Why are my feet numb and tingly?

by Ashley Gregg Taylor, AGPCNP-BC, AQH

This could be peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a chronic condition that involves damage of the peripheral nerves (nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord).  This condition is typically worked up and treated by a neurologist.

Symptoms of Neuropathy can include:

  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Sensitivity to touch or temperature
  • Decreased balance

Possible causes of Neuropathy:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Medications ex: chemotherapy
  • Exposure to heavy metals or chemicals
  • Trauma
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Infections
  • Inherited disorders
  • Tumors
  • Bone marrow disorders

Treatment for Neuropathy is available for pain or discomfort.  Numbness cannot be treated. Treatment includes:

  • Topical creams or patches
  • Antidepressants ex: amitriptyline, doxepin, nortriptyline, duloxetine, venlafaxine
  • Anti-seizure medications ex: gabapentin, pregabalin
  • Pain medication ex: Nucynta
  • Supplements (if a vitamin deficiency is found)

If you suspect you may have neuropathy, please contact your primary care physician for a referral to see a neurologist at OrthoNeuro.  During your consultation, we will obtain a history and physical exam, and determine which diagnostic testing may be necessary for example: blood tests, nerve function test (EMG), or imaging studies.

It is important to note that damage cannot be reversed, but further damage can possibly be avoided. To prevent further damage, you can manage your blood sugar, decrease or eliminate alcohol use, eliminate exposures to toxins, exercise 30-60 minutes at least three times per week, and maintain a healthy diet.

References
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352061
https://www.foundationforpn.org/

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