Peripheral Neuropathy

What is it?

Peripheral neuropathy is a result of damage to your peripheral nerves (nerves that supply the arms and legs). It usually causes weakness, numbness and/or pain in the hands, feet, arms and legs.  

Causes?

There are many different causes for peripheral neuropathy. One of the most common causes is diabetes (the high sugar levels cause nerve damage). Other causes include traumatic injury to the nerves, infections, metabolic syndromes, excessive alcoholism, inherited disorders, some medications and exposure to toxins.

Symptoms?

  • Burning in feet or hands especially at night
  • Numbness, pins and needles, tingling in the feet or hands
  • Muscle weakness if the nerves that supply the muscles are affected
  • Lack of co-ordination or falling

Prevention?

  • Ensuring your diabetes/ blood sugar level is well controlled
  • Avoiding smoking or quitting
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting regular, moderate exercise

Treatment?

Treatment is often targeted at controlling the symptoms as nerve damage is often irreversible. Treatment includes prescription drug therapy from your GP or specialist. Non drug therapies that your podiatrist can offer include dry needling/ acupuncture, low level laser therapy, TENS and advice on compression therapy (compression garments can help to reduce nerve pain but are not suitable if you have problems with the arterial circulation in your feet or legs)