Dealing with Neuropathy
Neuropathy is another word for nerve damage. The type of neuropathy that most affects your feet is peripheral neuropathy—meaning the damage is to the peripheral nerves, those in your toes and feet. Neuropathy can be experienced as mildly annoying to majorly disabling. At NY Foot Health, we want to help patients identify and manage this common foot problem.
Tracking Down the Cause
Neuropathy can have several different sources. The most common cause is diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Associate, 60 to 70 percent of patients with this disease will develop neuropathy at some point. Other possible causes include:
Certain medications, including some chemotherapy drugs
Neurological disorders, like spina bifida and fibromyalgia
No matter what the cause, the symptoms are the same:
Shooting or stabbing pain
This can also lead to changes in gait and decreased balance which may result in a fall. Neuropathy may be the first sign of a systemic disease. For these reasons, it’s important that you report any unusual sensations in your feet to your podiatrist promptly. Don’t have a podiatrist? Check our online directory to find a qualified foot doctor in your area.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for neuropathy. However, the foot doctor can help slow the progression of neuropathy and also show you ways to minimize pain and discomfort. Properly fitted footwear is essential for patients with neuropathy. It’s also necessary that you avoid walking barefoot as injury and infection may not be readily detected when they occur due to loss of sensation in your feet. If your neuropathy is caused by another medical condition or disease, managing that disease appropriately will also help reduce the effects of neuropathy in your feet.
One way patients with neuropathy can help protect the health of their feet is by inspecting them daily and looking for changes in skin color, rashes, bruises, swelling, growths, redness or other indicators of a developing problem. To learn more about neuropathy and other conditions that can impact your podiatric health, contact us.