Neuropathy is a common side effect of diabetes, but other conditions can cause it as well. Because you may have numbness and a loss of sensation, neuropathy can affect your balance and your gait and even increase your risk of dangerous infections. At Achilles Foot Care, with locations in Delmont and Monroeville, Pennsylvania, Dr. Patrick D. Roberto uses advanced techniques to diagnose the cause and extent of neuropathy, providing state-of-the-art treatments to help you lead a healthier, more comfortable life. Book an appointment online today or call one of his two locations.
A neuropathy is a condition that causes nerve-related problems like numbness, tingling, pins-and-needles sensations, or lack of sensation. Neuropathies usually arise as a result of nerve damage, including damage caused by traumatic injuries and by chronic diseases like diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Sometimes, a neuropathy can develop as a result of a repetitive-use injury that compresses a nerve.
Neuropathy in the feet is a common complication of diabetes, developing when high glucose (blood sugar) levels damage the nerve endings in the feet. People with diabetic neuropathy are more prone to serious infections (also called ulcers) because they often can’t feel injuries in their early stages, allowing the injuries to progress to more serious stages. Diabetic neuropathy increases your risk of falling since it’s more difficult to feel where you’re placing your feet.
Neuropathies also are the result of such autoimmune and other disorders as:
Morton’s neuroma is a condition that causes inflammation and irritation of the nerves in the fleshy portion of the foot just below the toes (the ball of the foot). Often, the neuroma will feel like a ball or knot of tissue when you press the area. Neuromas can also form in your heel, and they’re usually caused by compression and ongoing irritation of nerve tissue.
Dr. Roberto can diagnose some neuropathies with a physical exam and a medical history, but you may need to have an X-ray or other imaging tests to rule out possible causes and to help identify the source of your nerve symptoms. Dr. Roberto might do other tests using special probes or other devices to identify the specific nerve pathway that’s involved, and even to pinpoint the exact source of the problem.
When a neuropathy is related to an underlying issue like thyroid disease or diabetes, treatment will first focus on improving the treatment or management of that disease. Dr. Roberto might give you medication to help relieve pain or to block nerve signals that trigger your symptoms. Custom orthotics can be very helpful in relieving pressure on your nerves, and nerve stimulation techniques might be useful for some types of neuropathy. In those cases where nerve symptoms are caused by a tumor or compression, Dr. Roberto might recommend surgery.