When peripheral neuropathy hits your feet, you may experience extreme pain, loss of sensation, or points anywhere between these extremes. High blood sugar associated with diabetes is one of the most common causes, and it is often numbness that creates issues since you can damage your feet without noticing. That condition requires regular foot inspection so that complications don’t develop.
Pain from peripheral neuropathy is often more problematic since sensations can be severe, ranging from sharp and stabbing to throbbing aches or itching and burning. Your feet may be sensitive to touch so that even the weight of a sheet is uncomfortable. You may experience pain at times when you shouldn’t. When peripheral neuropathy pain interferes with your daily activities, it’s time to seek management techniques to ease your discomfort.
Vulnerable nerves: the causes of peripheral neuropathy
Other diseases and disorders besides diabetes can affect the normal transmission of sensations from your feet to your brain. Some autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can damage nerves or their protective sheaths, causing local “misfiring” of neurons. Infections can cause similar damage, and nerve blockages due to injury or tumors may also result in neuropathy.
Easing the pain: treating peripheral neuropathy
The causes behind your nerve damage may suggest the best treatment options to ease neuropathy pain and in some cases halt its progression. Here are 5 potential solutions that may work for you.
Blood sugar control
If diabetes is behind your peripheral neuropathy, control of blood sugar levels prevents further nerve damage that could make your pain worse. High levels of glucose in your bloodstream cause damage to nerves and blood vessels, so reducing levels, through lifestyle changes, medication, or supplementary insulin halts the damage.
Over-the-counter analgesics may work if your neuropathy pain is mild or occasional. Prescription pain relievers are generally last-resort solutions since peripheral neuropathy is a long-term condition. Some medications not typically used for pain relief, including antidepressants and anti-seizure medications may be prescribed, even if you don’t have these other conditions. Topical creams with capsaicin, the chemical behind spicy peppers, can scramble the pain sensations sent to the brain in some patients.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy can serve as a “reprogramming” tool for the nerves of your feet. Mild electrical impulses travel between electrodes, changing the nature of the signals sent between feet and brain.
When peripheral neuropathy affects motor nerves as well as sensory nerves, you may experience weakness and pain. Physical therapy can help regain strength, improve blood flow, and may reduce inflammation that causes nerve irritation that contributes to pain.
When peripheral neuropathy pain originates from pressure on nerves, surgical solutions may be available to relieve the pressure. Much depends on the location of the nerve pressure and how well it can be identified.
Given the multitude of reasons behind peripheral neuropathy pain, choosing Jersey Foot & Ankle Institute for your diagnosis and treatment makes sense. Dr. Ankur Dharia is certified both as a podiatrist and a foot and ankle surgeon, capable of providing effective solutions to relieve your foot pain. Contact the office by phone or using the online booking tool to schedule your consultation today.