About This Condition
What Is It?
Peripheral Neuropathy is a disease that affects the nerves in the feet. Over time, it can prevent the nerves from working properly and even lead to permanent loss of nerve function. Due to this lack of nerve function, sensation changes and numbness can lead to further injury; notably, bone and joint damage.
Common symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy include:
- Numbness in the feet
- Pain or burning
- Tingling (ie. pins and needles)
- Feeling like you are wearing an invisible sock
Peripheral Neuropathy can be caused by several problems, including:
- Vitamin Deficiencies
- Blood Vessel Disesase
- Certain Infections
Diabetes is the most common cause of Peripheral Neuropathy since it makes injuries more difficult to heal from. Seemingly minor foot problems can quickly turn into serious infections that lead to hospitalization. The Foot and Ankle Wellness Centre encourages those with diabetes to monitor foot health through daily inspections.
Evaluating Your Feet
It is recommended to visit the Foot and Ankle Wellness Centre for an evaluation. This evaluation will include questions about your health as well as a foot examination. In some cases, diagnostic tests may be recommended.
During your evaluation, Dr. Chaudhry will inquire about your health and past foot problems. For example, if you have diabetes, you will discuss your blood sugar numbers. In addition, the Foot and Ankle Wellness Centre will gather information about the prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal remedies that are being taken.
Dr. Chaudhry will review the degree that your nerves sense vibrations, pressures, and temperatures. Simple tools will be used on your feet to analyze these characteristics. For example, a filament test may be used to check your sensitivity to light touch.
Diagnostic tests can provide the Foot and Ankle Wellness Centre with more information about the nerves in your feet. These include:
- Nerve studies
- Vascular tests to check blood flow
- Imaging tests, like x-rays or MRIs
- Skin biopsies to review nerve fibers
The Foot and Ankle Wellness Centre will evaluate your condition and discuss treatment options with you. This can vary from changing your diet and exercise habits to implementing medications and physical therapy. A crucial part of treatment is understanding how to protect your feet, so be sure to refer to Dr. Chaudhry at the Foot and Ankle Wellness Centre for more information.
Nerve problems caused by poor nutrition can be improved by eating foods that are high in vitamin B. Vitamin supplements may be recommended to attain certain nutrition goals. If you are someone with diabetes, it is essential to regularly measure your blood sugar and follow your assigned meal plan. In any case, Dr. Chaudhry may provide insight on what diet is best for you.
Daily exercise improves blood flow, increases strength, and encourages flexibility in your feet. Some of the best exercises are gentle, such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle. Discuss with Dr. Chaudhry before beginning an exercise program. Be sure to mention if certain exercises cause you pain, redness, or other foot problems.
Dr. Chaudhry may recommend alternative treatments for your Peripheral Neuropathy, including ointments and medications to reduce pain and inflammation. Nerve function and pain can also be managed by physical therapy, massage, and electrical nerve stimulation.