What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by medical conditions like:
- Diabetes (the most common cause)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Other conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy include:
- Infections like shingles, HIV infection, Lyme disease, etc.
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Medicines used for chemotherapy and HIV treatment
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
- Some kinds of cancer.
How would you know if you have peripheral neuropathy?
Common signs and symptoms of neuropathy of the legs include:
- Tingling in legs
- Numb feet
- Burning or throbbing sensation in the foot
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle twitching
- Dizziness when standing up
Importance of foot exam for peripheral neuropathy
People who are at high risk for peripheral neuropathy or suffer from it should see a podiatrist regularly. This is because one of the first signs of peripheral neuropathy is foot problems as the condition affects the extremities severely.
The podiatrist will do a foot exam that will include:
- A diabetic examination to check the overall health of feet and to look for signs like thickened toenails, fungal infections, etc.
- A neurological exam to check for sensation and reflexes in toes and heels.
- A dermatological examination to check for dry skin and scanlines.
- Vascular examination on the back of leg and feet to make sure that blood circulation is adequate.
- A musculoskeletal exam to check for any deformities or conditions like bunion deformities, Charcot deformities, changes in arch height, etc.
Management of peripheral neuropathy
- Management of peripheral neuropathy usually includes:
- Medications to relieve pain and infections
- Physiotherapy to improve blood circulation
- Topical treatments to help with symptoms
- Surgery to release pinched nerves
If you have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, you should consult a podiatrist and get Neuropathy Treatment.