What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is disease of the nerves that are farthest from the center point of the body. This condition affects both hands and feet and changes the way that a nerve functions, producing abnormal and sometimes painful symptoms. In some instances, the fibers of the nerve may be normal, but the lining around the nerve (myelin) that is critical to transmission of normal signals is damaged. The symptoms that many people with peripheral neuropathy describe is burning, tingling, numbness and the feeling that you are wearing a sock, even when barefoot. Neuropathy can be caused by diabetes, alcoholism, chemotherapy ot treatment with certain medications, or in some cases idiopathic causes (meaning the cause is unknown).

Is neuropathy reversible?

Neuropathy is reversible in some cases. Typically, the sooner it is addressed and treated, the better the chance of recovering normal, non-painful sensation. Neuropathy which is symptomatic as numbness, rather than burning/tingling/pins and needles is less likely to completely recover. Time will only tell whether your neuropathy will improve and sometimes nerve regeneration and repair can take a year or more. Read on for how we can help work toward a reversal of neuropathy pain and discomfort.

If my foot is numb, why do I need to get treatment?

A ‘numb foot’ from neuropathy is referred to by doctors as the ‘loss of protective sensation.’  While numbness feels weird, people rarely describe it as painful.  However, when your feet are numb, you are unable to feel and address pain that should be there- whether from a pebble in the shoe, a blister or a foreign body.  Pain is a gift which tells you that there is something wrong and pain causes you to slow down and address what may be happening before it becomes a bigger problem.  Without this, bad can quickly go to worse.

What are the best treatments for neuropathy?

At Prairie Path Foot & Ankle Clinic, we have a variety of ways to treat neuropathy, no matter the cause. On this FAQ page, we will answer your neuropathy treatment questions.

What is the best vitamin for neuropathy?

Our office carries NerveReverse, a supplement containing the essentials for nerve health. It contains:

three white bottles of medicine that say nervereverse on them

  • 5000IU Vitamin D3 to help restore levels which helps in bone healing and to improve neuropathy symptoms; 
  • B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) and enhanced form of B6 that has been shown to improve fiber density;
  • B9 (L-methylfolate) shown to improve endothelial function, vasodilation, and nitric oxide synthesis;
  • B12 (methylcobalamine) to supplement B12 deficiency and imporve nerve health symptoms;
  • B1 (benfotiamine), the fat soluble form that improves nerve conduction and reduces neuropathy symptoms; and
  • alphalipoinc acid, an antioxidant that reduces inflammatory markers, improves blood flow, and reduces painful symptoms.  

Are there any topicals for neuropathy?

There are topical alternatives for neuropathy.  If you go to your local pharmacy, you may find capsacin, which is made of the active ingredient from hot peppers.  Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying this to the tops and bottoms of your feet, because the active ingredient may remain on your fingers and transfer elsewhere. The most effective topical medication our pratice can recommend is a topical prescription for a compounding pharmacy. Our doctors can make very specific alterations depending on your situation. 

Are there things I can do at home to help my neuropathy?

If you are diabetic, you can start by controlling your blood sugars. The more controlled your blood sugars are, the less symptoms you will experience. In addition, you can take a B vitamin supplement (such as our NerveReverse described above). The most important thing you can do however, is work with your doctors as a multidisciplinary team, and your podiatrist is a member of that team. Our doctors keep in close contact with your pirmary care doctor, neurologist, and/or endocrinoligist that treat you for your underlying cause of neuropathy. 

Does exercise help with neuropathy?

Although exercise itself does not help neuropathy, exercise does help with decreasing and controlling blood sugars. This in turn does have an effect on neuropathy. With improvement in blood sugar levels, the tingling and numbness you might feel in your toes may dissipate.