If you are experiencing numbness, tingling, or burning in your feet or toes, you may have peripheral neuropathy. This is a condition caused by nerve damage and it can make your life miserable. Early diagnosis and treatment offer your best chance to alleviating your symptoms and preventing further damage. Fortunately, Dr. Kelly L. Geoghan has extensive experience and clinical expertise in treating peripheral neuropathy. At her practice in Baltimore Maryland, Dr. Geoghan offers today’s most advanced treatments, technology, and techniques to help relieve your discomfort and improve your condition, so you can enjoy the active life you desire. Take the first step today by scheduling your appointment.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs when the peripheral nerves are damaged and stop functioning properly. The peripheral nerves are sensory nerves that control how your brain sends and receives sensation signals and affects what you feel, like pain, touch, and temperature. Damage to these nerves can result in numbness, tingling, or pain in your feet and toes, as well as balance and gait issues that make it difficult to walk. Without the proper care, your condition and symptoms can become more severe, and significantly hinder your quality of life.
Many factors can lead to the development of peripheral neuropathy, including:
Excessive weight gain
Injuries and infections
Certain medications and environmental toxins
Autoimmune disorders, like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV
Neurological disorders, like spina bifida and fibromyalgia
Diseases of the liver, kidneys, and thyroid
Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy in the United States today. About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes develop peripheral neuropathy. This is caused by high blood sugar levels that can damage the nerves in your legs and feet. Diabetic nerves are also more susceptible to compression in tight areas like the ankle because the by-product of sugar attracts water, which causes them to swell.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in the feet are often described as:
Tingling, like pins & needles
Burning or stabbing pain
Hot & cold sensations
Loss of sensitivity
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is highly critical to see a qualified, reputable podiatrist for treatment as soon as possible. Any change in sensation in the fingers or toes could be an early indicator of a more serious problem, such as diabetes. Numbness is a particular concern, for if you cannot feel your feet, you may not know if you have an injury that requires treatment, and a small injury, like a cut or blister, can become infected. This is especially true for diabetic patients, for whom infections can spread quickly and can be more difficult to heal, due to the poor circulation issues they often experience.
Although there is no known cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are many treatment options that can help relieve your symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and improve the overall quality of your overall health and wellness. Treatment options include:
Medications, injections, or patches to alleviate discomfort and pain
Nutrient-rich foods and vitamins supplements, to protect and restore nerve tissues
Immunosuppressant Medications for conditions caused by an autoimmune disorder
Physical Therapy to help improve your strength, balance, and function (i.e. walking with ease)
Custom Orthotics, to reduce foot movement and protect your feet while you are wearing shoes
Light Therapy Boots, to help relieve pain and improve circulation
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation treatments, to relieve your discomfort by preventing pain signals from traveling to your brain
MLS Laser Therapy, to improve blood flow, decrease inflammation and pain, and facilitate nerve tissue healing
Surgery, for more severe cases, to repair, destroy, or alleviate pressure on the nerves
If you have peripheral neuropathy, you should have your feet examined by a qualified podiatrist at least once per year. Because without the proper care, your condition and symptoms will most likely get worse and possibly result in permanent damage.
If you have peripheral neuropathy, there are lifestyles changes you can make to help slow the progression and relieve the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, including:
Avoid smoking, alcohol, toxins, and weight gain
Eat healthy meals with essential vitamins and minerals
Exercise regularly, to improve circulation and strength
Wear properly fitted shoes and avoid walking barefoot to prevent injury
Examine your feet, especially with decreased sensation, to identify and treat an injury before it becomes a much larger problem.
For patients with diabetes, manage blood sugar levels carefully, because high blood sugar can exacerbate nerve damage.
The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy from occurring is to live a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet with proper nutrition, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol, smoking, toxins, and weight gain. For diabetics, it is very important to control your blood sugars.
Dr. Kelly Geoghan is a board-certified podiatrist with over 25 years of experience caring for patients.
Renowned for her clinical expertise, gentle manner, and outstanding results, Dr. Geoghan will work with you to treat your condition and relieve your pain, so you can live an active life in comfort.
Take the first step towards a happier, healthier, more comfortable life today! Contact us online or call 410.753.4422 to schedule your appointment. We look forward to meeting you!