Peripheral Neuropathy is a medical diagnosis referring to damage of the nerves that connect the core of your body with the limbs, especially the legs. When these nerves are damaged, they function atypically and you may experience decreased or abnormal sensation in your feet and toes. Mobility can be negatively affected as well.
60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy within their lifetime. For many people, a diagnosis of diabetes precedes neuropathy symptoms. For others, the opposite happens – discomfort leads them to the podiatrist’s office where they find out that diabetes is the underlying cause. Diabetes is not the only cause of Peripheral Neuropathy. Other common culprits include serious injury to the peripheral nerves, advanced age, family history, arthritis (especially when the spine is involved), and heavy alcohol use.
In the lower body, Peripheral Neuropathy usually begins with numbness, prickling or tingling in the toes, and progresses until the entire foot is involved. Some people feel ongoing or intermittent pain, often getting worse at night. These sensations are usually felt bilaterally, meaning on both sides of the body. Most people develop Peripheral Neuropathy as a slow progression of symptoms slowly over months or even years, although some do experience a sudden onset.
The symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy may not always be obvious. Be alert, and seek medical attention if you or a loved one experience any of the following:
- Limited sensation in the feet and/or sharp pain
- A feeling of slight pressure, like you’re wearing an invisible glove or sock
- Sensations of burning or freezing
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Decrease in balance or coordination
- Difficulty walking
- Weak muscles
- Muscle cramping or twitching
- Trouble falling or staying asleep because of foot and leg pain
With years of rigorous training and specialized experience, a podiatrist is the best doctor to care for your legs, ankles, and feet. If you are experiencing unusual or unexplained sensations in these areas, please call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 or click here to set up a convenient appointment with Dr. James M. McKee in our comfortable Annapolis office. James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS will examine your feet, determine whether you’re dealing with Peripheral Neuropathy or a different issue, and work with you to create an effective treatment plan.