Nerves allow you to know what is going on in every part of your body. The nerves to your feet are the longest, traveling from your back/spinal cord to the tips of your toes. The longer the nerve, the more likely for it to be damaged along the way. Nerves allow you to feel hot and cold, light touch, pressure and of course, pain. When you step on something, like a Lego, you will feel a combination of pressure and pain. Your brain then send a signal to your leg very quickly to “lift up your foot” for protection of the foot. The same is true if you touch something very cold or hot.
When nerves do not work properly, this is be called neuropathy. It can cause a number of different symptoms including numbness, tingling, pins and needles, feeling like the foot is covered in leather, very hot or cold sensations, shooting pain and burning. Some people describe their neuropathy as “I can feel my feet, but they don’t feel like mine.”
Neuropathy can be caused by many different things. The most commonly known is Diabetes. If you have numbness or decreased sensation is does not automatically mean you have Diabetes. Other causes of nerves not working correctly are an injury to the back, exposure to certain chemicals like pesticides or agent orange, chemotherapy and lack of Vitamin B because of gastric bypass (weight loss surgery) . Sometimes it is difficult to determine exactly what has caused this weird sensation, nevertheless it can still be treated if it is bothersome!
To determine what type of neuropathy you have, several different test can be done to make sure that the treatment you and your doctor choose will be effective. Most of these test can be done right in the office.
Neuropathy that is painful and bothersome can be treated in a daily basis, while other types are mild and not affecting your daily life are monitored. Please see your doctor to determine the right treatment for you.