The nerves are important tools for transmitting information between the body and brain. They help us sense the world around us so we can act accordingly when needed. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can throw a big wrench into this communications network, like having a really bad phone line drowning in static. The feet, given how they’re constantly in contact with the environment around us, can particularly suffer from this condition, and that can have serious consequences.
What Causes Neuropathy?
Nerve damage can come from a variety of sources, but among the most common and widespread is diabetes. This is believed to be due to high blood sugar interfering with and degrading sensitive nerve fibers. Diabetes also tends to restrict circulation, which can contribute to the destruction of nerves as they fail to receive proper amounts of oxygen and nutrients in the blood.
Other, less common causes of neuropathy in the feet can include infections, exposure to toxins, trauma, or genetic conditions.
What Does Neuropathy Feel Like?
Symptoms of nerve damage can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Milder cases may feel more of an occasional tingling—more often at night—that is annoying but not actually painful. This tingling might begin to be accompanied by burning or shooting pains in the feet, and even some numbness in the toes.
Pain tends to decrease as the condition progresses, but is replaced more and more with numbness. This is quite serious, as not only can a loss of sensation in the feet cause problems with balance, it can prevent the detection of wounds and sores on the feet. Left unchecked, minor cuts and irritations can turn into large, open wounds, which can then become infected enough to possibly require amputation of the foot.
The best time to begin addressing nerve damage, of course, is earlier on when it can still be felt. The sooner neuropathy is identified and addressed, the better the chances of slowing or stopping its progression and preventing its more dangerous effects.
There are several means of providing treatment for nerve pain and deterioration. Here at California Foot and Ankle Institute, MicroVAS neurovascular treatment has seen success in many patients. This form of therapy works by sending powerful ionic waves through the limb or body, causing deep-layered contractions of muscles. This aids in increasing circulation and oxygen to needed areas, accelerating healing, elevating metabolism, and increasing lymphatic drainage to reduce pain and swelling. These results remain elevated for a sustained amount of time following treatment, as well.
Additional forms of treatment include the use of nutritional supplements such as Metanx and MOXXOR. These can help provide the nutritional requirements that help maintain healthy blood flow and increase production of the myelin sheath, the substance that insulates and protects nerves.
In some cases, more conservative forms of treatment will not prove effective enough. It is then when surgery might fall under consideration. Decompression surgery can be performed on nerves on an outpatient basis. Decompression can help relieve nerves affected by a variety of conditions including diabetes, injuries, or entrapment, patients are permitted to walk immediately after the procedure.
Don’t Lose Hope: You Can Reclaim Your Feet
Regardless of how far one’s neuropathy has progressed, it is still worth finding treatment to relieve discomfort and keep things from becoming worse. If tingling and pain are plaguing your feet, it is essential to not ignore it; come and see us! New patients receive a free consultation, and we want you to take advantage of it. Schedule an appointment by phoning our office in Victorville at (760) 951-2000 or our office in Irvine at (949) 833-3406. You can also reach us toll-free at (888) 796-6631.