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Family Foot & Ankle

What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Has your foot ever fallen asleep? Most people feel that way occasionally. You may be sitting cross-legged at your desk for an hour or so, only to realize a sensation of dull tingling, burning, or prickling once you get up. That symptom is called paresthesia, and it’s caused by temporary compression of nerves and blood vessels. That pinching messes up communication between your legs and your brain.

Temporary paresthesia is an easy fix—uncross your legs (or otherwise remove the source of compression), and sensation quickly returns. But nerves can be damaged in other ways that aren’t so easy to correct, too. When nerves in the lower legs and feet are impaired in more permanent ways, leading to chronic feelings of tingling, numbness, burning, or other odd sensations, the condition is known as peripheral neuropathy.

Neuropathy symptoms in feet

There are dozens of different types of peripheral neuropathy, and symptoms can express themselves in different ways. In addition to paresthesia, you may notice acute or chronic pain, muscle weakness, difficulty with motor control and loss of coordination, and extreme sensitivity to touch. If autonomic nerves are damaged, peripheral neuropathy could even affect heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and bladder control.

So, what causes it? Again, there are a lot of possibilities, although the most common and well known is diabetes. Elevated levels blood glucose are toxic for nerves, and as a result a large percentage of people with diabetes (perhaps more than 50%) ultimately develop some form of neuropathy. Other possible causes include alcohol or drug abuse, dietary deficiencies, certain diseases and infections, certain medications, injury, or exposure to toxins.

Nerve damage isn’t always completely reversible, but with proper treatment it doesn’t have to control your life. The experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center in Cincinnati help people like you reduce discomfort, manage their symptoms, and restore the highest level of nerve function possible. If you notice burning or tingling pain that is severe or won’t go away, make an appointment at one of our 6 offices today by calling (888) 689-3317.
Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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