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Phone: 541-776-3338
Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, LLC
Call Us 541-776-3338
1904 EAST BARNETT RD., MEDFORD, OR 97504
Toll Free 844-899-6826

Understanding Neuropathy

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Many people consider summer to be the best time of year for myriad reasons. If you take a moment to think about them, you’ll quickly realize most are sensory-based. We feel the warmth of sunbeams washing down on us, savor the taste of fresh berries, and “ooh” and “ah” at the annual Red, White, and Boom! fireworks display to celebrate the 4th of July.

Nerve PainYour nervous system enables you to have those experiences… along with every other one in your life! In addition, this essential body system controls your motor functions. Essentially, your nerves run messages to and from your brain so you can do, think, and feel everything you do. When the system is working, we don’t give this a second thought (which our nerves also allow us to do). If problems arise, it could certainly be a case of peripheral neuropathy.

Neuropathy is a cause of concern no matter where it happens in the body, but nerve damage in the feet is especially concerning for a couple of reasons. First, feet endure tremendous force loads on a daily basis and are already at heightened risk for injury and other medical conditions. Second, feet are not conveniently visible. When not encased in socks and shoes, they are still the furthest points on our bodies from our eyes. This means it takes extra vigilance to catch certain issues that can potentially become serious medical emergencies.

When peripheral nerves—the ones that record and communicate information back to the central nervous system (the spinal column and brain)—are damaged, a tiny sore or cut can break down over time. Left untreated—since peripheral nerves weren’t able to tell the brain there’s a problem—these wounds can ultimately become gangrenous, which is tissue death that can only be “treated” with the use of amputation.

Whereas neuropathy is frequently associated with diabetes—and rightfully so given that 60-70 percent of individuals with diabetes will also have nerve damage at some point during their lifetime—there are several other potential sources, including:

  • Alcoholism – This can be attributed to the malnutrition seen in many alcoholic individuals.
  • Arthritis – There are many forms of arthritis, and neuropathy can be caused by certain ones.
  • Injury Acute injuries sometimes damage peripheral nerves and cause problems.
  • Neurological disorders – Conditions like fibromyalgia and spina bifida increase the risk factor of this issue.
  • Certain medications – Some chemotherapy drugs, for example, have nerve damage as a potential side effect.
  • Heredity – Family history and genetic disposition sometimes lead to peripheral neuropathy.

If nerve damage in your feet is causing problems like burning, tingling, or painful sensations, and especially if you are unable to feel anything at all, come see us here at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle. We will work to establish the source of the neuropathy, and then create an effective treatment plan for you. In the event diabetes is responsible, we will work with you to create a diabetic foot care plan to keep your lower limbs safe.

Contact us online for more information or simply give us a call at (541) 776-3338 and request your appointment with our Medford, OR podiatrist office.

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