The peripheral nervous system is built from the nerves that radiate throughout your body from the spinal cord. They provide a large portion of the sensory and motor function that your body needs in order to function properly. Nerve damage to the feet, which is also called peripheral neuropathy, is a progressive condition that has a variety of causes.
Causes of Peripheral Nerve Damage
Damage to the nerves can result from a variety of causes, some of which include the following:
- Certain medicines
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Vascular disorders
- Radiation exposure
- Toxin exposure
Symptoms of Peripheral Nerve Damage
When the nerves responsible for feeling and sensation are compromised, the primary symptoms are pain, a loss of feeling (or a burning sensation), tingling, and numbness. These symptoms begin gradually, and often start in the toes and feet and move upwards as the condition progresses. Your skin can become extremely sensitive to touch, or there can be a total lack of feeling in the feet. When nerves required for movement (the motor nerves) are damaged, progressive weakness and paralysis of the corresponding muscles may occur causing them to wither.
Diabetic neuropathy is probably the most common variety of this disorder, and treatments should be carefully planned with your foot doctor to make sure that serious complications, including infected ulcers and amputations, do not occur. Since you will lose the ability to feel any sensations of cold, heat, or pain, it is vitally important to take good care of your feet, wear properly fitted shoes, and to inspect them daily for any cuts, scrapes, or blisters that can easily become infected.
Corns and calluses or and any foot deformities should be carefully evaluated and treated by a podiatrist to ensure there are no unnecessary complications. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems. They have years of experience treating conditions including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.