We all have nerve endings (a p of the peripheral nervous system) that lead from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) that send signals to and from your feet. When these nerves are severed from degeneration, vital messages sent to and from your feet can be disrupted.
Impairment to peripheral nerves that lead to the feet can cause those who suffer from neuropathy in their feet to sustain pins and needles and burning sensations in their feet. These sensations can become very painful and unbearable. Having diabetes disease makes people more susceptible to complications with peripheral neuropathy. In other circumstances, the peripheral neuropathy is coupled with outside factors, such as toxic substances, that are responsible for reducing oxygen levels in your body.
How to Prevent Neuropathy in Your Feet
The smartest way to prevent neruopathy in your feet is to be cognizant of the potential causes (diabetes, toxins, medications) and do your best to avoid these situations. However, this is not always possible, but even if you already have diabetes or have been exposed to hazardous toxins, you can still help reduce the amount of damage you incur by keeping a close eye on your feet and by reporting any critical symptoms (like burning, tingling, or numbness) to your podiatrist.
Living with Neuropathy in Your Feet
Your podiatrist can prescribe medicine and other kinds of treatments for neuropathy in your feet.You will need to stop smoking and get rid of any other sources that will exhaust your body of it's oxygen supply. Regularly schedule your podiatrist's appointments to evaluate your blood sugar levels and oxygen levels through blood tests.
Medication is used to treat some cases of neuropathy in feet.
The weather and change of seasons can cause more problems for those who are suffering from neuropathy in the feet. When the nerves to the feet are damaged, the feet may not feel hot and cold sensations. Lots of people have suffered frostbite or burns because their feet are unable to recognize cold or heat.
Signs and Symptoms of Neuropathy
While every person's experience with peripheral neuropathy can be as unique as the inpidual himself or herself, there are some common neuropathy signs and symptoms shared by most inpiduals. The symptoms of diabetic or peripheral neuropathy start in the toes and feet (right and left). In some patients the symptoms gradually rise up the calves and into the knees. This is called a stocking pattern. Then, in some the symptoms may also begin in the fingers and hands — causing a stocking and glove pattern. It cannot be predicted how any one's symptoms will spread. In some patients, the pain does not spread beyond the toes or feet and there is no progression; in others, the progression to calves and hands occurs in months, rapidly; and yet in others the spread is very gradual, over many years. There are three categories of nerves and up to five specific peripheral nerves that may be affected, and symptoms depend on these nerves and their location:
Patients who develop pain with peripheral neuropathy describe the pain using a variety of words, including “burning,” “throbbing,” “deep ache”, “raw skin,” “skin sensitivity,” “tingling”, “sharp,” “electric-like,” “pins and needles,” “freezing cold,” “like walking on ground glass,” “itchy,” and others. Some patients say they don't have pain but have unpleasant and irritating sensations (Allodynia), which may include “itching”, “buzzing,” “like bugs crawling,” “like leather or sand paper”, “hard ball on bottom of feet”, and “aching. Some people feel like they have socks on, even though they are barefoot. Over time, this feeling can spread to the legs and hands.
Patients may find it harder and harder to walk. Their legs feel heavy and they may have to drag them selves up the stairs. Some patients have constant pains, day and night, whereas others only have noticeable pain at bedtime. Often, patients may complain that the pain interferes with their sleep and they may develop Restless Leg Syndrome and or Insomnia (difficulty sleeping). As with all chronic pain, patients with painful peripheral neuropathy may also develop depression. Patients with advanced neuropathy may also have trouble with their sense of positioning; and therefore, have difficulty with their gait or balance.
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Banner: Peripheral Neuropathy
Title: Innovative Treatments for Diabetic and Other Forms of Neuropathy
By Cortese Foot and Ankle Clinic
We are lucky to be living at a time when new treatments for medical conditions are being introduced at a rapid pace. Many medical problems that had few solutions several years ago can now be treated with excellent results. Such is the case with peripheral neuropathy.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a result of damage to the peripheral nervous system — the vast communications network that transmits information between the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. Neuropathy means nerve disease or damage. There are close to 300 causes of neuropathy and approximately 21 million Americans are affected by this condition.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms can range from numbness or tingling, to sharp electrical-like pain, to muscle weakness and balance problems. Areas of the body may become abnormally sensitive to touch, leading to an intense experience of pain in response to a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain. For example, some may experience pain from bed sheets draped lightly over the body. In diabetic neuropathy, the first nerve fibers to malfunction are the ones that travel the furthest from the brain and the spinal cord. Pain and numbness are first felt in the feet followed by a gradual progression up both legs. Later, the fingers, hands, and arms may become affected.
Symptoms may be experienced over a period of days, weeks, or years; may appear suddenly, progress rapidly, and resolve slowly as damaged nerves heal; or they may begin subtly and progress slowly. Some people may have periods of relief followed by relapse. Others may reach a plateau stage where symptoms stay the same for many months or years.
Most often, a doctor is able to diagnose peripheral neuropathy solely on a patient’s description of symptoms, and a simple neurological examination. But many people with the condition may not even have any symptoms of neuropathy: in this case, a doctor may order special nerve tests to assess the functioning of the small and large nerve fibers. These tests help determine whether you have neuropathy, the specific nerves involved, and the severity of your symptoms.
The first step in treating peripheral neuropathy is to address any contributing causes such as infection, toxin exposure, medication-related toxicity, vitamin deficiencies, hormonal deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, or compression that can lead to neuropathy. Peripheral nerves have the ability to regenerate axons, as long as the nerve cell itself has not died. Correcting an underlying condition often can result in the neuropathy resolving on its own as the nerves recover or regenerate.
The adoption of healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, exercising, eating a balanced diet, correcting vitamin deficiencies, and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption can reduce the effects of peripheral neuropathy. Self-care skills such as meticulous foot care and careful wound treatment in people with diabetes is important. Strict control of blood glucose levels has been shown to reduce neuropathic symptoms and help people with diabetic neuropathy avoid further nerve damage.
Two new FDA approved procedures, Combination Electroanalgesia Therapy (CET), have shown great promise as an effective treatment solution for diabetic and other forms of neuropathy. The procedures used in the CET protocol are an ankle block, performed with local medication, and Electronic Signal Treatment (EST), as delivered by a unique sophisticated electromedical wave generator, specifically invented for neuropathy and several types of neuro-muscular pain. CET is showing tremendous results in the immediate treatment of neuropathy symptoms and has positive overall long-term benefits, without regression of neuropathy symptoms.
Neuropathic pain is a common, often difficult to control symptom of sensory nerve damage and can negatively affect overall quality of life. If you are experiencing any symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, see a physician right away. They will diagnose and treat you with the least invasive, most effective therapy available with the goal being to successfully manage both short-term and long-term pain.
For more information on CET treatment for peripheral neuropathy, or any foot problems, contact Cortese Foot & Ankle Clinic at 309-452-3000 or visit them online at www.Cortesefootandankle.com. They are located at 1607 Visa Dr., Suite 5B in Normal.