Neuropathy Foot Pain Relief in St. Louis
Neuropathy, often known as peripheral neuropathy, is a condition that affects the peripheral nerve system. Outside your brain and spinal cord, your peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves.
When peripheral nerve cells, known as neurons, are injured or killed, neuropathy develops. The way neurons interact with each other and with the brain is disrupted and, as a result of this, sufferers experience pain in their hands, feet, and often other parts of the body.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a condition in which one or more nerves are damaged or dysfunctional, causing numbness, tingling, muscular weakness, and pain in the afflicted region. As mentioned, neuropathies often begin in the hands and feet, but they may also affect other areas of the body.
The central nervous system (CNS) receives sensory information from peripheral nerves, such as a message that the feet are chilly. Signals from the CNS are also sent to the rest of the body via them.
The signals that instruct muscles to contract, which is how we move, are the most well-known, but there are other sorts of signals that help govern everything from our heart and blood arteries, digestion, urine, and sexual function, to our bones and immune system.
In neuropathy, nerve signaling is interrupted in three ways:
1. Signals that are routinely transmitted are lost (like a cut wire)
2. When there should be none, there is incorrect signaling (like static on a radio channel)
3. Errors that cause the signals to be distorted (like a television being tuned with bunny ears)
What Causes Neuropathy in Feet?
If you are trying to manage pain in your feet due to neuropathy, you're not alone.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), diabetic peripheral neuropathy affects roughly half of all people with diabetes at some point in their lives.
Peripheral neuropathy affects anywhere from six to 51 percent of persons with diabetes, depending on age, how long they've diabetes, glucose management, and type 1 versus type 2 diabetes, as per NCBI.
The clinical presentations vary, ranging from asymptomatic neuropathic signs to severe neuropathic symptoms.
Because diabetic peripheral neuropathy has a 25 percent (NCBI) risk of foot ulcers and amputation, rigorous screening and treatment, such as glycemic control, frequent foot inspections, and pain management, are critical.
A growing emphasis is being placed on lifestyle therapies, such as weight reduction and physical exercise.
How Do I Know If I Have Foot Neuropathy?
There are a number of tests that can be performed to determine if your foot pain is from neuropathy.
Vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, aberrant immunological function, and other signs of diseases that might cause peripheral neuropathy can all be detected with blood testing.
Imaging tests, including CTs or MRIs, are performed to look for herniated disks, pinched (compressed) nerves, cancers, and other abnormalities affecting the blood vessels and bones.
To diagnose nerve injury, electromyography (EMG), which monitors electrical activity in your muscles, may be performed.
When you contract a muscle, a tiny needle (electrode) is introduced into the muscle to monitor electrical activity.
A nerve functionality test can also be performed at the same time as an electromyography by your doctor or EMG technician. An electric current is used to stimulate the nerves using flat electrodes put on the skin. The reactions of your nerves to the electric current are recorded and analyzed.
Other nerve function examinations that can be done include an autonomic reflex screen, which records how the autonomic nerve fibers operate, a sweat test, which assesses your body's capacity to sweat, and sensory tests, which record how you experience touch, vibration, plus hot and cold.
A biopsy of the nerves can be performed. This involves a small segment of a nerve, generally a sensory nerve, being removed to check for abnormalities.
A biopsy of the skin can also be done, in which a little piece of skin is removed by your doctor to check for nerve endings that are decreasing.
How is Neuropathy in Feet Treated?
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms and indicators may be alleviated by a number of different treatments.
1. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Electrical nerve stimulation, applied to the skin through electrodes on the skin, provides a low-voltage, low-frequency electric current. For roughly a month, TENS should be used for 30 minutes every day, as per Mayo Clinic.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a popular form of treatment that can help you improve movements, especially if you have muscular weakness. Patients who require the use of foot braces, a cane, walker, or even wheelchair are good candidates for physical therapy.
If you have neuropathies that are caused by nerve pressure, such as from tumors, you may require surgery to relieve the pressure.
Contact Horizon Foot & Ankle Today
If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy or suspect that you might, give our office a call to schedule a consultation. We want to alleviate your foot pain and have an excellent, experienced staff on-hand who can help make that happen. Click here to learn more about Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute.