Have you been experiencing tingling or numbness in your feet? Do you have a blister on your toe that doesn't seem to be healing? Do you feel pain even from non-painful sources like wearing socks? If so, you may be dealing with peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects as many as 20 million Americans. At the Ford Center for Foot Surgery in Sparks, NV, our podiatrists - Dr. Bruce Ford and Dr. Douglas Doxey - see patients with this condition every day. You can learn more about it here:
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Also called peripheral nerve damage or neuritis, peripheral neuropathy develops due to damage of the peripheral nervous system, the network of nerves that connect the entire body to the brain and spinal cord (which together make up the central nervous system). When someone has peripheral neuropathy, the signals from the brain are distorted or interrupted on their way to the rest of the body, most often the feet and hands. Your Sparks podiatrist finds that peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a number of different diseases or situations, including injuries, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders. Sometimes the condition is inherited or idiopathic (meaning no specific cause can be found).
What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
Since peripheral neuropathy can affect the entire body, its signs and symptoms are numerous and vary based on the cause. In terms of the feet and ankles, the areas treated by your podiatrist, peripheral neuropathy most often causes damage to pain receptors, giving the feeling that one is wearing socks while barefoot. This decreased sensation can lead to major infections if a wound goes unnoticed. Numbness, tingling or prickling sensation can also be present; some people experience an exaggerated feeling of pain to a normally harmless stimulus.
How can peripheral neuropathy be treated?
Your Sparks podiatrist usually begins treatment of peripheral neuropathy by addressing its cause. Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, which are often a factor in diabetes, may allow the nerves to heal and regenerate on their own. Medications to control pain and autoimmune responses may also prove successful. Establishing a good rapport with your podiatrist and following instructions is extremely helpful in managing peripheral neuropathy.
If you'd like to schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists at the Ford Center for Foot Surgery in Sparks, NV, please contact us. We'd be happy to help you get back on your feet!