Peripheral Neuropathy

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Stephen D. Lasday, DPM Diabetic Foot Care, Foot Pain, Podiatrist Sarasota and Bradenton

Peripheral NeuropathyPeripheral neuropathy is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. To put it simply, peripheral neuropathy is damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system (PNS).

Peripheral nerves carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord. The main function of the PNS is to connect the central nervous system (CNS), the brain and spinal cord,  to the limbs and organs.

It’s helpful to think of peripheral neuropathy in terms of damage to the nerves rather than being a “disease of the nervous system.”

Peripheral neuropathy is often a symptom of an underlying cause or problem, like diabetes or alcoholism.  However, the most common peripheral neuropathy is an unknown cause.  Its thought to have to do with thiamine metabolism.  In fact, one reseacher described neuropathy as a “thiamine deficent state”.  That’s one reason the simplest treatment is taking a thiamine analog like benfotiamine.

There are many possible reasons for PN. Because of this, a thorough and careful diagnosis is needed to determine the root cause of PN. For example, diabetes can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy. It may also result from alcohol, autoimmune diseases like Lupus, inherited disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, or vitamin deficiency.  I think vitamin deficiency is often overlooked. Thiamine, or Vitamin B1 is often best supplemented with the thiamine analog benfotiamine.  This is readily available in a twice a day supplement.

While some neuropathies come on suddenly, others take years to develop. PN can present in different ways.  Some individuals experience weakness in the arms and legs, making it difficult to stand or even walk. For others, they develop a loss of sensation in the feet, ankles and toes. This loss of sensation is particularly problematic in diabetics in that they often do not notice a wound or sore in time in order to get effective, early treatment, which is critical in maintaining healthy feet in diabetics.

Other patients experience a tingling, pin-pricking sensation often followed by sharp stabbing pains. They may even describe it as  “burning electric shocks.”

If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms,  you may find temporary relief with topical creams, such as a topical analgesic or neuropathy cream. But more importantly, please get a complete and thorough evaluation in order to get to the bottom of the symptoms.

If you are looking for a podiatrist in the Bradenton or Sarasota area, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday, Dr. Zdancewicz, or Dr. Goecker for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in their Bradenton Podiatry office or Sarasota Podiatry office.