Foot Neuropathy is a condition which takes place when nerve damage (usually the result of a complications from Diabetes) occurs and affects the nerves of the foot (or feet) causing damage, disease, or inflammation as well as other symptoms that the patient must then deal with. The complications that occur from Diabetes take place when glucose levels rise and stay at high levels for too long and thus cause the nerve damage (formally referred to as neuropathy). Foot Neuropathy occurs in as much as 60% of Diabetic individuals in the United States.
The symptoms of foot neuropathy include pain, burning, tingling, muscle weakness, and loss of sensations in regards to cold, heat, and touch. Foot neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, exposure to toxins, and most often from complications of Diabetes. It is extremely important that the symptoms of foot neuropathy be dealt with in an efficient and immediate matter so that further nerve damage does not cause other problems or symptoms of foot neuropathy. Often times the symptoms of foot neuropathy can be improved with proper treatment, especially when the symptoms are caused from complication of Diabetes.
Showing Symptoms from Foot Neuropathy
When foot neuropathy (nerve damage) occurs the patient will know it because of the symptoms that are presented. These symptoms can include the following:
- A gradual onset of tingling and/or numbness in the foot/feet
- Burning sensations
- Sharp, electric-like, or jabbing pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Lack of balance and/or coordination
- Muscle Weakness
When any of these symptoms are noticed by a patient, no matter how little, they should be immediately addressed, especially if the patient suffers from Diabetes. These symptoms show that nerve damage is beginning to take place and will lead to foot neuropathy, however if treated in a timely manner symptom improvement can occur and the problems can be reduced.
When it comes to the treatment options for foot neuropathy first a person who suffers from Diabetes must begin with a daily foot care plan that is carefully followed. Foot care evaluations should occur daily and include the checking of wounds, sores, cutes, or blisters. Also important on the foot care regimen for foot neuropathy sufferers is that the feet be kept clean and dry and that the avoidance of wearing tight socks or shoes should be practiced. Besides practicing daily foot care there are a few lifestyle changes that can be made in regards to diet, exercise, and especially the cessation of smoking. Diet and exercise as well as smoking cessation are important for overall quality of health, but they also help to improve circulation and oxygen flow within the body (including the feet) which is important for decreasing the symptoms of foot neuropathy.
Other than the constant and daily foot care and a few lifestyle changes, the options for treatment can include therapies, traditional medical treatment, as well as the use of supplements.
- Therapies – there are many different forms of therapies which have been proven successful and beneficial as treatment for foot neuropathy. Some of these forms of therapy include Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (also called TENS), Massage therapies including physical or occupational, as well as Nerve Block Injections, Spinal Cord Stimulation (also called SCS), as well as biofeedback or acupuncture. Each of these therapies are excellent options which can provide symptom relief from those suffering from foot neuropathy.
- Medicinal Treatment – the traditional form of medicinal treatment for foot neuropathy includes the use of prescription medications as well as over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Aleve, Advil, or Motrin. The over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can help to alleviate some of the symptoms if they happen to be mild, however, the moderate to severe symptoms of foot neuropathy will not usually find relief with the use of over the counter medications. Other medicinal treatment options include prescription medications such as Antidepressants (examples would be Aventyl or Pamelor), Anti-seizure medications (examples would be Gabapentin or Carbamazepine) or the use of either numbing cream patches and/or Capsaicin Creams.
- Supplemental Treatment – a form of foot neuropathy treatment which can provide symptom relief without any of the negative side effects that some of the over the counter or prescription medications can cause is the use of supplements. Some of the most commonly used supplements for foot neuropathy treatment include the use of Benfotiamine, Methylcobalamine, as well as Alpha Lipoic Acid.
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