Is it Neuropathy or Something Else: A Quiz
There is no lack of sensations you can feel in your feet. There is, of course, the standard hot and cold. Those are pretty easy enough. Tingling? A little odd, but still relatively simple to tell when it’s happening.
And then there’s pain. But just calling it “pain” is painting with way too broad a brush.
Is it an ache? A throb? A stabbing pain? A burning pain? A tingling pain (yes, the tingle can be painful!).
There is no shortage of pain types that can occur in your feet, and determining the cause of them can be difficult at times—especially when a condition such as peripheral neuropathy is affecting the tools you use to sense things in the first place.
Nerve damage can have different effects on the feet because it can cause your nerves to send scrambled signals to your brain. It might not always be easy to determine whether what you are feeling stems from neuropathy or another cause. That’s why we have come up with some questions to help you determine whether peripheral neuropathy might be at play.
Before we begin, though, we wish to make something absolutely clear: If you are experiencing pain or other sensations in your feet and ankles that have lasted several days and not improved, that in itself is enough to warrant a visit to our office!
You don’t need a questionnaire to know that something isn’t normal and needs to be checked out, but the information below can still be helpful to bring up when telling us about what you’re experiencing. We are very interested in the answers to these questions as well as others we might ask you during an evaluation. So please, if you experience any unusual symptoms, please come to Spring Valley’s best podiatrist for a medical opinion!
Is What You’re feeling from Neuropathy? Some Questions.
How would you describe the pain that you feel in your feet?
Explanation: All the first three responses are ways in which patients with peripheral neuropathy tend to describe the pain that they feel. These sensations are often felt in the toes first, but may be felt in other locations of the foot as well.
Do you feel other sensations, such as tingling and numbness?
Explanation: If you answered yes, these are also common signs of potential peripheral neuropathy.
While pain tends to be the first sensations noticed from the condition, tingling and numbness can gradually become more prevalent as nerves are further damaged. A significant danger of peripheral neuropathy is loss of sensation reaching a point where you are unable to feel when your foot has been injured.
Do your feet ever have extreme sensitivity to touch?
We know we just mentioned numbness, but if you answer yes to this question, it is also a sign of potential nerve damage within your feet. These mixes of factors are what makes peripheral neuropathy a confusing condition to self-diagnose. It takes a professional evaluation and review of history to narrow down the causes and make the right diagnosis.
Have you been diagnosed with diabetes or a condition that affects your circulation?
Explanation: Answering yes to this question means you have factors that increase your risk of suffering from peripheral neuropathy.
Diabetes and other conditions can affect your blood flow, and the feet are often the first to feel the effects. It already takes our circulatory systems significant effort to get much-needed oxygen and nutrients down to our feet. Anything that interferes with this can quickly begin to damage sensitive cells in that area, including nerve cells.
Other risk factors that can contribute to developing peripheral neuropathy include: alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, use of certain medications (usually associated with chemotherapy), certain types of arthritis, and trauma to a nerve from an accident, fall, or other injury.
Are you the only one in your family you know of who suffers tingling, numbness or pain in their feet?
Explanation: If you answered no, that may be an indicator that peripheral neuropathy runs in your family—if that is the cause of your symptoms in the first place.
Some individuals may be more genetically inclined to have peripheral neuropathy, or are more likely to have an inherited disorder that makes developing peripheral neuropathy more likely. If you schedule an appointment with us, having any potential family history may be helpful.
Getting to the Root of Your Symptoms
Whether your symptoms are the result of peripheral neuropathy, a simple pinched nerve, or something else entirely, you should not wait to find out. The sooner we can identify a condition and begin treatment, the sooner you can find relief and potentially avoid complications.
Testing for peripheral neuropathy may involve a few diagnostic tests, such as blood tests for glucose levels and thyroid function. We might also conduct a nerve conduction velocity test, where we stimulate a nerve in question and record the speed that it functions.
If we diagnose peripheral neuropathy, we will work with you to determine the best course of action for treatment. This might include changes to diet and lifestyle, as well as NeurogenX sessions and other treatments. And if another condition is the culprit, we will provide our best care for that as well.
Call our Spring Valley office at (845) 352-7507 to schedule an appointment. If you prefer to reach us electronically, you may also fill out the contact form on our website.