Neuropathy is a common side effect of diabetes, but can also be the result of a range of other conditions and lifestyle habits. Treatment for neuropathy is important to avoid complex problems, including total loss of sensation and possible limb loss. Newtown Foot & Ankle Specialists provide comprehensive resources for the diagnosis, treatment and long term management of neuropathy.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy, also known as Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that is the result of peripheral nerve damage in the arms, hands and feet. The brain stops receiving signals from these nerves and can no longer provide feedback such as pain. Patients with peripheral neuropathy begin to experience feelings of tingling, numbness and shooting pain in their hands and/or feet as it sets in.
There are two major types of Peripheral Neuropathy with distinct causes: alcoholic neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy. If you consider yourself at risk for either of these conditions it is important to monitor the health and function of your feet and seek treatment as soon as any symptoms are noticed.
Common causes of neuropathy can include:
- trauma to the nerves
- certain medications
- age and heredity
- certain neurological disorders such as fibromyalgia
How Is Neuropathy Treated?
Currently, there is not a cure for neuropathy but there is a range of treatments for minimizing the impact of the condition and maintaining limb health. Our foot doctors and podiatrists work with patients on an individual basis to evaluate their condition and needs. The best treatment is that which will address your symptoms, adjust lifestyle habits affecting your condition and is supportive of your overall health and wellness.
Based on the extent of existing nerve damage, our doctors may recommend a variety of ways to manage pain and protect your feet and limbs. Your doctor will conduct any necessary testing to identify any areas of lost feeling and tissue damage. Treatment will also depend on the underlying cause of your neuropathy and other medications you may be prescribed.
Treatment options for neuropathy can include:
- Controlling blood sugar for diabetic patients
- B-12 injections, often for alcoholic neuropathy
- Topical ointments for pain
- Magnetic therapy
- Galvanic stimulation (electric current to stimulate nerves and muscle tissue)
Can you stop neuropathy from getting worse?
If you are suffering from neuropathy, patients may benefit and stop its progression from some lifestyle changes. If you are overweight, losing some excess weight can help stop neuropathy from getting worse. Exercising regularly can also be helpful to stop the progression of neuropathy.
What are the stages of neuropathy?
There are 4 stages of neuropathy. The first is Stage one. In this stage patients experience some numbers and varied achy pain. In the second stage patients begin to experience constant pain that does not go away. In the third stage the pain becomes more intense and sharp. In the last stage patients lose feeling, nerves are damaged, and they feel numbness.
How long does it take to cure neuropathy?
In some cases neuropathy can be more difficult to cure than others. If it was caused by radiation or chemotherapy it may be more difficult to cure, taking between 2-5 years. In most cases neuropathy goes away within 3-5 months after your last treatment.
How do you know if neuropathy is getting worse?
Signs neuropathy is getting worse include numbness, tingling, and sharp pains. As neuropathy gets worse these signs become a regular part of patients day to day life.
Is neuropathy a disability?
Neuropathy is considered to be a disability by the Social Security Administration. Patients who want to receive disability benefits will need to meet the medical requirements and fill out paperwork.
Schedule an Exam & Neuropathy Consultation
An important part of treating and controlling the effects of peripheral neuropathy is to monitor the condition of the feet, hands, and extremities. Our podiatry team provides individualized care for your needs and will work with you to minimize the impact and progression of peripheral neuropathy. If you are experiencing Neuropathy issues, or other podiatry problems, call our experienced doctors at 215.234.3772 today.