Do your feet tingle or feel numb? The nerves in your feet come from the lower back. Any pressure or chemical change can cause a tingling sensation in your feet. If you are feeling unusual sensations in your feet, it can be an early sign of a vascular or neurologic problem. Sometimes the feet may feel like they are falling asleep or going numb. Others may feel a burning sensation.

November is Diabetes Awareness month, and diabetes is one of the most common medical conditions with which tingly feet can be associated. Diabetes isn’t curable, but it can be effectively managed to prevent other serious complications. It is important to see a Podiatrist to determine the exact cause and best treatment plan if you are experiencing numb or tingling feet.

For those living with diabetes  the following foot problems can lead to serious complications:

When diabetes is poorly managed or left untreated, it can lead to nerve damage also known as diabetic neuropathy. This can develop slowly and worsen over time. Many people have diabetic neuropathy long before they are diagnosed with diabetes. When it affects the arms, hands, legs, and feet, it is known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Three different groups of nerves can be affected by diabetic neuropathy:
  • Sensory nerves: enable people to feel pain, temperature, and other sensations
  • Motor nerves: control the muscles and give them their strength and tone
  • Autonomic nerves: allow the body to perform certain involuntary functions, such as sweating

Causes- The nerve damage that characterizes diabetic peripheral neuropathy is more common in patients with poorly managed diabetes. However, even patients living with diabetes who have excellent blood sugar (glucose) control can develop diabetic neuropathy. There are several theories as to why this occurs, including the possibility that high blood glucose or constricted blood vessels produce damage to the nerves.

Symptoms- Depending on the type(s) of nerves involved, one or more symptoms may be present in diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

For sensory neuropathy:
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet
  • Pain or discomfort in the feet or legs, including prickly, sharp pain, or burning feet
For motor neuropathy:
  • Muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone in the feet and lower legs
  • Loss of balance
  • Changes in foot shape that can lead to areas of increased pressure
For autonomic neuropathy:
  • Dry feet
  • Cracked skin

Treatment for diabetic neuropathy may include the following:

  1. Controlled blood sugar levels
  2. Medications to relieve symptoms
  3. Physical Therapy to help reduce balance problems
  4. MLS LASER THERAPY at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center

MLS LASER THERAPY uses concentrated light energy to stimulate the body’s own healing process. It is pain-free and can reduce pain and inflammation for 85-90% of patients who receive the treatments. Margi is one of the patients who found relief from her neuropathy symptoms through MLS Laser Therapy. She said her legs and feet felt like they were falling asleep and would keep her awake at night. After her 2nd or 3rd laser treatment at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center, she noticed quite a bit of difference and was able to start sleeping through the night!

Prevention- You play a vital role in minimizing the risk of developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy and in preventing its possible consequences. Some important preventive measures include:

  • Keep blood sugar levels under control.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes to avoid getting sores.
  • Inspect your feet every day. If you notice any cuts, redness, blisters, or swelling, see your foot and ankle surgeon right away. This can prevent problems from becoming worse.
  • Visit your foot and ankle surgeon on a regular basis for an examination to help prevent foot complications of diabetes.
  • Have periodic visits with your primary care physician or endocrinologist. The foot and ankle surgeon works together with these and other providers to prevent and treat complications from diabetes.

If you are experiencing any tingling or numbness in your feet, contact Dr. JedErickson or Kylin Kovac at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center. They have extensive training in the challenges of diabetic patients in performing limb salvage and diabetic wound care. Idaho Foot & Ankle Center brought MLS Laser Therapy to the office as an alternative and effective treatment for those struggling with neuropathy. For more information on the benefits and conditions treated with MLS Laser Therapy, click here! At Idaho Foot and Ankle Center, you will receive the highest quality of care!

Some content provided by THE ACFAS.