Your nerves play an essential role in how your body functions. They not only instruct your muscles to move when your brain tells them to, but they also enable you to experience sensations. When you lose the ability to trust your nerves—whether they send faulty signals to the brain or, even worse, none at all—it can lead to issues, some of which can potentially become quite serious. Understanding neuropathy will help you know when you have an issue, how we can treat it here at Brook Valley Podiatry, and what steps you can take to prevent complications.
Your body’s nervous system is comprised of two parts – the central and peripheral nervous systems. The brain and spinal column make up the central nervous system, which is responsible for processing information. The peripheral nerves collect, send, and receive information from the central nervous system. Neuropathy is a condition of damaged nerves that results in pain, weakness, or numbness in your feet and toes on account of impaired communication within the nervous system.
Complications Due To Nerve Damage
A major concern with peripheral neuropathy is the inability to feel pain and know when damage has taken place. This can be an issue with regard to temperature changes. Individuals with this condition are more susceptible to burns, on account of not knowing when their skin is getting too hot. They are also at greater risk for infection, since the lack of sensation can lead to situations where injury has happened without the body being aware.
Individuals who have diabetes are especially at risk for complications from nerve damage. As such, an important component of diabetic foot care is to conduct a daily inspection of both feet. This is best performed before going to bed—which helps establish it as a sustainable habit—and should be rather thorough. If you are unable to inspect the bottoms of your feet, either use a mirror or enlist the help of a loved one.
Treatment for Neuropathy
When it comes to neuropathy, treatment goals are two-pronged – relieve symptoms and manage the underlying condition that causes nerve problems. This often entails the use of medication and various therapies. In some cases, surgery can be used to relieve pressure placed upon a nerve by tumors or other tissue.
Many of the lifestyle and home remedies to manage peripheral neuropathy—healthy eating, exercise, quitting smoking—are also the same steps to be taken to reduce the risk of nerve damage happening in the first place.
Preventing Nerve Damage
The best prevention method for neuropathy is to manage any medical condition that can increase the risk of it occurring. An example of this is for an individual with diabetes to take special care to regulate his or her blood glucose levels. Going hand-in-hand with this is making healthy lifestyle choices.
Eating a diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables is essential for providing the nutrients necessary to keep nerves healthy. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can be particularly detrimental, so meat, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy foods should be staples in the daily diet.
In addition to healthy eating, regular exercise and the avoidance of certain factors—smoking, cramped positions, repetitive motions, and excessive alcohol consumption—can also help decrease the risk of neuropathy.
Professional Neuropathy Care in Midwood Brooklyn and Spring Valley, NY
When you or a loved one is living with a condition that causes neuropathy, especially diabetes, it is important to have a foot care plan in place. If you need assistance with one, the experts here at Brook Valley Podiatry are ready to help. We also provide the effective care you need to stay safe and healthy, so contact us today. Call (718) 434-0600 for our Midwood Brooklyn office or (845) 352-7507 for our Spring Valley office. You can also schedule your appointment with us via the online form found on our website.