What Is Foot Neuropathy?

What Is Foot Neuropathy?

Foot neuropathy, more commonly known as peripheral neuropathy, is damage of the peripheral nerves, which are located in the toes and fingertips. Once damaged, these nerves do not function properly and cause decreased sensation, says the American Podiatric Medical Association.

The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy in the United States is diabetes, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Other causes of peripheral neuropathy includes certain medications and chemotherapy drugs, heredity, advanced age, arthritis, alcoholism, neurological disorders, and injury.

Common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include burning, numbness, tingling, and shooting or stabbing pain in the toes or fingertips, reports APMA. Change in sensation in the toes or fingers may be a symptom of the condition and should be reported to a doctor. These sensations may be the first sign of diabetes.

A podiatrist, family physician or physician specialized in diabetes can diagnose peripheral neuropathy, says APMA. The examiner makes the diagnosis on the basis of an examination of health history and report of the symptoms. Blood tests may also be ordered to check blood sugar levels, as diabetes is often related with peripheral neuropathy.

There is no known cure for the disease, and the goal of treatments is to slow the progression, maintain foot health, decrease pain and improve quality of life. A podiatrist can prescribe oral medications to help alleviate pain, reports APMA. Patients with the condition should also regularly check their feet for injuries or infections and have a doctor examine them.