"Doc, my toes are starting to feel numb?" Numbness of the feet can be caused by a number things, however, one of the most common causes of foot numbness is called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a general term used to describe damage to or affecting nerves which may impair sensation, movement or gland function. Peripheral nerves send sensory information to the brain and spinal cord. When there is damage to the peripheral nervous system, the information becomes disrupted. Think of peripheral neuropathy like a static radio station: peripheral neuropathy obstructs and sometimes blocks crucial messages being sent to the brain. Ultimately, the brain, spinal cord and body are not receiving these signals. Many things can cause this tingly sensation:
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Lower back condition or back surgery
Despite the many known causes of peripheral neuropathy, most patients never discover the root issue; unfortunately the best way to treat peripheral neuropathy is to treat the cause. Although addressing the underlying condition is vital, there are steps that patients can take to combat the numbness. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical: frequent exercise, weight management, eating a well-rounded diet and avoiding alcohol and tobacco products are a few proactive regimes that can ease (and even heal) the aggravating side-effects of peripheral neuropathy. Custom foot braces formulated by your podiatrist can help with muscle weakness. Orthopedic shoes are another aiding option as well. HealthyFeetStore.com organizes podiatrist-approved footwear specifically designed for neuropathy and can be found here: Neuropathy footwear. Over-the-counter topical and oral products may help alleviate the pain as well. As discussed above, vitamin deficiency may be the leading issue contributing to peripheral neuropathy. NeuRx-Tf is an oral solution that uses antioxidants and vitamins that play a critical role in nerve health optimization. However, when peripheral neuropathy interferes with digestion, urination, breathing or organ failure, a more advanced treatment is necessary. This could include a rigorous control of blood glucose levels and/or the prescription of narcotic agents (as administered under the close inspection of a physician's care). Whether you suffer from minor, varying, frequent or extreme pain, visiting a podiatrist is imperative. We can diagnose the severity of your neuropathy and assist in finding the results best tailored for you.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com