Neuropathy and Its Effects on Your Feet

From a medical perspective, there are several different systems important for the human body to function, including the nervous system which processes physical stimulations and dictates appropriate responses. In order for this all to work, we rely upon our senses to report how things appear and feel. When we are unable trust our senses, as when nerves are damaged, it can potentially lead to dangerous situations.

The Peripheral Nerves

When discussing neuropathy, the focus mainly falls upon the nerves in your extremities. It is important, though, to understanding the respective components of the nervous system as a whole. This can help with allowing us to see how the various parts play essential roles in providing the ability to experience and process physical sensations.

The body’s nervous system is formed by two subsystems – the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is comprised of the brain and spinal column and is responsible for processing information and prompting appropriate responses and actions. The peripheral nervous system is how the body collects the data to be processed.

Peripheral nerves run in an intricate network throughout the entire body. One of the main duties the nerves have is to relay signals of pain when an injury has been sustained. This enables the brain to then orchestrate an appropriate response to provide what is needed for the healing processes.

Neuropathy Basics

When everything is running smoothly and as intended, you won’t likely give much thought to the nerves throughout your body. Conversely, if they are damaged, it can result in several issues. Damaged nerves can relay faulty messages to the brain, including sensations of burning, tingling, and pain when none should actually exist. Even more concerning, the peripheral nerves may be unable to convey any signals to the brain, even when physical damage has been sustained to a body part.

Potential Nerve Damage Causes

Although commonly associated with diabetes, there are several potential causes of damage to peripheral nerves. Tumors, certain medications, infections, physical trauma, autoimmune disorders, vitamin deficiencies, and various other diseases can all lead to the development of this condition.

Certain risk factors increase your likelihood of nerve issues, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Repetitive movements
  • Family history

Complications from Neuropathic Conditions

The peripheral nerves sending faulty signals of burning, tingling, and pain can certainly be an issue for patients with damaged nerves. Even more concerning, though, is when nerves have an impaired function to transmit any signals at all. This creates a situation where damage might happen, but the necessary treatment is not provided. Left untreated, minor injuries and infections can become major problems in even a short amount of time.

Neuropathy Treatment and Prevention

The two main objectives of treatment for a nerve damage are managing the root cause of the condition and relieving present symptoms. These can be achieved through the use of medication, physical therapy, intravenous immune globulin, plasma exchange, electrical stimulation, and surgical procedures.

Preventing the condition from arising in the first place is always preferable to having to treat it. There are a handful of ways to do this, including managing medical conditions that heighten the risk of nerve issues. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and alcoholism are all medical issues that should be carefully managed. Making healthy lifestyle choices also helps. Exercising regularly and adhering to a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins are both particularly beneficial.

Neuropathy Care in Twin Falls, ID

When damaged nerves impact your feet, and especially if they increase the risk of dangerous situations, it is time to seek professional care. At Advanced Foot and Ankle, we provide the help you need, so contact us by calling (208) 731-6321 or request your appointment with either our Twin Falls or Burley, ID offices online today.