Do your feet tingle and burn, usually worse at night? Do your feet feel numb? Do you feel like your balance is off recently? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" you may have peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition affecting millions of Americans. The most likely cause of neuropathy is Diabetes. If you are not diabetic other causes include chemotherapy drugs, low back injury or surgery, or exposure to certain chemicals. If none of these apply we call it idiopathic, which is the medical term for, "we don't know the cause." Approximately 15-30% of all cases of neuropathy are idiopathic.
Due to the complex nature of the disease and the varying ways it affects people the treatments can be very varied. Also, the best care for this is by a team of doctors, including a neurologist, an endocrinologist, pain management doctor, back doctor and of course a podiatrist. This complicated system, with many different doctors giving patients a lot of different advice, can lead to confusion.
A new support group has started at the Magnolia Health Center, located at 1507 S. Tuttle Ave. to help sort out all of this confusion. I had the opportunity to speak to this dynamic and informative group. I was there to teach but I think I learned more than anyone else. It was fascinating for me to listen to patients discuss all the difficulties they have had with this disease. They discussed the multitude of doctors, the frustration, the joys of treatments that finally helped.
Anyone suffering from peripheral neuropathy should know you don't have to go through it alone. The meetings are held the 3rd Friday of every month at the Magnolia Health Center, located at 1507 S. Tuttle Ave.
Don't forget that if you do have neuropathy you should not be cutting your own toenails. Your insurance will cover nail care for you. You should also check your feet daily for any redness, swelling, wounds or blisters. These can be signs of serious issues but without pain you may not notice them.
In the end, a neuropathic patient must be very aware of their feet and use their eyes and their mind to compensate for the loss of sensation.
Committed to your health,
Dr. Craig Conti
Sarasota Foot Care Center