Neuropathy and Why it Gets on Your Nerves

May is Neuropathy Awareness Month. How much do you know about this common issue that affects the limbs? The more you know, the more able you will be to spot neuropathy symptoms and address treating the condition.

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is an illness related to the nerves that can appear in the arms, hands, legs, and feet sometimes referred to as ‘extremities’. Your nerves transmit information from the brain throughout your body, facilitating sensation and movement. When the nerves in the limbs – also known as the periphery or peripheral nerves– are damaged, they don’t function properly. Decreased or abnormal sensations and mobility issues may occur.

Who can get peripheral neuropathy?

Neuropathy is very common. Up to 30% of Americans will develop neuropathy at some point. Anyone can develop peripheral neuropathy in the extremities. Those at increased risk include people over 65, those whose work includes repetitive motions, people with illnesses including cancer and HIV, and those with diabetes. 60-70% of people with diabetes also have neuropathy. Family history is also a factor.

How can I spot the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Typically, the first signs of neuropathy in the feet, ankles, or lower legs are numbness, prickling, or burning sensations. You may also notice feelings of burning, cold, or pain. This discomfort may be ongoing or intermittent (start-and-stop). It might even get worse at night. Some people feel like they’re wearing an invisible sock or glove. Sometimes, cramping, twitching, or loss of balance or coordination can occur.

Is treatment for neuropathy available?

An experienced podiatrist like Dr. Stavros O. Alexopoulos is a medical specialist and is the best-qualified doctor to diagnose and treat neuropathy or any other medical condition related to your feet, ankles, or lower legs. If you are experiencing symptoms of neuropathy – or any time you notice a change in the way your feet look or feel, a call to your foot doctor is the first step toward wellness.

Non-invasive treatment options for neuropathy include over-the-counter or prescription oral and topical medications and physical therapy. Surgery is sometimes appropriate but usually reserved for extreme cases.

Are you worried about neuropathy, or do you have another concern about the health and wellness of your feet, ankles, or lower legs? Call the friendly My Chicago Foot Expert staff at (773) 561-8100 or click here to schedule an appointment with Cook County podiatrist  Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM, in our modern, comfortable Ravenswood office today.

Author
Stavros Alexopoulos One of Chicago’s top podiatrists, Stavros Alexopoulos, DPM, treats routine to complex foot and ankle issues. Dr. Alexopoulos is currently accepting new patients at My Chicago Foot Expert located near Ravenswood, North Park, and Jefferson Park.

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