Living with diabetes blog

Foot protection key with peripheral neuropathy

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E. June 30, 2010

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy. It damages nerves in the feet, legs, arms, and hands.

Symptoms include:

  • Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain, altered sensations, and changes in temperature, especially in the feet
  • A tingling, burning or prickling sensation that begins in your toes or the balls of your feet and gradually spreads upward
  • Sharp, jabbing or electric shock-like pain that’s worse at night
  • Extreme sensitivity to the lightest touch
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Muscle weakness and difficulty walking
  • Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone/joint pain
  • Loss all feeling in the affected limb/limbs (for example if you get a small rock in your shoe, you might not feel it and continue walking on it, causing further injury to your foot)

You have to look out for yourself, and at times do things that aren't always socially acceptable. A patient told me he went to a house party and was asked to take his shoes off at the door; he complied and proceeded to step on a toothpick and injure his foot. This led to the development of a foot ulcer and a long process of medical appointments and wound care management. It's important to protect your feet from injury, especially if you have little or no sensation in them. This means wearing good shoes or slippers, even indoors.

In the Southwest, patients should shake out their shoes before they put them on just in case a scorpion crawled in.

Foot protection is the key issue with peripheral neuropathy. Please share your stories regarding peripheral neuropathy.



June 30, 2010