What is Neuropathy in Feet?

Foot neuropathy is caused by damaged, diseased, or inflamed peripheral nerves of the foot. Numbness, pain, burning, sensory loss, muscle weakness, and slowed reflexes in the foot are all tell-tale signs of foot neuropathy. Although Diabetic Neuropathy is the most common cause of foot neuropathy, other diseases such as HIV, Lyme disease, Leprosy and alcoholism may also cause foot neuropathy. Depending on the cause, there are different treatments available. In many cases, if the disease is detected early enough, that is before nerve cells have been destroyed, full recovery from foot neuropathy is possible.


What Causes Foot Neuropathy?

About one-third of neuropathy cases are considered idiopathic, which means they are of unknown cause. Another one-third of neuropathies are due to diabetes. In fact, about half of people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy. The remaining cases of neuropathy, called acquired neuropathies, have several possible causes, including:

* Trauma or pressure on nerves.

* Nutritional problems and vitamin deficiencies.

* Alcoholism.

* Autoimmune diseases.

* Tumors.

* Other diseases and infections.

* Inherited disorders.

* Poison exposure.


Who Gets Foot Neuropathy?

Risk factors for foot neuropathy include several conditions and behaviors. People with diabetes are most likely to suffer from foot neuropathy. Autoimmune diseases may also increase one’s chance of developing a foot neuropathy. Furthermore, people who have received organ transplants, AIDS patients, and others who have had some type of immune system suppression have an increased risk. In addition, those who abuse alcohol or have vitamin deficiencies (especially B vitamins) are also at an increased risk.


What are the Symptoms of Foot Neuropathy?

Possible signs and symptoms of foot neuropathy include:

* Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or changes in temperature.

* A tingling or burning feeling.

* Sharp, jabbing pain that may be worse at night.

* Muscle weakness and difficulty walking.

* Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain.


How Can Foot Neuropathy Be Managed and Prevented?

There are several effective ways to manage foot neuropathy and prevent its symptoms. Good foot health and hygiene is important, especially for diabetics. Patients should always check feet for blisters, cuts, or calluses and avoid tight fitting shoes and socks. Doctors can recommend an individualized exercise program that will reduce foot neuropathy pain and control blood sugar levels.



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