What is paresthesia? Paresthesia is an abnormal condition in which you feel a sensation of burning, numbness, tingling, itching or prickling. Paresthesia can also be described as a pins-and-needles or skin-crawling sensation. Paresthesia most often occurs in the extremities, such as the hands, feet, fingers, and toes, but it can occur in other parts of the body. Temporary numbness or tingling that disappears quickly can occur from sitting with your legs crossed for a long time or sleeping on your arm in a bent position. Most people have felt this type of sensation. Chronic paresthesia or intermittent paresthesia over a long period of time is generally a sign of a neurological disease or traumatic nerve damage. Paresthesia usually arises from nerve damage due to infection, inflammation, trauma, or other abnormal process. Paresthesia is rarely due to life-threatening disorders, but it does occur as a result of stroke and tumors. Whereas paresthesia is a loss of sensation, paralysis usually involves both a loss of movement and the loss of sensations. Because paresthesia can be a symptom of a disease, disorder or condition, you should talk with your medical professional about any unusual sensations that last more than a few minutes. If you experience paresthetic sensations with loss of bladder or bowel control, paralysis, confusion, weakness in the extremities, or slurred speech, seek immediate medical attention (call 911) in an emergency facility.