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Foot Problems: Numbness & Burning Feet

Do You Suffer From?

  • Weakness in the arms or legs?
  • Numbness, tingling, and pain in the feet and legs?
  • Feeling unsure on your feet?
  • Glove and stocking sensation, or the feet feeling tight?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be suffering from neuropathy. Millions suffer from this condition, and unfortunately many in the medical field do not fully understand this condition. Most patients are told they "just have to live with it." Fortunately, new treatment and therapies are achieving high rates of success in treating foot numbness and burning. The Doctors at Countryside and Trinity Foot and Ankle Centers have seen the harmful impact neuropathy can have on the diabetic and non diabetic patient. We are thrilled to pass on the newest in medical treatments and nutrition therapy to our patients. Together we can improve your quality of life one step at a time!

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is the term used to describe disorders resulting from injury to the peripheral nerves. It can be caused by diseases that affect only the peripheral nerves or by conditions that affect other parts of the body as well. Symptoms almost always involve weakness, numbness or pain usually in the legs and feet. It will be helpful for you to know a few basics of nerve biology to understand how neuropathy gets started.

The peripheral nervous system is one of the two main divisions of the body's nervous system. (The other is the Central Nervous System, which includes the brain and spinal cord.) "Peripheral" means away from the center, this system contains the nerves that connect the Central Nervous System to the muscles, skin and internal organs.

What are Your Symptoms?

Some neuropathies come on suddenly, others gradually over many years. The symptoms depend on the types of nerves affected and their location, but the problem usually starts with weakness, numbness or pain. Here are some of the telltale sighs people describe. Many of these symptoms are worse at night, making sleep difficult. Over time, the horrible combination of sleep deprivation and chronic pain can lead to many other debilitating conditions such as anxiety, depression and suppression of the immune system. Left untreated, neuropathy can greatly decrease the quality of life for its sufferers and their families.

Weakness in the Arms or Legs
Usually caused by damage to the motor nerves, leg symptoms include difficulty walking or running, a heaviness, it takes most of your strength just to climb the stairs, and a stumbling or tiring easily. Muscle cramps are common.

Numbness, Tingling, & Pain
The sensory nerves, when damaged can cause many different symptoms. Early on, you may have spontaneous sensations, called paresthesias, which include numbness, tingling, pins and needles, prickling, burning, cold pinching, sharp, deep stab, electric shocks, or buzzing. They are usually worse at night, often painful and severe. Unpleasant abnormal sensations brought on by touching or other stimuli are called dysethesias. Or instead, you may have anesthesia, a lessoning or absence of sensation, which can cause you to burn or cut yourself and not know it.

Absence of Position Sense
When you have this symptom, you-re probably not sure just where your feet are and may thus be uncoordinated and unsteady when you walk. Or you may realize that the way you walk has changed, but not sure exactly how or why. Chances are, you have widened your gait in an unconscious effort to keep your balance, or you tend to drag your feet.

"Glove & Stocking Feeling"
This is what doctors call the odd feeling you may have that you-re wearing stockings or gloves or slippers when, in fact, your hands and feet are completely bare.

Autonomic Nerve Damage
Damage to the autonomic nerves can cause dizziness when standing up, constipation, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, thinning of the skin, with easy bruisability and poor healing.

Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Diabetes: Diabetes is the most common known cause of neuropathy. About 15% of diabetics have signs and symptoms of neuropathy. The occurrence of neuropathy rises with the patients age, duration of the disease and poor control of glucose level.
  • Cancer: Most commonly, Lung Cancer, Multiple Myeloma, Leukemia, or B-cell Lymphoma.
  • Nutritional Imbalance: Deficiencies of B12 B1, B6 or E
  • Chronic Renal Failure
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Alcohol or Toxins: such as lead, arsenic or mercury poisoning.
  • Drugs: Certain drugs in the treatment of cancer and Aids can cause peripheral Neuropathy.
  • Trauma or Compression: such as Carpal Tunnel or Sciatica.

Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy

The goals or treatment are twofold: 1) Eliminate the cause of the disease. 2) To relieve its symptoms.

While treatment of the underlying disease involves other specialties who treat cancer, kidney disease and Diabetes, Doctors Levine, Brown and Lowery have been very successful i treating the symptoms of these painful neuropathies.

Our Treatments include:
  • Comprehensive Lower Extremity Exam:
  • Includes a thorough history and exam of the leg and foot
  • Circulation & Nerve Testing:
  • Doppler and Neurometer studies analyze damage to the nerves, arteries and veins.
  • Medication:
  • Many non narcotic medications, such as neurotin, may help alleviate symptoms and aid in sleep.
  • Nutritional Supplements:
  • Restores proper nutrition. Certain herbal supplements are also beneficial.
  • Nerve Blocks:
  • Injections around nerves have been found to increase the blood flow to the nerves.
  • Physical Therapy:
  • Dynatron therapy has been found to be beneficial.
  • Electrode Sock Therapy:
  • This new modality incorporates electrode stimulation in a sock which is worn as the patient sleeps.
Depending on the cause, therapy can slow, halt or reverse the neuropathy. Once the damage is stopped, the nerves can then regenerate. The extent of recovery depends on how ,much damage was done. The less the damage, the better the recovery. Therefore, it is very important to diagnose the disease as early as possible and begin therapy.