There are various ways to resolve neuropathy foot pain including medication and several therapies, but it is important to identify the underlying cause first. It occurs when there is damage to any of the peripheral nerves.
Symptoms of Neuropathy foot pain
Neuropathy foot pain is a result of some affected nerve of the peripheral system. The type of nerves that are involved include:
- Sensory nerves
Sensations such as pain, temperature, touch, vibration through the skin are picked up by the sensory nerves.
- Motor Nerves
The movement of the muscles is regulated by these nerves.
- Autonomic Nerves
The heart rate, blood pressure, bladder, and digestion are controlled by the autonomic nerves.
The signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are as follows:
- Numbness or tingling
A feeling of numbness or tingling that starts at your hands/feet and radiates to your arms and legs.
A feeling of sharp, burning, throbbing or freezing pain.
You become extremely sensitive to light touch.
Problems with balance occur as a result of poor coordination and sometimes you could fall.
- Muscle weakness
If there is an impact on the motor nerves, there could be a resultant weakness of muscles or paralysis.
- Heat intolerance
This occurs if there is an effect on the autonomic nerves. The sweating pattern is altered.
- Digestive problems
Another side effect of the autonomic nerves that are affected is digestion problems. Bowel and bladder problems also arise.
Affected autonomic nerves are also responsible for dizziness along with changes in blood pressure.
When only one nerve is affected due to peripheral neuropathy, it is referred to as mononeuropathy. When there are multiple nerves involved, it is known as polyneuropathy.
Causes of Neuropathy in feet
Neuropathy in feet can occur due to the presence of multiple diseases. The reasons for neuropathies are:
There are vitamin deficiencies due to poor choice of diet in the cases of people suffering from alcoholism. It is best to avoid alcohol at all costs.
- Autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Guillain-Barre syndrome, necrotizing vasculitis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy cause neuropathy foot pain.
People suffering from diabetes are more prone to developing some form of neuropathy.
- Poison exposure
When you are exposed to toxins like heavy metals and chemicals, you have a higher chance of being affected by neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy can also affect someone who is under medication, especially for cancer.
Viral infections like Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus, leprosy, shingles, HIV, and diphtheria can also cause neuropathy.
Sometimes, you inherit certain types of neuropathy like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
- Trauma or pressure
Peripheral nerves can be damaged due to trauma like motor vehicle accidents or injuries from a fall or sport injuries. Using a cast or crutches can exert pressure on the nerve. Typing or activities that are repetitive might cause neuropathy.
Benign or noncancerous growth and malignant or cancerous growth can exert pressure on the nerves. When cancer affects the immune system, it leads to polyneuropathy. It’s a type of paraneoplastic syndrome.
- Vitamin deficiencies
Deficiency of vitamins such as Vitamin B (B1, B6, and B12) and Vitamin E can cause neuropathy.
- Bone marrow
Disorders related to the bone marrow like monoclonal gammopathy being an abnormal protein present in your blood, osteosclerotic myeloma which is a type of bone cancer, and amyloidosis or lymphoma can be causes of neuropathy.
- Other types of diseases
Diseases related to the kidney, connective tissue, liver, or hypothyroidism can sometimes lead to neuropathy.
Foot Neuropathy Treatment
Foot Neuropathic treatment needs to address the underlying cause which is responsible for it. If an underlying cause cannot be found, watchful waiting is recommended.
- Pain Relievers
Mild symptoms can be treated by over-the-counter pain medications like anti-inflammatories. Painkillers might be required if the symptoms are severe.
Medications which cause addiction or dependence like tramadol or oxycodone are the last resort and should be used only when other medications don’t work.
Nerve pain may also be relieved by medicines that are used for epilepsy like gabapentin or pregabalin. There may be drowsiness associated with this.
- Topical treatments
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are improved with capsaicin cream. There might be a burning sensation that might occur when applied, but it normally abates with time. Lidocaine patches might also be considered. However, you might feel drowsy or dizzy.
Antidepressants which are tricyclic help with pain relief. These include amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and doxepin. For those with diabetes, reuptake inhibitors with serotonin and norepinephrine could be helpful in easing peripheral neuropathy.
Pain relief from Neuropathy can be achieved by:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Gentle currents are delivered through electrodes.
- Plasma Exchange and intravenous immune globulin
People with inflammatory conditions might benefit from this treatment where the immune system is suppressed.
- Physical therapy
This can be of great help for people whose muscles are weakened due to various reasons.
Pressure on nerves caused by tumors will require surgery.