Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves caused by a condition such as diabetes. This condition affects the nerves that travel to the legs and feet and causes them to no longer function properly. Peripheral neuropathy is common among diabetics, and those with the condition have a loss or decreased sensation in their toes and feet and may have a reduced ability to fight off infection. While there is no cure, there are a variety of treatment options that can be used by the best Tarrant County podiatrists to help manage this condition.
Common Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. In addition, some other causes include:
- Medication side effects
- Autoimmune disease
- Neurological disorder
- Injury to the peripheral nerves
- Vitamin deficiency
Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms
Peripheral neuropathy can occur gradually and get worse over time with a range of different symptoms that can present from mild to severe. One of the first signs of a problem is a change in sensation of the feet or legs. Other common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:
- Shooting pain in the toes
- Sensitivity to touch
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of balance
- Joint pain
As the condition progresses, damage to the nerves can lead to other diabetes-related problems such as foot ulcers. These ulcers are extremely dangerous to diabetics because they’re slow to heal and they create a serious risk of infection. Some other problems that can occur due to peripheral neuropathy are:
Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy
If you are experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy or are diabetic, consult with a podiatrist for an evaluation. You podiatrist will diagnose peripheral neuropathy by:
- Physical exam. A physical exam will be done to check reflexes and the extent of feeling in your feet.
- Health history. Your medical history will be reviewed to help determine if you have a family history of neurological diseases.
- Blood sugar. Blood tests may be done to check your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels and diabetes are both indicators of peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Options
Treatment options for peripheral neuropathy are often based on the cause and severity of the condition. An important part of managing peripheral neuropathy is to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy, but treatment options with the best Tarrant County podiatrists are available that focus on stopping or delaying the progression of the condition, reducing pain, and improving the overall health of your feet.
Treatment options for peripheral neuropathy may include:
- Medication. Pain medication may be used to provide relief from symptoms. A combination of medications may be given to help with burning and tingling. Topical medication may also help with relieving pain.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy can be used to help regain balance and to increase blood flow to the feet.
- Orthotics. Orthotics can be worn inside the shoe to take pressure off certain areas of the feet to prevent ulcers and blisters from developing.
- Nerve stimulating therapy. Electric nerve stimulating therapy can be used to help with chronic pain from peripheral neuropathy. This technique uses an electric current to help reduce pain without the use of drugs.
Prevention of diabetic complications resulting from peripheral neuropathy is important. There are basic tips from the best Tarrant County podiatrists to consider that can help you avoid complications. These include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Increasing physical activity
- Controlling your blood sugar
- Wearing shoes that fit properly
- Performing daily checks of your feet
- Visiting a podiatrist for regular appointments
If peripheral neuropathy is left untreated or poorly managed, it can lead to serious complications such as:
- Diabetic Foot ulcers
- Slow healing wounds
- Damage to the nerves
Contact the Best Tarrant County Podiatrists
If you have diabetes and are experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, contact the best Tarrant County podiatrists at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for help. To request an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call us today.