Numbness and burning in your feet can result in sleepless nights, painful ambulation, foot sores, and in extreme cases, loss of a limb. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves, the nerves that supply sensation to the hands and feet. Peripheral neuropathy can also affect other areas of your body however this is less common. Damage to the peripheral nerves often causes weakness, tingling, numbness, stabbing and burning sensations in people suffering from neuropathy.
There are a number of conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy. Some of the more common include: Diabetes Mellitus, alcoholism, autoimmune diseases, vitamin deficiencies and medications. More than half the people with Diabetes Mellitus will develop peripheral neuropathy. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can manifest themselves in a number of ways. Most commonly the person will develop a gradual onset of numbness and tingling in their feet or hands, which may then spread upward into the legs and arms.
A visit to your doctor and subsequent early diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent serious complications. Your doctor will begin with a full medical history and neurological exam. Following the initial assessment, testing in the form of CT or MRI scans, nerve function tests, nerve and skin biopsy samples may be necessary.
Treatment goals are designed to manage the condition causing your neuropathy and to alleviate the painful symptoms. Medications used to treat neuropathy pain fall into several categories. To name a few, pain relievers, high potency B complex vitamins, anti-seizure and anti-depressant medications. Therapies that may ease the symptoms are TENS units, physical therapy and surgery.
There are an estimated 20 million people suffering from peripheral neuropathy. If you experience burning, tingling, numbness or stabbing pain in your feet be sure to call for an appointment at Foot and Ankle Associates of Florida. At Foot and Ankle Associates, we employ the latest diagnostic and treatment options. In my next blog I will focus on a simple yet highly accurate skin biopsy testing method for diagnosis.