If you have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy is a clear and present danger that requires expert oversight. Foot specialists Joseph R. Disabato, DPM, and Melissa L. Gulosh, DPM, at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates have the experience and expertise necessary to help you better manage peripheral neuropathy. To learn more, call one of the two locations in Charlottesville or Culpeper, Virginia, or fill out the online form to set up a consultation.
Peripheral Neuropathy Q & A
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Your body’s nervous system is an incredibly vast and complex network of nerves that work together to provide you with sensation, function, and protection. Your peripheral nerves are all the nerves outside of your central nervous system, and they work as communicators between your brain and your body.
With peripheral neuropathy, your outlying nerves become damaged, which disrupts the signaling, creating a number of problems, typically in your lower and upper extremities.
What causes peripheral neuropathy?
Several conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy, chief among them:
- Vascular disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Hormone imbalances
- Certain medications, such as chemotherapy
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common causes of nerve damage and affects up to 50% of older patients with Type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
The most common signs of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Numbness and tingling in your feet or hands
- Extreme sensitivity
- Burning or sharp pain
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of reflex in your ankle
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary depending upon which nerves are damaged, and where, but diabetic neuropathy almost always affects your feet, and may travel into your lower legs if left untreated.
How is peripheral neuropathy treated?
The key to peripheral neuropathy is early intervention in order to halt any further damage. Unfortunately, nerve damage is irreversible, so the earlier the doctors at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates can step in, the better your outcome.
If you’re diabetic, the first order of business is better management of your blood sugar levels to prevent further nerve damage. Your doctor also reviews a number of other techniques to help you avoid neuropathy, namely at-home foot care, which includes:
- Checking your feet daily
- Washing and drying your feet every day
- Wearing warm, dry socks
- Wearing comfortable shoes with orthotics
- Taking care to trim your toenails properly
If your peripheral neuropathy is more advanced, your doctor’s primary goal is to relieve any pain and maintain function in your feet. To do this, they may prescribe medication and/or use surgical techniques to prevent your neuropathy from disabling your foot completely.
To get expert peripheral neuropathy oversight and management, call Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.