Skip to Content

Why is My Leg Numb from the Knee Down: Potential Causes


There may be a very straightforward answer for why you’re experiencing numbness in the legs.

Often it’s down to sitting in the same position for too long and the muscles in the legs losing sensation.

Saying that – there may be an underlying medical condition that needs investigating if you experience unexplained numbness, particularly if you encounter that numb feeling more than once or twice.

Let’s look into possible answers to the question: Why is my leg numb from the knee down?

Why is my leg numb from the knee down?

The first thing to explore is how often your leg/s feel numb.

If it’s just a one-off episode and you were sitting for too long – this was probably the cause.

Blood flow becomes sluggish when we’re sitting and not moving our legs. If your legs are crossed for a while, the blood supply can become compromised, which causes the legs to feel numb.

Therefore, if you work at a desk or sit for hours at a time – you need to switch positions and, ideally, get up and walk about at least every 30 minutes. Go on a toilet break as often as you can!

This is good standard practice and is the same advice as when you’re flying long haul to prevent deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the veins of the leg). Mobility is critical to keeping the body healthy.

Most common causes

Try not to be too concerned if you experience leg numbness. I want to reassure you that there are many treatment options and examinations that can be done to get to the bottom of why the numbness is happening (and to resolve it completely).

First off, – establish what other symptoms you experience alongside the numbness (if applicable). If the numbness is unexplained, it should be seen by a medical doctor and assessed to allow the appropriate treatment to be prescribed.


Nerve damage

Often an injury that causes damage to leg nerves can cause numbness. An injury to the leg or soft tissue damage can all cause numbness years after the accident or incident occurred. There may also be associated muscle weakness with this – as well as instability when standing or walking.

Injuries can range from mild to severe and still cause numbness in many body parts.

Leg pain is the most common symptom of injury, but you can also experience muscle spasms or a tingling sensation along with any numbing sensation.

The lower limbs are particularly at risk of something called peripheral neuropathy in cases where nerve damage reduces muscle contraction ability.

Muscle wastage may occur, meaning the signals from the brain to the nerves are not being conducted adequately – thereby increasing the sensation of numbness.

More serious conditions affecting the central nervous system that contribute to leg numbness include spinal cord injury, spinal stenosis, and a herniated disk, amongst others. Every one of these conditions/injuries requires immediate medical attention without delay.

Diabetic neuropathy

The lower leg may be affected by diabetes due to its impact on the circulatory system, with excess fat and plaque building up inside of blood vessels. Peripheral artery disease is a significant side effect of long-time diabetes, with associated lifestyle factors being a contributor, such as poor diet and lack of physical exercise.

Low back conditions

The lumbar spine is a complex system that causes suffering to a lot of people. ‘Sciatica pain’ is a generic term used to describe pain in the lower back, which shoots down the side of the body and the leg; this, too, can cause numbness and tingling on the affected side.

Nerve pain from a pinched nerve in the back causes severe discomfort and affects even the healthiest people. Simply tying your shoe laces and standing awkwardly can pinch a nerve – and you’ll know about it if it happens!

When the pain of a pinched nerve is felt, it’s common to have that tingling feeling and some numbness.


Physical examination

The first step in diagnosing any cause of numbness in the lower leg is to see your medical healthcare provider, who can organize specific examinations to investigate the cause. Once the cause is identified, a treatment plan can be put in place, and you’ll be on the path to recovery.

Long-term numbness may be something to factor in if there’s permanent nerve damage – such as in the case of spinal cord injuries. It’s important to understand that chronic numbness can be managed effectively with fundamental lifestyle changes, and quality of life doesn’t need to be affected.

Supportive Devices and Treatment

Support in the case of leg numbness is available. There are various options out there.

Physical therapy works wonders to alleviate discomfort and boost the morale of the patient in question. The right physical therapist can be found through your health care provider if needed.

Of course, it’s always recommended to take the medical advice and treatment plan prescribed, as leg numbness may contribute to permanent damage if the cause is not diagnosed promptly.