as possible, so if you believe you have PAD, find a vascular doctor immediately.
At USA Vascular Centers, our compassionate vascular doctors are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating PAD. We have over 40 conveniently located outpatient centers throughout the United States, and we also offer virtual consultations to get your treatment started for tingling in the legs.
What Causes Tingling in the Legs and Feet?
There are more reasons for tingling in the legs and feet than you may have suspected. Sometimes, the tingling sensation in the legs happens without any additional symptoms. In other instances, though, people may experience numbness and tingling in the legs, or pain and tingling in the legs.
Let’s break down five reasons why you may be experiencing tingling in the legs after exercising.
Neuropathy is damage or dysfunction to the nerves. The condition can cause pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the area near the affected nerves. Diabetes is the most common reason for neuropathy, but infections, traumatic injuries, and metabolic problems can also cause neuropathy.
Charley horse is another name for a muscle spasm, or involuntary muscle contraction. These spasms can be painful and may even result in sore, weak muscles. People often experience a charley horse in the legs. Dehydration and irritated nerves can contribute to muscle spasms. The same is true of low calcium or potassium levels, which can be a side effect of various medications, like steroids.
Overly Tight Shoes
If the shoes you wear while you’re out walking are too tight for your feet, you may experience a tingling sensation in the feet and legs. This can result from your nerves getting compressed and is a sign that you need shoes that can accommodate your feet without pinching them.
Feet naturally swell throughout the day, so choose a pair of walking shoes that come with some wiggle room on all sides of your feet. For example, ensure there’s space above your toes and that the shoes are wide enough to fit your feet throughout the day. Walking shoes should also come with breathable, soft material on the top to help accommodate your feet as you exercise.
Peripheral Artery Disease
As a condition characterized by restricted blood flow to the legs and feet, PAD can cause a range of symptoms. A tingling sensation in the feet and legs is one of them. When you do any type of activity involving your leg muscles, the cells in those muscles require an increased oxygen supply. Because of the impaired blood flow, they can’t get the oxygen they need when they need it, resulting in pain, numbness, and tingling in the legs.5 Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and advanced age are all PAD risk factors.
If you think the tingling in your feet and legs could be a result of PAD, talk to a knowledgeable vascular doctor as soon as possible. You may have an advanced stage of PAD that requires treatment to help open the narrowed arteries, allowing blood to flow more freely to your legs and feet.
Electrolytes are essential minerals in the body that produce an electric charge when they’re broken down in bodily fluids, such as urine and blood.6 Among other things, they play an important role in helping your muscles and nerves function correctly. When electrolytes are imbalanced, the body suffers. Exercising without drinking enough water is one potential reason for an electrolyte imbalance. Other conditions, such as cancer, liver disease, and cardiovascular disease, can also cause an electrolyte balance.
Symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance can include numbness and tingling in the feet, legs, and toes. Other symptoms to watch out for are muscle cramps, nausea, an increased heart rate, headaches, and confusion.6
How to Treat Tingling Legs After Walking
Treating numbness, pain, and tingling in the legs after walking will depend on what’s causing the symptoms. We recommend seeing a doctor to rule out or diagnose more serious conditions, such as peripheral artery disease.
At USA Vascular Centers, our vascular doctors can expertly diagnose PAD. They can perform an ankle-brachial index test, which compares the blood pressure in your arm and ankle to determine whether or not you have a blockage in your vascular system.
An angiogram procedure may also be performed. In this minimally invasive procedure, a catheter is inserted into the vascular system. Using contrast dye and X-ray imaging, a vascular doctor can determine the location of any blockages.
If the doctor diagnoses you with PAD, several treatment options are available, including angioplasty, stent placement, and atherectomy. These are three minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures done in one of USA Vascular’s leading-edge, onsite cath labs.
With an angioplasty, the doctor inserts a balloon-tipped catheter into the vascular system and inflates the balloon at each blockage, compressing the plaque and opening the artery. A stent placement adds the step of inserting a mesh stent to prop the artery open. For an atherectomy, the doctor uses a laser or specialized blade to safely remove plaque from the body.
Schedule a Consultation at USA Vascular Centers
At USA Vascular Centers, our goal is to help treat PAD symptoms such as tingling legs after walking. We offer both virtual and in-person consultations. When it’s time to travel to one of our centers from out of town, ask us about our lodging options to help accommodate you during your stay. Schedule a consultation online or call us at 888.773.2193 today to get started. We look forward to helping you improve pain and tingling in the legs as a result of PAD.
 “Peripheral Neuropathy.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 August 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352061. Accessed 21 Sept 2022.
 “Charley horse.” MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine, 3 May 2021, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002066.htm. Accessed 21 September 2022.
 Kim, Ki Hoon, MD., et al. “A case of lateral calcaneal neuropathy: Lateral heel pain.” Muscle & Nerve, Wiley Online Library, 12 May 2016, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mus.25188. Accessed 6 September 2022.
 “10 Points of Proper Shoe Fit.” FootCareMD, 2018,https://www.footcaremd.org/resources/how-to-help/10-points-of-proper-shoe-fit. Accessed 6 September 2022.
 “Claudication: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, 18 October 2021, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21972-claudication. Accessed 6 September 2022
 “Electrolyte Imbalance: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, 13 August 2022, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/24019-electrolyte-imbalance. Accessed 6 September 2022.