To help you manage peripheral neuropathy:
- Take care of your feet, especially if you have diabetes. Check daily for blisters, cuts or calluses. Wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes. You can use a semicircular hoop, which is available in medical supply stores, to keep bedcovers off hot or sensitive feet.
- Exercise. Regular exercise, such as walking three times a week, can reduce neuropathy pain, improve muscle strength and help control blood sugar levels. Gentle routines such as yoga and tai chi might also help.
- Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking can affect circulation, increasing the risk of foot problems and other neuropathy complications.
- Eat healthy meals. Good nutrition is especially important to ensure that you get essential vitamins and minerals. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein in your diet.
- Avoid excessive alcohol. Alcohol can worsen peripheral neuropathy.
- Monitor your blood glucose levels. If you have diabetes, this will help keep your blood glucose under control and might help improve your neuropathy.
Manage underlying conditions
The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to manage medical conditions that put you at risk, such as diabetes, alcoholism or rheumatoid arthritis.
Make healthy lifestyle choices
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to keep nerves healthy. Protect against vitamin B-12 deficiency by eating meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy foods and fortified cereals. If you're vegetarian or vegan, fortified cereals are a good source of vitamin B-12, but talk to your doctor about B-12 supplements.
- Exercise regularly. With your doctor's OK, try to get at least 30 minutes to one hour of exercise at least three times a week.
- Avoid factors that may cause nerve damage, including repetitive motions, cramped positions, exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking and overindulging in alcohol.
Aug. 09, 2017
- Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm. Accessed April 2, 2016.
- What is peripheral neuropathy. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy. https://www.foundationforpn.org/what-is-peripheral-neuropathy/. Accessed April 2, 2016.
- Rutkove SB. Overview of polyneuropathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 2, 2016.
- Feldman EL, et al. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2016.
- Riggin ER. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 2, 2016.