Your nerves are such a finely tuned part of your daily life that you may never even think about them until something goes wrong. In addition to managing your bodily functions and motions, every little thing you sense, from a faint breeze to a hot surface, is the result of nerves passing information to your spinal cord and brain. Chronic nerve pain results from your sensory nerves becoming damaged or dysfunctional, sending incorrect signals that can lead to a variety of miserable sensations. Finding relief often depends on discovering the root cause of the condition.
Nerves are sensitive by nature and can be damaged in many different ways. The following are just a few potential causes of nerve damage in the feet and ankles:
Diabetes – Nerve damage (or neuropathy) occurs in about 1 in 4 people who have diabetes, and the odds of damage rise as the disease progresses. The feet are an especially likely target for diabetic neuropathy, as reduced blood flow caused by the disease makes providing nourishment to the nerves at the extremities more difficult.
Compression – Any circumstance that causes the nerves to be crushed or pinched can cause chronic pain. This can include pinched nerves, trauma, and conditions such as tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Cancer – There are several ways in which cancer can contribute to nerve pain. A tumor may press against or pinch nerves, nutritional deficiencies resulting from the disease can affect nerve health, and in some cases cancer treatments can produce nerve pain in some patients.
Chronic nerve pain does not always need to take the form of a “traditional” pain or ache. Feelings of numbness, tingling, burning, or prickling can also be experienced.
Certain injuries can crush or pinch a nerve; which can in turn create severe, chronic pain. In some cases, these nerves may need to be decompressed or un-pinched to fully resolve this issue and relieve pain.
Many times nerve damage can be entirely healed. In some cases there are plenty of treatments that can reduce your discomfort. The sooner symptoms are recognized and addressed, the more likely they can be treated without permanent effects.
Once the cause of the nerve distress is identified, steps can be taken to address it. If you have diabetes, this may include better regulation of blood sugar levels. Changes of medications or new prescriptions might also prove effective. Diabetes causes the nerves to swell which can lead to pinched nerves that can cause more nerve damage. If Dr. Powers un-pinches the tight nerve, then the burning pain and numbness can go away.
If the cause is more direct, such as a pinched or crushed nerve, physical therapy or surgery may be recommended to relieve the pressure on the injured area. Dr. Kevin Powers is certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons. If surgery is an option to be considered, he can fully guide you through what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure.
Chronic nerve pain, tingling, and numbness in your feet and ankles is never normal and should not be left to “go away on its own.” If you suspect a nerve condition, especially if you have diabetes, contact Kevin Powers, DPM right away. The right treatment now can prevent long-term consequences in the future. Schedule an appointment with our Bloomington, IN office by calling (812) 333-4422.
“Dr. Powers diagnosed my problem as a pinched nerve in my foot. I was in a lot of pain every day of my life before I was operated on. Three weeks after surgery I am fractionally pain free. My foot is still healing and with everyday it just keeps getting better and better. I am so happy Dr. Powers fixed my problem and I would recommend him to anyone with foot/ankle problems. The staff is also helpful and friendly every time I go in. Thank you Dr. Powers and staff!” -Jenny T.