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By Crofton Podiatry
July 03, 2018

Have your hands and feet been experiencing numbing, tingling, weakness, or burning? These are primary symptoms of what’s called peripheral neuropathy, a condition in which the nerves are damaged by injuries, infections, or toxins. It can cause problems that result in nerve signals that do not send information properly from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body, including the farthest (peripheral) body parts like the hands and feet.

Who can experience peripheral neuropathy?

There are certain conditions that make it more likely for you to suffer from peripheral neuropathy:

  • Diabetes mellitus – If blood sugar levels are left uncontrolled, especially for those who are diabetic, the excess sugar can damage nerves.
  • Alcoholism – Alcohol abuse can result in damaged nerve tissues. Too much alcohol can become toxic to your nerves.
  • Autoimmune diseases – Diseases that are characterized by chronic inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus can suffer from nerve damage due to inflammation.
  • Tumors – These overgrowths can directly or indirectly press on nerves, causing nerve signal blockage or damage.
  • Infection – Bacterial and viral infections like Lyme disease and shingles can cause nerve damage as the infectious agents can directly attack the nerves.
  • Toxins or Medications – Long-term exposure to some chemicals and even medications can cause a toxic effect on the nerves.
  • Traumatic Injury – Direct physical damage to the nerves from sports or other injuries, which disrupts the nerve signals.
  • Vitamin deficiency – Vitamin B and niacin are known to be essential for nerve health, so a deficiency could cause problems.

The symptoms of neuropathy in themselves can be uncomfortable or painful, but the secondary complications that can arise from peripheral neuropathy can be worse. Those who have lost feeling in feet are unknowingly susceptible to injuries like cuts, scrapes, or burns. When they go unnoticed and untreated, they can become ulcers and even gangrenous wounds!

Treatments are available to improve symptoms and prevent worsening symptoms. They range from taking pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, vitamin B-12 injections, physical therapy, and electrical current stimulation.

If you believe that your feet may be experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, come to see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll, for an assessment at Crofton Podiatry. Call us today at (410) 721-4505 to make an appointment at our Crofton, MD office, which also provides services to the surrounding areas of Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie, MD.

On their return from a comedy club in New Jersey, Tracy Morgan (longtime star of NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ’30 Rock’ with Tina Fey) and his companions were struck by a truck Saturday evening. The crash was fatal for one member of Morgan’s crew, and resulted in the critical injury of two others. Morgan himself sustained numerous injuries including broken ribs, nose, and a severely broken leg. Authorities believe that a driver of a Walmart truck hadn’t slept in over 24 hours, and in an attempt to avoid a collision with another car swerved into the back of the Morgan’s limousine.  Following these news reports, rumors quickly spread across twitter and other social media outlets regarding Morgan’s need for a lower extremity amputation.

While now proven to be a complete fabrication, this erroneous rumor is more real than the pranksters likely believe. Currently, there are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States1. Half of these amputations are due to traumatic injury; however, the other half is due to complications of medical diseases such as vascular disorders or diabetes mellitus. Despite our best efforts at prevention, diabetic foot ulcers still precede nearly 84%2 of all nontraumatic amputations in diabetic patients in the US. 

This is why I stress to all of my patients at Crofton Podiatry that they take extreme caution and care with respect to their foot health. Our feet endure tremendous amount of forces throughout the day. However, in the presence of chronic diabetes, our bodies become less able to alert us to problems, and recover from this damage. The development of peripheral neuropathy (or lack of sensation in our feet) renders us vulnerable to the repetitive damage of walking, and may facilitate the silent formation of a diabetic foot ulcer (or wound). 

If you have diabetes, current American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines state that you should be seeing a podiatric specialist at least once a year to prevent the development of a diabetic foot ulcer. In many cases, certain risk factors may make this minimum visitation interval even more frequent. Whether you’re in Crofton or not and are concerned about your overall foot health, make an appointment with a local podiatrist to get the best and most up to date care information tailored to your body and lifestyle.

By Brad Toll.

 

References:

1: ‘Limb loss statistics’. Taken from the Limb Loss Resource Center via www.amputee-coalition.org  Accessed on 6/7/2014

2: Boulton AJM. The diabetic foot: from art to science. The 18th Camillo Golgi lecture. Diabetologia. 2004;47(8):1343-1353.




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2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25
Crofton, MD 21114

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