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Tingling, Burning, Numbness in your feet could be Peripheral Neuropathy

Updated on September 10, 2012
Keep your feet soft
Keep your feet soft

Nerve Damage can be helped

On my last trip to my endocrinologist, she tested the bottom of my feet with a vibration tool. She asked if I had any neuropathy. I had no idea because I didn’t know what that was. Her brief test indicated that I did have some peripheral neuropathy. I am all about preventive medicine or trying to stop the progression of any side effect from my diabetes, so I set out to learn more.

The Neuropathy Association states, “60 – 70 percent of all people with diabetes develop peripheral neuropathy.” They go further to state, “about 30 percent of all peripheral neuropathy cases are related to diabetes; even people with prediabetes can develop it.”

There are many forms of peripheral neuropathy (now referred to as PN). PN can be the result of infections, metabolic problems, traumatic injuries or toxins. PN is nerve damage. Patients have numbness, tingling, weakness or a burning sensation in the affected areas. I’m only going to concentrate on the association of diabetes and PN. If you have other issues, you should continue your research in your specific area.

Proper fitting shoes
Proper fitting shoes

Don't leave Peripheral Neuropathy untreated

The two major complications from diabetes are neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. Diabetics have too much sugar in their blood. If you have this condition for a long period of time, it may lead to serious issues, including foot problems. You might not feel heat, cold or pain in your legs or feet. A cut or blister can go unattended and become infected. The open cut does not heal as rapidly in diabetics as it should. Ulcers may occur and lead to other drastic results. The issues could have been detected early and avoid serious foot problems.

The proper fit in your shoes is very important. Red spots, blisters, corns, calluses can all result from wearing poorly fitted shoes. People with flat feet, bunions or even hammertoes may need prescription shoes.

People with diabetes who have left PN untreated may find it difficult to walk and exercise. This leads to other serious complications of diabetes. With the loss of sensation in your feet, you may not feel sand or small stones in your shoes. This irritant could lead to an open sore or even ulcer.

Healthy Feet  Happy Feet
Healthy Feet Happy Feet

Take care of your Body and it will work for you

Dr. Todd Levine from the Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic in Phoenix said, “Having high blood glucose for a long time appears to be a major factor.” Maintaining good health habits like eating properly, exercising and being aware of the affects of your illnesses are just as important as medication. Taking care of you is a constant battle, not just prior to an office visit.

There is no cure for damaged nerves but if caught in time, the condition can improve with time. Your doctor will first determine the underlying illness and treat that first. The goal with diabetes is early detection and treatment to prevent further development. A regular screening for PN should be done yearly by your doctor. This could be a simple vibration test or an electrodiagnostic test. Very serious PN cases may require nerve biopsy, MRI, or blood tests. Simple OTC pain medication may be all that is needed to relieve your discomfort.

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    • Brownie83 profile image

      Kelly (Brown) Wagner 5 years ago from Arvada, Colorado

      Low Vitamin B12 levels can also cause a neuropathy, so it's important to assess a patient's diet and nutritional status (and possibly draw B12 levels in addition to blood glucose control) in addition to assessing for other possible complications of diabetes. Good post!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Well written article about a very important topic.

      Thanks for sharing this information.

      Voted up and useful.

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