Nerve Problems That Affect Your Feet and Legs
As both your primary means of support and your body’s most remote real estate (far from your brain and heart), your feet are often the first area to be affected by nerve issues. Nerve problems range from benign tumors (neuromas), general pain, and burning or tingling sensations to total numbness, loss of motion, and more. These issues can be caused by one of many underlying conditions such as diabetes, obesity, foot deformities, or tight shoes.
Fortunately, Harvey R. Danciger, DPM is Coachella Valley’s expert on addressing a wide variety of nerve problems in your feet or legs, using up-to-the-minute research and state-of-the-art technology. Here’s a closer look at conditions we commonly see and treat in our office.
A common complication of diabetes, peripheral neuropathy results in weakness, tingling, pain, and ultimately numbness in your lower limbs. Caused by damage to peripheral nerves, the pain is often described as a stabbing or burning sensation. While poor management of blood sugar is the most typical culprit, neuropathy can also be caused by alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies, poison exposure, liver disease, and other issues.
The condition is usually progressive, with treatment focused on symptom relief. The exact strategies employed will vary based on the cause and severity of your symptoms, but may include strict blood glucose levels control, oral or topical medications, laser therapy, and physical therapy, decompression surgery, as well as promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle and avoiding smoking or alcohol.
Classically found in the ball of your foot between the third and fourth toes, a Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that may make you feel like you’re always standing on a small pebble or bunched sock. Typical causes include biomechanical deformities, such as flat or high arches, or spending too much time in high heels, but what they usually have in common is a tendency to repeatedly irritate or compress the affected nerve.
The earlier the problem is addressed, the more likely that conservative treatment options will prove effective at relieving pressure on the nerve and preventing pain. It may be as easy as switching to a more cushioned pair of shoes. More severe cases may require inserts, padding, taping, or custom orthotics, with surgery reserved for situations when less invasive procedures have not provided relief.
Also known as nerve entrapment or a pinched nerve, nerve compression may result in shooting or burning pain, numbness, tingling; on the legs, top or bottom of the foot. Unlike peripheral neuropathy, which is typically related to systemic damage from diabetes or other chemical factors, nerve entrapment usually has a physical cause, such as blunt trauma, repetitive activities, pressure from tight shoes, or swelling.
Treatment usually involves identifying the source of the entrapment and addressing it. In some cases, that may simply mean avoiding repetitive activities—professions and hobbies that involve lots of crouching, such as plumbing or gardening, are particularly susceptible. Other cases may require modifications in footwear. For the pain, oral anti-inflammatories, cortisone shots, or laser therapy may be effective. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove whatever obstacle is pressing on the nerve.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
A particular type of nerve compression, tarsal tunnel syndrome is compression of the nerve that runs through the tarsal tunnel in your ankle. It can be easily pinched due to problems like flat feet (which causes the ankle to tilt outward), swelling, or enlargements such as bone spurs or cysts. Successful treatment will target the underlying cause, with surgery sometimes being the best option when other methods fail or when structural problems get in the way.
Don’t Let Nerve Problems Keep You off Your Feet
If you think you’re suffering from any of the above conditions or some other nerve problem in your legs and feet, call Harvey R. Danciger, DPM for an appointment today. While nerve issues are frequently complex, with a host of possible causes, no one in Coachella Valley is better equipped to diagnose your condition. Once we know the cause, we can develop a treatment plan that’s just right for your specific situation and needs. Contact us through this website or dial 760-568-0108 to set up an appointment today at our Palm Desert, CA office.