If you've ever left your legs crossed too long, you've likely experienced an almost-painful tingling sensation in your legs and feet caused by decreased blood circulation. Fortunately, the tingling goes away quickly once you're standing and moving about, but while it's there, it feels like a cruel combination of pain and tickling.
If your feet or hands feel this way even when you haven't folded yourself up like a pretzel for too long in front of the television, it could be sign of nerve damage. Symptoms such as tingling, numbness and a burning sensation all point to peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy has many causes, including diabetes, alcohol abuse, vitamin B-12 deficiency and other disorders such as shingles. Injury, infections and toxins can also cause nerve damage. Often -- though not always -- treating the underlying cause of the tingling causes the painful sensations in your affected body parts to go away. Aspirin and over-the-counter analgesics sometimes help relieve symptoms, but antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, physical therapy or surgery have a greater chance of reducing or eliminating the burning sensation.
It's important to seek treatment for this condition because the reduced sensation means you'll be less likely to notice injuries to your feet or hands. Injuries left unchecked can become infected, opening the door to a completely new set of problems.
If you're diabetic, getting your blood sugar under control will prevent further nerve damage (among other complications that arise from this disease) and may improve the existing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.