Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder of the nervous system. People who have it may have constant or frequent pain and discomfort. Some forms of neuropathy are curable, while some are not. Regardless, there are plenty of ways to manage and prevent future damage to nerves.
What Is Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy happens when there is damage to the peripheral nerves, especially in the hands and feet. Other areas of the body may be affected as well, according to MayoClinic. Traumatic injuries, metabolism issues, toxins, genetics, and infections may all cause this disorder. The most common cause, however, is diabetes.
In the nervous system, there are three types of nerves. Sensory nerves take in sensations, such as pain and temperature. Motor nerves carry signals to muscles so that the muscles move. Autonomic nerves control bodily functions, such as blood pressure and the bladder. Each type of nerve will have slightly different symptoms.
Sensory nerves will have numbness or tingling that starts localized and may become widespread. An oversensitivity to touch may also be present. One of the most common symptoms from sensory nerves is a burning, freezing, stabbing, or throbbing pain. Motor nerve neuropathy will likely present itself as muscle weakness or paralysis. Autonomic nerves will exhibit symptoms like heat intolerance, changed sweating patterns, issues with the digestive and/or urinary systems, and changes in blood pressure.
Neuropathy can affect nerves in different ways. In few cases, peripheral neuropathy will affect only one nerve (called mononeuropathy). Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of mononeuropathy. When the neuropathy affects two or more nerves in one or more areas, it is called multiple neuropathy or polyneuropathy. Most people have polyneuropathy.
When any sort of unusual pain or tingling presents itself, it is best to seek medical attention. The sooner neuropathy is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated, and damage stopped or reversed. Once diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe painkillers to relieve pain. Certain therapies may be used to stop the neuropathy from spreading, and surgery may be needed to reduce pressure on a nerve.
Shoes for Neuropathy
People whose peripheral neuropathy affects mainly the feet may find that regular shoes are uncomfortable and prevent them from getting out of the house often. The feet are a common place for neuropathy to begin because of how much stress is placed upon a person’s feet. For this reason, it can be important to invest in a pair of shoes that combat the symptoms of neuropathy.
Each person will respond to a pair of shoes differently than someone else. In any case, there are some overarching traits a person should look for in finding shoes for their neuropathy. Shoes should have good traction, and the soles should relieve pressure and stress on the feet. Breathability may be necessary for people who are sensitive to heat. Some people may need ankle support in the shoes if the damage is spread out far enough.
Shoes made of a soft leather or some other stretchable material can provide flexibility and support while helping to decrease heat trapped within the shoe. A wide toe box is preferable so that toes are not constantly squished together. The insole should provide proper arch support and shock resistance; it may become one of the most important factors in finding a good shoe.
Deciding to get a pair of shoes designed for this condition can be a good choice for a lot of people. They can help prevent symptoms and help improve overall health of the feet. Before making any decisions, a it is always advisable to discuss options with a podiatrist (a doctor who specializes in the feet and ankles) or a neurologist (a doctor who specializes in the nervous system) who is familiar with foot neuropathy.