What occurs when your foot falls asleep? – Helen E., age 8, Somerville, Massachusetts
Think about you’ve got simply sat down to look at your favourite TV present. You determine to snuggle in together with your legs crisscrossed since you discover it extra comfy that manner.
When the episode ends, you attempt to arise and immediately 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 peculiar, 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 grasp how the mind talks to and controls the completely different components of our our bodies. When your foot falls asleep, there’s something unsuitable with the communication between your mind and the muscle tissue in that space.
Each time you determine 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 accurately. 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 usually additionally name “pins and needles,” is technically referred to as paresthesia.
Some individuals mistakenly assume a scarcity of blood circulation 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 due to the place you are sitting in. Keep in mind, it is these nerves that carry messages backwards and forwards 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 well’t get its regular messages by way of to your mind about the way it feels or if it is transferring.
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 be concerned, that feeling will solely final for a couple of minutes after which all the pieces will really feel regular once more.
Now comes the vital query: Is that this harmful? More often than not, when your foot, or another physique half, falls asleep, it’s momentary and nothing to fret about. Actually, because it lasts for less than a minute or two, chances are you’ll not even keep in mind it occurred by the top of the day.
Though it is not inflicting any everlasting harm, you may nonetheless need to keep away from the uncomfortable feeling that comes when your foot falls asleep. Listed here are a few suggestions that will assist:
- Swap your place usually.
- Do not cross your legs for very lengthy.
- If you find yourself sitting for a very long time, attempt standing up from time to time.
You most likely cannot 100% stop your foot from ever falling asleep. So don’t be concerned when it occurs each on occasion. It will go away fairly shortly – and perhaps it may well remind you of all of the vital mind messages your nerves are often transmitting with out your even noticing.
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