Why does your foot fall asleep

Why do the feet fall asleep sometimes?

Status: 13.03.2016 8:00 a.m. | archive
They tingle, prick and feel numb: Feet fell asleep.

The foot fell asleep. Every child knows this, including the fifth graders at the KaiFU Gymnasium in Hamburg: "It tingles me a lot." For me it is more of a prick, as if I had got a thousand splinters. "" I find it kind of ticklish, but also painful when it falls asleep really hard. "

It usually happens when you sit on your lower legs for a long time or cross your legs cross-legged.

Most of the time something has been pinched off

Sometimes you can no longer feel your foot or hand at all. In any case, parts of the body that have fallen asleep are always a bit numb. "When I have that, I shake my foot or my hand really hard," says one girl. "After a while it will go away again." But what does it mean?

Nerve pathways run through our entire body. They ensure that we can move our arms, legs, head and sometimes even our ears at all. This is because the brain uses these nerves to give the muscles the command to contract or stretch.

The nerve tracts are compressed

But if the foot falls asleep, this connection is disturbed, explains biology teacher Ute Strubel: "The nerves are pinched off. That means they are pressed together so tightly that they can no longer transmit any impulses." The brain can no longer send commands to the foot. But even the foot can no longer transmit any information to the brain through the nerve tracts. So the brain believes that it no longer exists and the foot becomes numb.

Movement helps quickly and permissibly

If we then move the leg, however, the nerve tracts are released again. The brain then tries to tell the muscles to move. But since the muscles were pinched off, this is a little difficult at the beginning. "Small tactile bodies are everywhere on our skin," explains biology teacher Ute Strubel. "And these probes could not report to the brain either when the foot fell asleep. The tingling lasts until the impulses run smoothly through the nerves again.

At first only incorrect or fragmented information flows in the direction of the leg and we also perceive that as a tingling sensation. But after a few seconds this is over and the foot is awake again.

AUDIO: Why do feet fall asleep? (3 min)

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NDR Info | 03/20/2016 | 8:05 am