Numbness And Tingling In The Leg And Foot

Do You Get Numbness Or Tingling In The Outside Of The Leg Or Top Of The Foot?

Watch this video to find causes of tingling in the leg and foot, and how to relieve it.

Causes Of Tingling In The Outer Leg and Top Of The Foot

If you're getting numbness and tingling in the outside of the leg and top of the foot, the chances are most likely that the pain is coming from your back.


The L5 nerve root (image below) refers pain in a very specific pattern that starts at the buttock, down back of the thigh. This continues to the outside of the lower leg and top of the foot, specifically around the big toe area.

L5 nerve distribution numbness and tingling in leg and foot

This is the first thing to rule out, especially if you either currently have back pain or have had back pain in the past.  Old back injuries can show up years later, so make sure you get your back checked out if you any numbness or tingling like described earlier.

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What Else Can Cause Numbness Or Tingling In The Leg Or Foot?

Your Sciatic Nerve

Another source of numbness and tingling in the leg and foot is your sciatic nerve where it exits your buttock.

This is less likely if the tingling is ONLY in the outside of your leg and the top of the foot.  However, if your numbness and tingling is in your entire foot, this might be a possibility.

Your Hip Muscles

Your hip muscles can cause this tingling sensation in the outside of your leg as well.  Pain is the more common symptom, but every now and then the muscles in your hip can cause numbness or tingling.

The picture below shows the referral pattern of the gluteus minimus muscle, which is similar to that of the S1 nerve root.

gluteus medius trigger points -tingling in the legs and feet

Your Fibular Nerve (a.k.a. Peroneal Nerve)

A branch of your sciatic nerve runs along the back of the outside of the knee and then splits into two branches.  One branch goes to the outside of the leg, the other branch goes to the top of the foot.

If you get numbness or tingling in the outside of the leg and top of the foot, the Fibular nerve is the second most likely problem besides a back problem.  The stretch in the video above can be used if the fibular nerve is causing the tingling in the leg and foot.

numbness and tingling in legs and feet

Use This Exercise To Relieve Tingling In The Leg & Foot Caused By Fibular Nerve Problems:

  1. Sit in a chair and cross one ankle over the opposite knee
  2. Pull up on the outside of lower leg bone (tibia) while pushing down on the inside of the thigh bone (femur).
  3. This translates the lower leg bones on the upper leg bones and can help stress from the fibular nerve.

Other Things To Keep In Mind

  1. You still might have a back problem, even if the fibular nerve is part of the problem.  It is possible to have both, especially when the tingling in the leg and foot has lasted a long time.
  2. Overpronation of your feet when walking and lack of ankle or calf flexibility can also be problems affecting the fibular nerve.  Proper calf stretching and Custom Orthotics can help.
  3. Diabetic Neuropathy (neuro = "nerve", pathy = "disease") can also cause tingling in the legs an feet. If you have diabetes, make sure your blood sugar is under control.  Diabetes basically makes the nervous system less healthy overall, and more vulnerable to other problems.  That being said, the tips in this post can still help diabetics to relieve numbness and tingling in the legs and feet, but proper blood sugar control is also needed.
  4. See a healthcare professional to get things checked out if you have tingling in your leg and foot, particularly if it has lasted a long time.  In some cases, even chronic tingling in the leg and foot can be helped with proper treatment!

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