It starts with a tingle, or a twinge. Whether it stays that way, or one day develops into a significant problem, depends upon whether you seek help, or simply ignore it (please, don’t).
Just about everyone has, at one point or another, had a foot fall asleep. Usually the culprit is sitting in an awkward position, and the problem is quickly corrected. However, more regular tingling could be the early warning signs of something more serious: peripheral neuropathy.
Since nerves are the main conduit of 2-way communication between your body and your brain, strange sensations (including tingling, numbness, burning, or pain) often arise when they become damaged or impaired in some way. In the “awkward position” scenario, a nerve might have been temporarily pinched, and when you move, things quickly return to normal. There are, however, other, more serious and permanent ways to damage a nerve. Progressive degeneration from exposure to elevated blood sugar, as is the case with diabetes, is perhaps the most famous example.
Over the long term, tingling feet can cause many lasting complications. For starters, not all nerves are primarily “sensory” in nature. Others may be responsible for regulating body functions you normally don’t have to think about or sense, like blood pressure, digestion, temperature regulation, or bladder control. Today’s tingling feet might be a harbinger of future damage to your body’s autonomic responses or muscle control.
Even worse, when you lose sensation in your feet and legs due to tingling and numbness, you lose your brain’s primary warning system. Now, you might think that not being able to feel pain doesn’t sound so bad, but consider the fact that a wound could be festering for a week, or you could actually be walking on a broken foot all day, without your knowledge.
If you don’t detect and treat these kinds of problems early, the consequences can be grave—for example, infected wounds or extreme disfigurement and collapse in foot structure. In such cases, it may even be necessary to amputate in order to stop the problem from spreading and save your life.
So, take the tingling seriously, and protect yourself against the long-term complications of peripheral neuropathy! At Martin Foot & Ankle, we offer nerve and circulatory testing, as well as comprehensive treatment options for tingling feet. Make an appointment at one of our convenient locations by calling (717) 757-3537.