Neuropathy or nerve damage can be caused by many different illnesses but one of the leading reasons is diabetes. Neuropathy in the legs and feet is a diabetes complication that results from having your blood sugars and A1C stay out of control for a long period of time; when blood sugars are highly elevated it can damage your nerves and other vital organs in your body. Nerve damage can set in starting with the body’s extremities such as the hands and feet; it can cause burning pain, tingling and possible numbness.
Nerve damage usually is not reversed even with proper blood sugar control (fasting level of below 110 mg/dl) but you may prevent further nerve damage and the pain could slightly improve. Doctors usually recommend taking a multivitamin daily and learning how to make favorable choices. Healthy foods, snacks, and beverage selections along with physical activity and proper medications can help bring your diabetes under control.
However, there are numerous things you can do to minimize discomfort and pain along with preventing potential infections to your feet. Avoiding further complications is imperative since you are on your feet every day:
- Consult with your doctor regarding certain medications for neuropathy pain. Neurontin (available in cheaper generic called Gabapentin) and Lyrica have been known to help symptoms.
- Try to bring your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure under control with medications and favorable lifestyle choices to prevent further complications.
- It is imperative that you check every inch of your feet and in between your toes thoroughly daily because of loss of sensation due to neuropathy. At the first signs of cracks, blisters, cuts or any injury signs or skin color changes contact your doctor immediately; do not self medicate or perform “bathroom surgery.” An improperly treated injury to your feet can lead to long lasting infections and possible amputations.
- Maintain daily proper foot hygiene by washing and drying your feet thoroughly between toes before wearing shoes. Use foot creams or ointments daily to retain moisture in your feet’s skin (oily ointment base such as Eucerin or Aquaphor are preferred but not between the toes).
- Keep your feet dry during the day by using powder in your shoes; change socks daily and alternate shoes every other day throughout the week to minimize chances of infection.
- Break in new shoes gradually by wearing them only a few hours a day for several days or weeks.
- Choose good quality shoe brands and boots such as Acor, Florsheim or Clarks; they carry multiple width sizes, great comfortable designs at affordable prices.
- Have regular checkups with your doctor and podiatrist (a foot specialist doctor).
Hope these were helpful hints.