Neuropathy: Foot Burning and Numbness
Numbness is an interesting sensation. The human body is designed to feel many things—pressure, pain, pinches, pokes, light brushes, strokes, and any other sensation you can imagine. Sense affects both the inside and outside of your body. When your ability to feel is dulled or taken away entirely, your risk for injuries that develop complications sharply increases. This is the problem with neuropathy in your feet.
Defining the Issue
Neuropathy in general means nerve damage. It is technically anything that injures or impairs your nerves. In the feet, this condition is also known as peripheral neuropathy, since the problem involves nerves outside of your central nervous system. The insensitivity it causes makes it more likely you’ll develop a foot injury you can’t feel and allow to go untreated—putting you at risk for serious complications, like infections or even foot ulcers.
The problem doesn’t just cause a general decrease in your ability to feel, however. You can develop muscle weakness and limb instability. Your nerves can also misfire painfully. You may notice shooting, stabbing, or burning pain in your feet and ankles. Your feet might become extremely sensitive to touch.
The Effects of Nerve Damage
Since peripheral neuropathy is a general condition, several different foot and ankle issues could be behind it. One of the most common causes of this kind of nerve damage in the lower limbs is diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels damage your nervous tissue over time and both impair your ability to feel as well as cause painful misfires.
This isn’t the only cause, however. Autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can impair nerves. Some medications, particularly chemotherapy, can lead to peripheral neuropathy. Some infections affect the nervous system and may contribute to impaired or misfiring nerves. Trauma or pressure directly to an individual or group of nerves can be very painful and sharply limit your ability to feel. Extreme alcoholism or vitamin deficiencies could also lead to the condition given enough time.
Managing Your Neuropathy
Nerve damage, once it really sets in, isn’t reversible. The key to dealing with the discomfort and preventing permanent problems, then, is getting prompt treatment and doing what you can to keep the condition from worsening. Sanjay Gandhi, DPM, will carefully examine your lower limbs and check for what could be causing your neuropathy. Once the problem has been diagnosed, our expert staff can help you begin treating it.
The exact cause of your nerve damage will affect how your condition is treated—particularly if the problem is connected to diabetes. For diabetes, your most important remedy is to keep your blood sugars under control. Other treatments are more general. Make sure you wear comfortable, supportive shoes that do not squeeze your feet in any way. You might need orthotics to help correct biomechanical issues, especially if they contributed to the nerve pain.
Avoid alcohol, since it can exacerbate nerve problems. Consume plenty of fruits and veggies, too, to make sure your nervous tissue has all the vitamins it needs. Exercise regularly and safely. This helps improve blood flow to your lower limbs, which may alleviate some pain. Make sure you check your feet for changes or injuries daily, too. The numbness and misfiring nerves may not register an issue that needs treatment.
Peripheral neuropathy has a dramatic effect on your lower limb health, but you can manage it. Don’t let it get out of control and risk serious complications, like foot ulcers, as a result. If you’re concerned about numb or burning feet, contact A Step Up Podiatry, LLC in Manalapan Township, NJ, by calling (732) 446-7136. We’ll help you take control of your foot health.