“My feet have gone numb” is something we hear often from our diabetic patients. As diabetics they are at an increased risk of developing a condition called Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is a nerve condition which affects the body’s extremities, such as the hands, arms, legs, and feet.
But numbness is not the first sign of the problem, but rather a sign of the later stages of the condition. Patients in the early stages of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy will instead experience a tingling, or even a burning sensation in their feet. It’s not until the later stages of the disease that the patient experiences numbness in the feet.
This lack of sensation in the feet can lead to serious injuries arising from minor scrapes and cuts. When a patient with advanced Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy gets a nick or cut on their feet they may not feel it. This means it often goes untreated and can easily become infected. Diabetics heal more slowly from wounds due to the nature of diabetes, meaning a simple cut can sometimes take weeks or even months to heal properly, if it heals at all, without professional medical care.
While we know more about Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy than ever before the root cause remains a mystery to science. While the disease is more common in diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar levels it has also presented in diabetics who show ideal blood glucose levels and are under strict management of their diabetes.
The best treatment for Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is to make sure that the patients diabetes is well managed and they visit their podiatrist on a regular basis. This way if a diabetic wound does form on their feet the podiatrist can help to manage the wound and increase the chances of it healing faster. Podiatrist can prescribe medications and wound healing ointments that can give the patient the best chances of healing from these potentially life threatening injuries.
If you or someone you love is having tingling, burning, or numbness in your feet you can contact Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC to schedule an appointment at one of our 18 office locations in Georgia and South Carolina.