What is Neuropathy

Neuropathy is damage to the nerves which may be caused either by diseases or trauma to the nerves, chemotherapy, or diabetes, among other ways. Common symptoms of Neuropathy include: 

  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Balance Issues
  • Sharp-Shooting Pain
  • Electric Pain
  • Cramping 

A normal, healthy nerve has an outer coating that protects it and allows proper function.  This outer coating is living tissue.  Like all living tissue, this outer coating needs blood supply and oxygen.

In Neuropathy, the blood supply and oxygen to this outer coating begin to die off.  When this occurs, the living tissue is not given the nutrients it needs and begins to disintegrate.  The decreased protection around the nerve causes it to “short circuit” and stop functioning normally.

This “short circuit” cases the nerves to misfire, which is why people with Neuropathy experience an array of symptoms. The most common symptoms from this “misfiring” are burning, tingling, numbness, cramping, balance issues, and sharp-shooting pain. 

There are many nerves in the feet and they all have different functions.  There is a nerve that helps you balance, another that helps your feet feel the surroundings, a nerve that senses burning, pain, and tingling amongst other functions.  Damage to the outer coating in any of these can cause problems with balance, numbness, tingling, pain etc.

The real problem with Neuropathy is that it is degenerative…it gets worse with time.  Sometimes it’s slow to start, and other times its rapid. Unfortunately, all cases eventually accelerate to point that patients often times end up with a cane, walker and even into a wheelchair, which affects their quality of life.

The importance with Neuropathy is to get a proper evaluation to determine the stage it is in and can it be helped before it is too late.