Do You Have Diabetic Neuropathy?
If you’re diabetic and are experiencing pain in your foot or ankle, the culprit might very well be neuropathy. Indicators include any one of a range of symptoms…from burning, tingling and numbness to loss of vibration/position sense, electric-like sensations or just plain, old, achy pain.
Let’s take a closer look. Did your symptoms occur gradually, or possibly you experienced a more sudden onset? Both are common. Perhaps you observed that the pain is more prevalent during certain parts of the day or while performing specific activities. Or, your symptoms may be constant without any pattern at all. Both here are common as well. One thing’s for certain, the pain usually progresses over time without proper treatment.
How Do You Know for Sure?
Although uncontrolled diabetes is one of the most common triggers of neuropathic pain, we’ll want to conduct a thorough exam to rule out other offenders, such as: nerve entrapments, trauma, nutritional deficiencies, peripheral vascular disease, restless leg syndrome, HIV/AIDS, sciatica, cancer and certain medications, just to name a few. Let’s be sure.
What We Can Do
The most common treatment for diabetic patients of course is tight glycemic control. We also may look at oral and topical pain medications, shoe modification, weight reduction, nutritional supplements, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and physical therapy. In some cases, we might recommend nerve decompression surgery – always as minimally invasive as possible, of course.
An Ounce of Prevention
The important thing for diabetics dealing with neuropathy is to protect their feet and prevent even further conditions. For instance, if you’re suffering from numbness in your feet, you should be wearing proper shoes to avoid poor balance while standing or walking, as well as to prevent improper loading to certain parts of your feet. That can cause a host of other problems you don’t need. Also, avoid walking bare-footed to decrease the chances of injury and wounds, which can lead to infections.