What is Peripheral Neuropathy (Foot Neuropathy)?

foot neuropathyFoot 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.

Pain from peripheral neuropathy is often described as a tingling or burning sensation. There is no specific length of time that the pain exists, but symptoms often improve with time – especially if the neuropathy has an underlying condition that can be cured. The condition is often associated with poor nutrition, a number of diseases, and pressure or trauma, but many cases have no known reason. This is called idiopathic neuropathy.

Who Gets Peripheral Neuropathy?

Risk factors for peripheral neuropathy include several conditions and behaviors. People with diabetes who do not control their blood sugar levels are very likely to suffer from some type of neuropathy. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis may also increase one’s chance of developing a neuropathy. Furthermore, people who have received organ transplants,  AIDS patients, and others who have had some type of immune system suppression have a higher risk of neuropathy. In addition, those who abuse alcohol or have vitamin deficiencies (especially B vitamins) are at an increased risk. Neuropathy is also more likely to occur in people with kidney, liver or thyroid disorders.

What are the Symptoms of Neuropathy?

Usually, your feet and legs are often affected first, followed by your hands and arms. Possible signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Numbness or reduced ability to      feel pain or changes in temperature, especially in your feet and toes.
  • 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.

 

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