The arrival of the winter season brings colder weather. While it is normal to experience cold limbs during the winter months, if you are constantly suffering from cold feet despite bundling, this may be a symptom of a more significant issue, peripheral neuropathy.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves. Your peripheral nerves are the nerves that travel to your arms and legs. When the nerves are damaged, they don't function properly. People with peripheral neuropathy have decreased or abnormal sensations in their toes and fingers. Sometimes, they develop problems moving these parts of the body as well.
Peripheral neuropathy does not emerge overnight. Instead, it usually develops slowly and worsens over time. Peripheral neuropathy can be a symptom of a variety of larger issues including:
- Nutritional imbalances
- Hormonal imbalances
- Toxins such as drugs & alcohol
- Kidney disorders
Nearly one-third of all peripheral neuropathy cases are idiopathic, meaning a cause is never identified.
How To Treat Your Feet if You Are Dealing With Peripheral Neuropathy
If you are experiencing peripheral neuropathy in your lower limbs, it is important to regularly inspect your feet. With decreased sensation, it is easy to injure the feet without noticing, and an injury can quickly lead to infection. Regular inspection can help you note injuries early and seek medical attention as needed.
Patients with peripheral neuropathy should also make sure they always wear properly fitting footwear, to avoid foot injuries. Avoid going barefoot whenever possible, and make sure to wear warm socks and shoes in the winter months.
For patients with peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes, treatment centers on controlling blood sugar levels through a consistent diet or prescribed medication.
How to Treat Peripheral Neuropathy
Anyone experiencing peripheral neuropathy should visit a podiatrist. There is no known cure for peripheral neuropathy, however, the goal of treatments is to slow the progression of the disease, maintain foot health, and decrease pain (if present) and improve the quality of life. A podiatrist may prescribe certain medications to help relieve specific symptoms, such as tingling or burning. Sometimes a combination of different prescriptions is used. The patient may also undergo physical therapy to help reduce balance problems or other symptoms in some cases. Patients who have peripheral neuropathy should have their feet examined by a podiatrist at least once per year.
If you are experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, contact us to schedule an appointment. We can help you increase your foot warmth and care for your lower limbs.