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Peripheral Neuropathy: Managing Sensation

February 29, 20242 min read

Neuropathy is a word frequently used to describe malfunctioning or damaged nerves.

In podiatry, the nerve dysfunction we most commonly encounter is called peripheral neuropathy, meaning it exists in your peripheries - your feet!

Peripheral neuropathy can affect your motor nerves, sensory nerves and your autonomic nerves.

Motor nerves control muscles and movement. Symptoms of these nerves not working properly could be muscle weakness or wasting.

Sensory nerves interpret soft touch, temperature, vibration, and a number of other physical sensations.

Symptoms of sensory neuropathy may include pins and needles, burning or a sharp prickling sensation. Many patients describe sensory neuropathy as a sensation and not a pain.

Autonomic nerves control the ‘automatic’ systems in the body. The most relevant for the feet is the sweat glands. Those with autonomic neuropathy often have poorly functioning sweat glands and so their feet become very dry. 

The three forms of neuropathy can be experienced altogether, but usually there is an underlying cause. Causes of neuropathy can include but are not limited to:

  • Diabetes (Type 1 or 2)

  • Alcohol

  • Chemotherapy

  • HIV treatment

  • Some vitamin deficiencies (iron or folate)

  • Poisons (insecticides)

  • Some cancers 

  • Chronic liver disease

Neuropathy can be diagnosed by a healthcare professional, like a podiatrist, through patient history and a number of assessments. 

Treatment for any nervous issue is extremely complex, and treatment usually involves management of the underlying issue, Eg Controlling the diabetes or reducing alcohol intake.

There are medications which can be prescribed by a GP to reduce nerve pain also.

Here at Peak Podiatry we offer our non-invasive laser therapy for those with neurological dysfunction in their feet. Studies have shown that ‘Low-level laser treatment works by stimulating changes in the nerve cells.’

One proposed theory behind this is that the laser increases ‘blood circulation to smaller blood vessels supplying the nerves.’ Researchers have found that laser therapy can lead to a ‘significant pain reduction’ 

Apart from the research, our podiatrists have seen first hand the difference that laser therapy makes to people suffering from nerve dysfunction in their feet. We know it works!

If some of these symptoms sound like something you’re experiencing, or you’d like to know more, you can give us a call on 091734140 to speak to one of our team, or go to our website to book an appointment with one of our experts.

We offer a full neurological assessment, after which we will be able to tell you more about the cause of your symptoms and give you an evidence based treatment plan.

Give your nerves the love they deserve, and book today

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Robert Meagher

Robert Meagher, Podiatrist at Peak Podiatry, Galway

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