Are you experiencing tingling, burning or numbness in your feet or toes? If so, you may have neuropathy, a condition that we at First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinic find that many patients are unfamiliar with until they have it. Below are some true/false statements to see how much you know.
Neuropathy may feel a little uncomfortable but it’s not really anything to worry about.
FALSE: Neuropathy or nerve damage can be incredibly painful, making it difficult to be on your feet for any length of time. If you have decreased sensation in your feet, you are not able to detect injury, infections, and changes in temperature readily and this may result in a serious medical problem. Lack of sensation can also lead to balance issues which can cause you to fall.
The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes.
TRUE: It’s estimated that 60 to 70 percent of patients with diabetes will also develop neuropathy. But this is not the only potential source of neuropathy. Heredity, old age, arthritis and certain medications, as well as neurological disorders and injuries, can all cause neuropathy.
There is no known cure for neuropathy.
TRUE: However, neuropathy needs to be evaluated and treated by our podiatrists Dr. Vimal A. Reddy and Dr. Jeffrey Brimmer. The earlier the treatment begins, the better. The foot doctor’s treatment goals will be to reduce pain and slow the progression of the disease. Patients with neuropathy should have a podiatric checkup at least once a year.
Home care isn’t necessary for neuropathy.
FALSE: Self-care by patients with neuropathy plays a big role in preventing foot injury and problems. It’s important that regular inspections become part of your foot care regimen. Loss of sensation may mean you could step on a sharp object or injure your foot in another way and not realize it. Wearing shoes that fit properly, have roomy toe boxes and are made of soft, flexible materials can improve comfort. Managing diabetes or other conditions that are the root cause of your neuropathy is one of the best ways to manage your neuropathy.