Nerve problems in the feet, whether caused by a physical blockage (such as a compressed nerve) or systematic factors (like diabetes), can be extremely dangerous. Nerves that don’t function properly can’t be trusted to report injuries to your brain, which means you might not notice them until after a lot of damage has been done and infection has set in. Worse, nerves usually don’t regenerate as easily as other kinds of tissue, meaning that chronic damage may become permanent.
Obviously, then, catching nerve problems as early as possible and treating them before they develop too far is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, nerve damage in the feet can be easy to miss. For starters, many cases of neuropathy may be asymptomatic for a long time before their effects become noticeable. By the time you fully realize something is wrong, the nerve damage may be extensive.
However, even cases that are symptomatic may be misidentified as muscle pain or other soft tissue injuries, or simply shrugged off as a result of “getting older.” For example, pinched nerves at the tarsal tunnel is a frequent cause of heel pain. You might suspect plantar fasciitis at first, only to discover that your attempts at home care have no effect.
Nerve problems can often be distinguished by the following characteristics:
- Tingling, prickling, or numbness in the extremities.
- Chronic pain, which may manifest as stabbing, burning, freezing, etc.
- Issues with sensitivity. For example, you may feel extreme oversensitivity to touch.
One other thing to keep in mind is that not all nerves are sensory nerves. Motor nerves are responsible for issuing the brain’s orders to skeletal muscles, which control voluntary motion. Autonomic nerves are responsible for smooth muscle, which regulates involuntary systems like digestion and blood pressure. If the damage extends to these classes of nerves, you may notice other symptoms, including:
- Muscle weakness
- Poor coordination
- Heat intolerance
- Digestive problems
If you notice any of these warning signs for nerve damage, or if you have a relevant risk factor (diabetes, poor circulation, obesity, over 65), it’s time to come in and get tested. At the Absolute Foot Care Specialists, we can measure the responsiveness of your nerves to electrical signals (alongside other diagnostic tests) to identify and isolate nerve damage. We also offer advanced treatments such as Combined Electrochemical Therapy (CECT), which has driven radical results for patients with neuropathic pain.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, give us a call today at (702) 839-2010.