Neuropathy is the disease or damage to the nerves. Nerve damage or disease caused by diabetes to the leg is known as diabetic neuropathy. When you have diabetes, you may be very familiar with nerve pain and damage in your legs and feet, which is called peripheral neuropathy. The farthest reaches – the periphery – of your body are served by peripheral nerves. These nerves are the first to be affected these nerves also happen to be the longest in your body.
The symptoms of the diabetic neuropathy leg are as under:-
* Burning or tingling in your legs, feet and toes.
* A feeling of “pins and needles”.
* Cramping or pain.
* Loss of sensation and or numbness.
* No sensitivity to cold and heat.
* Feeling of muscle weakness in your feet.
* Unable to walk due to loss of co-ordination or balance.
For your feet diabetes can mean double trouble. First your feet is deprived of oxygen and nutrients owing to reduction of blood flow to your feet this makes it more difficult for cuts, blisters and sores to heal. Secondly peripheral neuropathy, which means damage to nerves, can cause numbness to your feet. You are likely to get sores and infections as you are unable to feel cuts and blisters. The sores, if neglected or untreated can become deeply infected which may eventually lead to amputation. It is a sad reality that, in people with diabetics, the surgical removal of lower leg, toe or foot is 10 times more likely than others without diabetes. Sharp pain in your feet can be caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Even the slightest touch may become excruciatingly painful for you, sometimes even the sheets on your bed cause much pain and anguish.
Here are some tips to protect your feet.
* Daily check up of both feet.
* Wash feet with warm and not hot water.
* Ensure that your shoe fits well.
* Barefoot walking is best avoided. You should always wear shoes or slippers.
* Consult your doctor, if you notice pain, tingling, feeling of pins and needles; numbness or any other unusual sign.
* Keep the skin soft and dry. Cracked skin makes it easier for bacteria to get under your skin and the resultant infections are difficult to heal.
* The high levels of glucose make the skin dry and cracked.
* Try non-impact exercise such as yoga, cycling, swimming and tai chi which are increasingly becoming popular.
* Fix corns, hammertoes and bunions.
* Consider fitting orthotics.
* In case of diabetic nerve pain being unbearable or the muscles becoming weak from nerve damage and a loss of balance, the podiatrist can provide you with shoe inserts to support your feet.
Control your blood sugar. Managing your diabetes well is the best treatment for nerve pain. The chances of having symptoms of peripheral neuropathy tingling, burning and pain are lowered with strict blood sugar control along with intensive insulin therapy.
The treatment of diabetic neuropathy leg is as follows
* Depending on your symptoms and the severity you have many options to treat diabetic nerve pain. For some people undertaking frequent walks, warm baths can relieve mild symptoms of peripheral nerve pain.
* Pain medications can be used control to pain. FDA approved medications are Cymbalta and Lyrica, however, your doctor might suggest other treatments that can be equally effective to control pain.
* Other treatments include creams or gels containing lidocaine. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin and aspirin. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Anti-depressants such as Norpramin or Tofranil, Amitril. Anti-seizure medications like Neurontin, Lamictal, Tegretol, and Dilantin.
Treatment with Alpha-lipoic acid may help in reducing pain, itching, burning, and tingling and numbness in people who have nerve damage.
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