Probably everyone has experienced their foot “falling asleep” from time to time. Spend a few hours cramped in an awkward position on the couch, for example, and it can happen. But more pervasive, chronic, unexplained tingling or pain can be a sign that the nerves themselves are damaged and need attention. If you’ve noticed lots of tingling, shocking, prickling, stabbing, or freezing pain—or your foot simply going numb from stretches—you need to take steps right away to slow the rate of damage. Failure to do so may result in damage becoming permanent.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do right from the comfort of your own home to manage both the symptoms and underlying causes of nerve damage, allowing you to feel better and stay healthier.
- Manage your diabetes, if you have it. This is by far the biggest underlying cause of nerve damage in the feet, since high levels of glucose in the bloodstream can be significantly harmful to nerve health.
- Quit smoking, if you do. Smoking is terrible for circulatory health, and the nerves in your feet need all the oxygen and nutrients they can get.
- Drink only in moderation. The occasional beer or glass of wine is fine, but alcohol abuse can significantly worsen symptoms.
- Eat healthy meals. In addition to the general-purpose good advice of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein (preferably lean), make sure your diet includes nerve-healthy nutrients such as B-complex vitamins, magnesium, folic acid, and calcium.
- Stretch and exercise. This helps regulate blood sugar, improve blood flow, and strengthen muscles to keep nerves healthier. There are plenty of safe exercises to try even if you’re older or at high risk—in fact, one of the best is simply going for a 30-minute walk at least 3 times per week.
- Avoid triggers. If you find that your symptoms tend to spike as a result of certain repetitive activities or positions—for example, sitting in a cramped location or spending a period of time hunched over or crouching—try to avoid such activities as much as possible.
Home remedies and prevention tactics are an important part of preventing nerve damage and relieving tingling, pain, and numbness. However, they aren’t the whole solution. A proper medical examination, followed by an appropriate treatment course, is the other half of the equation.
At Martin Foot & Ankle, we’ll do everything we can to diagnose the underlying cause of your nerve damage and then help you manage or correct it, through solutions such as medications, shoe changes, or nerve decompression. Booking your appointment as early as possible helps you get better faster and reduce your risk of permanent injury. Give us a call today at (717) 757-3537.