Diabetic Neuropathy– Nerve Pain and Numbness
If you have diabetes, no matter what stage of the disease you are at, you should always be proactive about preventing and treating diabetic neuropathy in your feet.
Symptoms of this condition are varied depending on its progression, but can include one or more of the following:
- Tingling, burning, or “electric” sensations in your feet and lower legs.
- Numbness, up to the point of being unable to feel pain, pressure, or a change in temperature.
- Increased sensitivity to touch—sometimes to the point that that putting on socks or having a bedsheet rub against your foot is painful.
If you have symptoms such as these in your feet, it is critical that you receive professional treatment and support. And if you do not have these symptoms but do live with diabetes, it is equally important that you receive professional monitoring and preventative care to limit the progression of neuropathy over time.
We here at Community Foot Clinic of McPherson provide comprehensive care for patients at all stages of diabetic neuropathy, and would be happy to discuss a long-term plan with you. Do not hesitate to call us at (620) 241-3313 if you have any questions.
What is Diabetic Neuropathy, and Why is it Dangerous?
“Neuropathy” is a general medical term for nerve damage. It can develop in a number of different ways, including via injury or compression, but diabetes in particular is linked with gradually deteriorating nerve health over time.
Excessive levels of glucose in the blood start to damage the nervous system over time, as well as interfere with circulation. This is a double blow to the feet, which are already more of a challenge for blood to reach and supply than other parts of the body.
This situation can create a dangerous combination of problems:
- The ability to sense an injury becomes diminished as numbness increases.
- A lack of blood flow makes injuries that do develop take more time to heal, as the cells conducting repairs do not receive as strong a flow of the nutrients and growth factors they need to work.
- Interference in nerve signals also creates an interference in calling the immune system to needed areas.
All together, these impacts can cause even a small injury to the foot to become a major problem. If one goes unnoticed, it can deepen into an ulcer with a much higher chance of becoming infected.
This is why it is so critical to not only keep careful watch of your feet if you have diabetic neuropathy, but for all people with diabetes to take steps now to slow its progression—even if your feet currently feel fine.
How is Diabetic Neuropathy Treated?
At our clinic, we focus on podiatric methods with the primary goals of:
- Slowing the development of neuropathy.
- Managing pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
- Restoring functionality to the feet and ankles.
As with many conditions that form from diabetic influences, treating the diabetes itself is a crucial first step in addressing neuropathy. Maintaining consistent control of blood sugar will prevent more overall damage to the circulatory and nervous systems.
There are many minor changes you can make that will have a big overall impact on your diabetic neuropathy and overall comfort. Changes in diet, footwear, and exercise are all achievable and often very useful.
Relief from pain and discomfort can often be found through proper use of oral medications and/or topical creams, and engaging in certain types of exercise can also have a positive effect. We may also consider laser therapy to help relieve pain and decrease recovery periods for some injuries.
No two patients have the exact same circumstances, however. Whenever a patient with diabetic neuropathy concerns comes to see us, we fully discuss with them all of the factors surrounding their situation, and develop a plan of action that is not only effective, but achievable.