Nerve damage can cause pain, itching, or burning in the feet for patients with diabetes. Patients are often willing to try anything to be free of the condition and its symptoms, but some home remedies are better than others. Our podiatry office has extensive experience in diabetic foot care, allowing us to be your trusted source for effective nerve pain treatment.
Home Treatments to Ease Neuropathy Symptoms
No home remedy can take the place of professional medical care, especially if neuropathy has allowed a diabetic wound to set in. However, there are many different things patients can do—or not do—that greatly improve their quality of life.
Patients often report lessened symptoms when they:
- Practice good foot care. Impaired sensation in the skin increases the likelihood of infections, so diabetic feet need constant monitoring whether or not they are causing pain. Wear comfortable shoes, inspect your feet each day for injuries and pressure points, and give yourself a foot massage to encourage healthy blood flow.
- Manage blood sugar levels. Maintaining a normal blood sugar level is the most effective way to improve all complications of diabetes, including nerve pain. Best practices include eating a healthy diet and abstaining from alcoholic beverages.
- Take a bath. Warm water temporarily increases blood circulation, relieving painful sensations throughout the body. It can also relax the muscles and ease the physical stress of chronic pain. Numb feet may burn if the water is too hot, so always test the water temperature with your arm before stepping in.
- Have good sleep habits. Nerve pain at night can disrupt the length and quality of sleep, making it more challenging to cope with daily symptoms. If your neuropathy worsens at night, try limiting caffeine intake past 2 p.m., only get into bed when it's time to sleep, and wear an eye mask to block light.
- Use topical pain relief. There are many different pain creams and ointments aimed at treating nerve pain. One of the most common is lidocaine, an anesthetic available in prescription and over-the-counter products. Some patients use capsaicin cream made from hot chili peppers to create a warming sensation in their feet. These solutions are temporary but can give a patient time to relax or fall asleep.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise is highly beneficial for patients with diabetes because it improves both the symptoms and the root cause of the discomfort. Firstly, it releases natural pain-blockers called endorphins, easing symptoms while exercise continues. It also promotes blood flow, improving circulation in the legs and feet and expanding narrowed blood vessels in the feet. Before starting a new regimen, patients should discuss low-impact exercise options (such as walking and yoga) with their doctors.
- Practice mindfulness. Meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis, and other alternative therapies may benefit patients suffering from chronic pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy or guided imagery can also help patients cope with the mental and emotional strain of living with neuropathy.
- Don't smoke. Smoking constricts your blood vessels, making circulation worse and intensifying neuropathy symptoms. If you smoke, start working on ways to quit.
When Should I See a Podiatrist About Neuropathy?
Prevention is better than a cure, but prevention isn't always 100% effective. Modern medicine has made significant improvements in clinical treatment for nerve pain in the feet and legs. Medications, conservative solutions, and other therapies can prevent nerve pain from getting worse and, in some cases, reverse the effects of nerve damage.
The most common reasons diabetes patients visit us is because natural remedies aren't helping their nerve pain or because they've suffered a wound or injury on their foot. These are serious complaints, and early treatment is the best option for both. If a diabetic foot condition is preventing you from doing the things you love, we can help. Simply request an appointment online or speak with our team in either Twin Falls or Burley by calling (208) 731-6321.