Foot neuropathy is caused by damaged, diseased, or inflamed peripheral nerves of the foot or feet. 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 can cause this condition such as:
- Lyme disease.
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 given some time – especially if the neuropathy has an underlying medical condition that has the ability to be cured. The condition is often associated with poor nutrition, a number of diseases, and pressure or trauma, but many cases have no real known cause. If this is the case, it is called idiopathic neuropathy.
How is Peripheral Neuropathy Treated?
There are a variety of treatments available for peripheral neuropathy. Depending upon 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.
Treatment ranges from traditional pills and creams to special diets and therapies that stimulate the nervous system. Antidepressants, especially tricyclics and selective serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors, are used to relieve neuropathic pain in non-depressed persons.
Another class of medicines commonly prescribed for neuropathy is that of anticonvulsants. These medicines help block or limit pain. Additionally, opioid narcotic treatments for neuropathy are used as well to treat the condition, but have the risk of dependency. However, opioids have been the most consistently effective in reducing pain.
Alternative therapies for peripheral neuropathy include cannabinoids (an class of chemicals found in marijuana), Botulinum Toxin Type A, NMDA antagonists, dietary supplements, chiropractic massages, yoga, meditation, cognitive therapy, and acupuncture.
A final class of therapies for neuropathy is called neuromodulators. These include both implantable and non-implantable technologies (electrical and chemical) such as spinal cord stimulators, implanted spinal pumps, electrodes that stimulate the motor cortex of the brain, and methods called deep brain stimulation.
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