What is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?
By Dr. Eric Arp
January 29, 2021
Category: Foot Issues

Be able to spot the telltale symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

If you have diabetes, it’s important that you get your blood sugar levels under control through lifestyle changes and medication. Around 34 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t even know they have it, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, if high blood sugar levels persist this can lead to a condition known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which can cause nerve damage in the feet, arms, and hands.

You should visit our Harrison, AR, podiatrists right away if you notice these symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy,

  • A numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the feet
  • Sudden cramping or a zapping, electric-like shooting pain
  • Changes in the shape or structure of your feet (a common deformity is a hammertoe, which causes the toes to curl downward like a claw)
  • Poor balance, often caused by a lack of sensation in the feet
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold, or feet that are cold for no reason

Those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy will often report that their symptoms are worse at night, which can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, we know that it can be scary, but it’s important that you visit our Harrison and Mountain Home, AR, podiatrist right away. By working together with our podiatry team and your regular physician we can find a treatment plan that helps to prevent further nerve damage while managing your current symptoms.

How do I treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy?

While this condition is not reversible, there are different options available to you to help treat your symptoms. Simple lifestyle changes can improve your diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Some lifestyle changes include,

  • Avoiding smoking, tobacco products, and alcohol
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet and treating any vitamin deficiencies that might be present (have your doctor run a blood test to check for vitamin deficiencies)
  • Making sure that you inspect your feet every day to look for redness, swelling, sores, ulcers, cuts, or other problems that could lead to an infection (make sure you visit your podiatrist right away for treatment if you notice any of these issues)
  • Make sure that you are getting regular physical activity, which can improve balance and reduce pain and cramping

The key to preventing peripheral neuropathy from getting worse is to make sure that you have a doctor who is providing you with the medication you need to get your blood sugar under control. Certain medications such as antidepressants and anti-seizure medications may also be prescribed by your doctor to alleviate nerve pain.

If you are living with diabetes here in Harrison or Mountain Home, AR, it’s important that you have a podiatrist that you can always turn to for checkups and care. To schedule a consultation with us, call ARP Foot & Ankle Clinic at (870) 365-3668 or (870) 425-7363.