Your nerves are more important than you probably even realize.
They carry sensations to your brain so that, in turn, your brain can send commands back to your organs and muscles. Without them you wouldn’t be able to experience basic things like the softness of a puppy’s fur or the sun’s warmth on a pleasant spring or summer day.
Indeed, everything you do and feel depends on the healthy functioning of this vital system.
And, unfortunately, your nerves are extremely delicate – everything from disease to poor diet can negatively affect them, especially the peripheral nerves found in your feet. What’s more, if left untreated, nerve damage can become permanent.
But whenever part of this critical structure has been damaged (what is known as peripheral neuropathy), our foot and ankle experts at Kalamazoo Podiatry can successfully diagnose the problem and provide an effective treatment plan to help manage – if not altogether eradicate – this dangerous condition.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
In short, peripheral neuropathy is a condition where damaged peripheral nerves are no longer able to do their job as intended – and that can cause either pain or lack of feeling (numbness).
Symptoms often vary depending on the location, severity and the type of nerves that are being affected. Some of the most common signs of peripheral neuropathy are:
- Burning or tingling sensations
- Cramping or muscle tightness
- Nerve pain
Numbness is, in fact, the most concerning of all peripheral neuropathy symptoms – though you may be happy to be rid of pain, lacking sensation in your feet means that you are much more likely to develop serious wounds and injuries. After all, if you can’t feel your feet, then how are you supposed to keep them safe from threatening objects and environments?
What’s worse – these wounds can then easily lead to dangerous situations, like gangrene, ulcers and even amputation. This is especially true if you live with diabetes (something that is closely associated with this nerve condition).
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are many factors that can cause peripheral neuropathy. We already mentioned the strong correlation between this condition and diabetes – heightened blood sugar levels and nerve swelling can easily result in damage to the nerves.
However, there are some other causes to take into consideration:
- Kidney problems
- Vitamin deficiency
- Exposure to toxins and heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, etc.)
- Infectious and inflammatory diseases (like HIV or Guillain-Barré Syndrome)
Sometimes, the root cause of nerve damage is unknown, and these are categorized as idiopathic.
Treating and Preventing Peripheral Neuropathy
The key for successful treatment is addressing the condition at its early stages. If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms in a foot or ankle, make sure you schedule a visit to our Kalamazoo office immediately – we will evaluate your situation so that we can determine an accurate diagnosis and provide the most beneficial methods of treatment available for your specific case.
On top of medical treatments, we will also recommend that you make some improvements to your lifestyle, such as:
- Getting regular exercise
- Examining your feet for injuries every day
- Always wearing proper shoes for your activities
- Changing your diet and keeping your glucose under control
- Getting regular checkups with your podiatrist – especially, if you have diabetes
These easy methods can make the difference between living a healthy life and losing a limb.
So, if you start feeling sensations of tingling, pins-and-needles, burning, general pain, or lack of feeling in your feet, please contact us right away and let us help you avoid more serious complications.
Let Us Help You Today!
When you address peripheral neuropathy during its early stages, the damage may be completely reversed through both modifications in your lifestyle and medical treatment – changing some daily habits and getting the proper care you need can help you recover most of your nerve function or, at the very least, avoid any serious complications.
Contact our Kalamazoo Podiatry office if you need any additional information, or if you would like to schedule an appointment by calling (269) 373-1019. You can also request your consultation with us online via our handy request form.