Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that is marked by damage to the peripheral nervous system, which generally comprises the nerves in the limbs. The peripheral nervous system sends sensory information to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), such as pain and cold signals. Nerve damage can therefore negatively impact pain and temperature perception, balance, the ability to grasp things, and even speech function, depending on which nerves are affected.
Picture a wire that transmits signals. With peripheral neuropathy, the wire is broken or badly damaged, so the signals do not reach the recipient. The damage could also lead to garbled, distorted, or incorrect signals. That is why in peripheral neuropathy, you may have a tiny injury in a toe that turns into a large infection because you couldn’t feel pain in the toe, to begin with.
There are many types of nerve damage, but let’s talk about the particular causes and symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.
How Does Peripheral Neuropathy Start?
Peripheral nerve damage can be caused by various conditions, such as accidental injury, autoimmune diseases, bacterial and viral infections, kidney and liver disease (especially when brought on by alcoholism), and cancerous tumors that press on the nerves or develop in the bone marrow.
However, the most common culprit of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. It is also called diabetic neuropathy.
What happens in diabetic neuropathy is that the high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves, particularly those in the legs and feet. The first symptoms typically begin the feet.
Peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes can be slowed down by controlling blood sugar levels and making lifestyle changes as explained by your doctor. If it is not effectively managed, diabetic neuropathy can lead to complications such as limb loss (amputation), hypoglycemic unawareness, drops in blood pressure, and joint damage.
Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
The symptoms you experience peripheral neuropathy will depend on the nerves that are affected. Some of the signs of sensory and motor nerve damage caused by neuropathy include:
- Numbness and tingling sensations in your extremities
- Foot and ankle pain
- Muscle weakness
- Unexplained pain that is throbbing or burning
- Lack of muscle coordination
Diabetic Foot Treatment in Naples, FL
Diabetic neuropathy can cause painful symptoms or numbness in your extremities, especially in your feet. Our compassionate and experienced orthopedic surgeons here at the Joint Replacement Institute can help you manage your diabetic foot symptoms to prevent complications.
The first thing we will do is to conduct noninvasive and painless tests to determine the type of nerve damage you have, and we will then create an individualized treatment plan for you. Everyone with diabetic neuropathy experiences it differently, which is why we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment.
Find out what we can do for you and how we can make your life better. Schedule a consultation with us at the Joint Replacement Institute by calling (239) 261-2663. You can also complete our online appointment request form now. We look forward to seeing you here and helping you take control of your neuropathy.