What Is Neuropathy?
Neuro comes from the Greek word neuron, which means nerve, and Pathy comes from the Greek word pathos meaning affliction or condition. So, the word neuropathy simply means your nerves aren’t working properly. You may commonly hear the term peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral means away from the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. Although damage to the brain and spinal cord may cause neuropathy, it is much less common. So, all nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord are part of the peripheral nervous system. Finally, doctors may also say you have peripheral polyneuropathy. Poly means multiple nerves, so the term polyneuropathy means many nerve branches are afflicted. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms can affect both men and women of all age groups, but is more common in the middle age and senior population. It is Important to remember the terms we’ve just described do not have anything to say about what is the cause of the condition, but simply describe location and prognosis that something’s not right with your nerves. So, the following will explain what your foot or feet neuropathy symptoms may be.
Neuropathy Feet Symptoms
Sensory Nervous System
- Sensory nerves may be affected causing symptoms of burning, tingling, and numbness.
Motor Nervous System
- Weakness may also be connected to the motor nervous symptoms which includes the nerve branches that send impulses to your muscles telling them to contract. This can be referred to as motor neuropathy.
Autonomic Nervous System
- The autonomic nerves may also be affected. These are the nerves that control the heart, the bladder, and the skin. So you may have high blood pressure, bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, or skin that is too sweaty or too dry.
Peripheral nuropathy symptoms of the feetcan be caused by two types of nerve damage, large fiber disease, or small fiber disease.
Large Fiber Disease: The nerve fibers affect your ability to feel pressure or touch. This can affect your coordination as you walk or cause you to have decreased balance
Small Fiber Disease: Damage to these smaller nerve fibers may reduce your ability to feel pain or changes in temperature. This may put you at risk for not realizing that you have an injury or infection in a foot. It can make you susceptible to burning your feet if the water is too hot. It is always good to check temperatures with your hands if you tend to have numb feet.
Motor Nerve Damage: This can result in muscle weakness. You may also experience fasciculations which are uncontrollable muscle twitching. Cramping may also take place. Over time you may see a decrease in muscle bulk if the nerve damage is severe. Drop foot is a common presentation associated with muscle weakness and can make it difficult to pull your feet and toes upwards or move your foot sideways away from the opposite foot.
Common Causes Of Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetes: Many are aware that diabetics can get neuropathy. It’s estimated that 50-70 percent of those with diabetes will acquire neuropathy. It is important to note that people with diabetes are more prone to amputation because of this. With the lack of feeling that may be present, you may not be able to feel what normally would have been a painful callus. With this going undetected, the callous may become so severe that the skin breaks down and results in an ulcer. The ulcer may then get infected and lead to infection in the bone. Thus, an amputation may be required. This is a common tale that is important to understand if you have diabetes. To better understand how we reverse peripheral neuropathy via surgical and non-surgical methods please watch the videos below.
Vascular & Blood Problems: Any disease that may reduce blood circulation may also cause nerve damage. An example of this would be someone with atherosclerosis with arteries in the legs being blocked and therefore less blood flow to the nerves.
Autoimmune Disease: This could include rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. With autoimmune disorders, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body and can damage the nerves or soft tissues around the nerves causing increased pressure on the nerves resulting in damage.
Nutritional Or Vitamin Deficiencies: Examples of this would be vitamin B and Vitamin D deficiency.
Chemotherapy Drugs: Drugs used to treat cancer may be toxic to nerve tissues resulting in temporary but often permanent nerve damage.
Viral & Vaccine: Lyme disease carried by tick bites and HIV can cause neuropathy. More recent evidence supports that the COVID-19 vaccine may cause nerve damage. Watch the video below to learn more.
Neuropathy Caused From Covid Vaccine
Injury: This can be caused by a fracture in the leg or ankle. Also, blunt trauma to the leg or foot can cause damage to the nerves. Too tight of a cast may also be a cause.
Idiopathic neuropathy is one of the most common types. This means neuropathy of an unknown cause. Especially as we get older, if none of the other causes listed are presented, you may be told you have Idiopathic neuropathy.
How Do I Know If I Have Neuropathy?
Presentation: Usually, it will present in a relatively large area, not just in one toe for example. It may involve the majority of the top and or bottom of the foot.
What Will The Doctor Do?
- Taking a good history of your symptoms and the location is important
- A good lower extremity examination checking for sensation muscle weakness and balance may be done
Tests – some doctors will order:
- EMG Testing: This will measure how much of a signal goes into the muscle when the nerve that supplies the muscle is stimulated
- Nerve Conduction Study: This measures how fast a signal is carried along the length of a nerve when it is stimulated.
- MRI and Ultrasound: These technologies are used to evaluate the anatomy and look for compression on the nerves. This may be done to evaluate the back as a cause of your neuropathy.
- Labs: Blood studies may be done to rule out diabetes or other medical conditions such as autoimmune disease which could have a negative effect on the nerves.
Treatments – Conventional medicine:
The treatments can be subdivided into two arenas:
Treat The Back:
For some, treatment of the back may be recommended by their doctor. Neuropathy symptoms are thought to be caused by problems in the back. Chiropractors, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and pain doctors may do surgery on the back, or suggest nerve stimulation or pain pumps in some situations. Chiropractors and physical therapists may also suggest stretching and strengthening exercises.
Metabolic Treatments – medication:
Patients are told by their doctors that due to metabolic conditions such as diabetes, chemotherapy and auto-immune disease that the nerves are damaged and the problem is irreversible. Therefore they are told to live with it or medications may be prescribed to reduce their symptoms. Medications such as Gabapentin or Lyrica may be the treatment of choice. Some will even need to go onto narcotics.
How Neuropathy Foot Pain Can Be Reversed!
As a board-certified peripheral nerve surgeon, we consider a different approach. The symptoms are in the feet and legs, so why not consider treating the foot and legs like we treat the hands and arms? When nerve symptoms in the upper extremity are present, many doctors will consider carpal tunnel syndrome as a potential cause, and surgery to reduce pressure may be recommended. Please watch the video below ‘The One Thing You Need To Learn About‘.
Doctors trained in this manner evaluate you for possible nerve compression. Big pharma and medical device companies cannot monetize what we do, and this may have something to do with why you may not be aware of it. If surgeries to decrease pressure on nerves is not appropriate, then other treatments such as ESTIM (electrical stimulation) and laser treatment may be used. When they are employed, the areas where the nerves are compressed are specially targeted.
Non-Surgical Reversal of Neuropathy – ESTIM & Laser Treatment
What We Do That Is Different!
If you visit a peripheral nerve surgeon, many will notice that we take the time to do a very thorough lower extremity examination. Most doctors are poorly trained in the evaluation of the lower extremity peripheral nervous system. It is not only about checking for feet neuropathy symptoms. We check your ability to feel sensation, check for back symptoms, loss of muscle strength, evaluate your gait and do balance testing. We will also do an examination of the five major nerve tunnels in the lower extremity to check for compression. We also may use ultrasound to look for nerve damage consistent with nerve compression.
Surgical Reversal of Neuropathy – How A Peripheral Nerve Surgeon Reverses Neuropathy
Diabetic Neuropathy: You may want to consider looking at our research regarding the surgical reversal of diabetic neuropathy. In these two landmark studies we report the improvement of nerve function after opening tight nerve tunnels that are damaged by doing intraoperative nerve testing. We used EMG to measure the difference in nerve impulses going into the muscles of the legs before and after the nerve tunnels were opened. Within minutes high percentages of improvement were consistently noted. We have the best podiatric clinics when it comes to identifying and dealing with feet and neuropathy symptoms.
RESEARCH TO PROVE YOUR DIABETIC NEUROPATHY IS REVERSABLE.
Surgical Reversal of Diabetic Neuropathy
If you’re looking for a solution for your feet neuropathy symptoms, you may want to consider this approach. We are looking for the best way to reverse your symptoms by treating the root cause of your problem, not just treating the symptoms!