How Do I Stop Nerve Pain in My Feet?
Pain in a foot is always cause for at least a certain degree of concern. After all, this is how your body alerts you to the fact something isn’t right.
When that pain is nerve-related (neuropathic), the level of concern can go up drastically.
Some of the key reasons for that include:
- Nerve pain presents in a variety of different forms, like burning, electrical, tingling, and prickling sensations. At best, these are annoying. When the pain is intense, however, it can be downright debilitating.
- The pain may be a precursor to—or experienced in tandem with—motor function issues. Your nervous system is responsible for enabling movement, and damaged nerves can either inhibit or reduce proper functionality in the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, connective tissues).
- According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), “approximately 14-24 percent of patients with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation.” Neuropathic pain and disfunction often accompanies diabetes. (We will discuss this at greater length later.)
To help you better understand when you should seek professional care and possible treatment options we might recommend, we’ll start by looking at symptoms you should recognize and why you are experiencing nerve pain in your feet.
Are nerve problems causing your foot pain?
Between their structural complexities and the myriad ways feet are used, there are many possible sources of foot pain.
So, how do you know if the pain is neuropathic?
As noted, nerve pain can be very distinct. If you have a “pins and needles” sensation or it feels as though your foot is burning, the odds are pretty decent we’re looking at an issue in your peripheral nervous system.
Before moving ahead, what do we mean by peripheral nervous system?
Well, your overall nervous system is actually comprised of two different parts: central and peripheral.
Your central nervous system is essentially your brain and spinal column. This forms your body’s command center and it communicates with your peripheral nerves.
In turn, those peripheral nerves form an extensive network that runs throughout your entire body. They are responsible for collecting information (sensory nerves), enabling movement (motor nerves), and controlling involuntary and semi-voluntary functions (autonomous nerves).
When you have nerve pain in your feet, the affected nerves are of the sensory variety. That said, please keep in mind that it’s possible to have issues with more than one kind of nerve. (For example, you might have difficulty moving your foot along with the pain if motor nerves are damaged.)
Attempting to determine whether neuropathy is to blame for your pain is a great start. At the same time, remember that a professional diagnosis is always best for all foot and ankle conditions (and especially as something as serious as neuropathy).
Why are you experiencing nerve pain in your feet?
Once it has been established that neuropathy or other nerve damage is responsible for the pain, it’s only natural to wonder what happened.
The fact of the matter is there are a variety of potential root causes, with one being a clear leader:
Elevated blood sugar levels cause a host of problems throughout the body, including damaging nervous tissue.
Because one of the other (numerous) concerning consequences of this condition is reduced blood flow (peripheral arterial/venous disease), the nerves in feet are especially at risk. Without receiving a steady, fresh supply of nutrients, tissues can weaken. Combine this with lowered effectiveness of the immune system and the whole situation can cause severe problems.
This highlights why it’s so important to stay vigilant with your diabetic foot care routine!
An important note about neuropathy and diabetes is that having painful symptoms may actually be better than the alternative.
When nerve damage has progressed to the point of numbness (and you cannot feel anything), you risk sustaining minor wounds that, left untreated, can continue to break down and become diabetic foot ulcers.
And that is a dangerous situation. Due to the gangrene that can set, there are cases where the best-case scenario is limb amputation. (Recurring ulceration has a higher mortality rate than even some well-known forms of cancer, such as breast, colon, and prostate cancers.)
Now, while diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy, it isn’t the only one:
To sum it up, the NINDS list includes physical injury, vascular and blood problems, systemic autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, kidney and liver disorders, poor nutrition, alcoholism, certain chemotherapy drugs, and infections. Exposure to toxins is another possible source.
How can we help you overcome neuropathic pain?
If you suffer from any kind of foot or ankle pain, Burlington County Foot & Ankle Associates is here for you.
We can create a treatment plan to address your nerve pain. The specifics of this will depend on your particular situation, as you might expect.
One potential nerve pain treatment option patients are often interested in learning more about is our laser therapy.
Specifically, we offer Multiwave Locked System (MLS) laser therapy.
This kind of therapeutic laser both enhances the body’s natural healing processes and improves blood flow. That means—no matter if diabetes is in the picture or not—your tissues (including nerves) can heal more quickly.
In particular, improved blood flow can slow neuropathic progression, which keeps your nerves healthier for longer periods of time.
Don’t suffer from foot nerve pain any longer! Come see us for treatment!
At our practice, our goal is to keep you walking – something you may find challenging when you have nerve pain. Fortunately, we have the experience, skill, and tools to help you get the relief you need.
For nerve pain, we’ll start by providing you with a proper diagnosis and identify the root cause of the problem. From there, we use the information to determine an appropriate treatment plan.
As noted, something that helps separate Burlington County Foot & Ankle Associates is our laser therapy. You can’t find that at all podiatrists, but we’re proud to offer it as an option for you.
If you’d like to learn more about us or you’re ready to schedule an appointment, check out this page for our office hours, address, and directions.