Patients suffering from diabetes may have nerve damage that causes numbness or pain in arms, hands, legs or feet. When neuropathy appears in these parts of the body, it is labeled “peripheral neuropathy.” The podiatry team at Southwest Foot and Ankle Center, located in Lewisville and Plano, TX, have advanced skills in caring for peripheral neuropathy in patients of all ages.
Neuropathy targets the nerves rather than blood vessels, as in numbness caused by poor circulation. Nerve damage can affect:
- Sensory nerves dealing with feelings of pain, temperature, and other sensations
- Motor nerves controlling muscles and giving them strength
- Autonomic nerves allowing certain involuntary functions, such as sweating
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy typically develops slowly and gets worse over time. Some patients develop neuropathy even before they are diagnosed with diabetes.
With this serious foot condition, patients lose sensitivity to pain. This raises the danger of developing skin ulcers and wounds that become infected and may not heal. This serious complication of diabetes can lead to loss of a foot, a leg, or even your life.
Bunions or hammer toes resulting from motor neuropathy may cause friction inside your shoes, creating sores. Also, because of numbness, you may not realize when you have stepped on something that has cut your foot. Cracked skin caused by autonomic neuropathy, combined with sensory neuropathy’s numbness and motor neuropathy can increase a diabetic’s risk of developing a foot sore.
Depending on the type(s) of nerves involved, one or more symptoms may develop.
- Cracked skin
- Dry feet
- Loss of balance
- Numbness or tingling in the feet
- Pain or discomfort in the feet or legs, including sharp pain or burning
- Muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone in the feet and lower legs
- Changes in foot shape that can cause areas of increased pressure
Diagnosis and Treatment
In order to accurately diagnose diabetic peripheral neuropathy, our expert foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Reza Mobarak, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, will obtain your history of symptoms and perform in-office tests on the feet and legs. This exam may include testing your reflexes, ability to feel light touch, and ability to feel vibrations. In some cases, additional neurologic tests may be ordered.
Treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy centers on controlling your blood sugar levels, but there are several options used to treat the painful symptoms. Medications help relieve tingling or burning. In some cases, the patient may also use custom orthotics or undergo physical therapy to help reduce balance problems or other symptoms.
Southwest Foot and Ankle also treats patients using electric stimulation with the V-Care VST MyoDynamic Device, which benefits blood flow, reduces swelling, relieves pain, and helps heal damaged tissue.
Contact Southwest Foot And Ankle Center
If you have symptoms of neuropathy, contact us to set up a foot exam or opt to call the Lewisville clinic at 972-318-2738, the Plano location at 972-805-9985 or our newest location in Irving at 972-318-2655.