Nerve health and nerve pain are serious matters. Damage to the nerves (aka neuropathy) can not only have a significant influence on your comfort, but on your mobility and ability to perform daily activities as well.
At Midwest Podiatry Centers, our mission for patients living with neuropathy in the feet and ankles is to:
- Relieve and/or manage symptoms as best as possible
- Slow or prevent progression of nerve damage
- Help our patients continue to enjoy doing the things they love
And this brings us to an important question: can neuropathy actually be reversed?
Neuropathy Has Many Causes and Multiple Treatments
It would be extremely challenging to say that all cases of neuropathy can be reversed. We can say, however, that more and more people are finding full relief from neuropathy symptoms as treatments advance.
The full results of neuropathy treatment will often depend on the cause(s) of the condition, a patient’s medical history, and additional factors.
For example, tingling, numbness, and/or pain that is caused by a compressed nerve can often be relieved by a surgical release. Take away the cause of pressure on the nerve and the matter may be taken care of as easily as that.
However, other causes of neuropathy – especially in the feet – are not always so direct.
The effects of diabetes and poor circulation can slowly ravage the nerves over time. Nerve damage from these causes can be much more challenging (and sometimes impossible) to fully reverse, meaning that neuropathy may continue to persist on at least some level. Approaches to treatment under these circumstances may be more continual and long-term.
But if a case of neuropathy is persistent and progressive, that never means nothing can be done to address symptoms and improve your long-term outlook. Improvement can frequently be achieved, and is always worth fighting for.
Treatments for Neuropathy
The first step on the path to neuropathy treatment will always be fully evaluating and understanding the symptoms and causes for each case.
The best approach for a patient who is experiencing constant, sharp pain will likely differ from that for a patient who mostly feels numbness. Each case comes with different factors and concerns that will influence the overall treatment approach.
During an evaluation, please do not be surprised if we also ask you a number of questions, including when and how your symptoms most affect your life. The more we know, the better we can understand your personal needs and adjust our recommended treatment plan appropriately.
A treatment plan for neuropathy can consist of one or more parts. It might include direct treatments, long-term treatments, certain changes to lifestyle, and other factors.
Recommendations might include, but are not limited to:
Resting the affected area
For certain conditions that are mostly tied to overuse and minor trauma, such as neuromas, providing your feet the opportunity to rest and recover on their own can be a simple yet essential course of action.
We may also recommend the use of cold therapy, massage, and or pain-relieving medications to provide further relief during recovery. Please make sure to follow these recommendations as instructed.
Making changes to footwear, activity, and other lifestyle factors
Neuropathy symptoms can often be triggered or activated by certain choices. Shoes that force excess weight and pressure to vulnerable areas are one example, as well as workouts that cause too much repetitive impact.
Simple changes that help better accommodate your feet can make a significant difference. We can help you make changes that affect what you love doing as little as possible. Often, a change to your routine or or equipment can make a positive impact while keeping you active and moving.
Improvements in diet and body weight can also have an impact on many nerve-related issues. Ultimately, trends toward better overall health and improved activity are well worth seeking.
Using custom orthotics
When footwear on its own can’t fully accommodate needed shifts in weight and alignment, we may recommend custom orthotic inserts to provide exact levels of cushioning and corrective support for vulnerable areas.
Not only may custom orthotics provide greater comfort, but they may also help reduce the risk of sores and damage developing in areas that are numb due to advanced neuropathy.
As noted earlier, nerves that have been compressed or pinched may be relieved through a surgical release. In more severe cases, where a nerve has been greatly injured or severed, it might be preferable to remove the nerve entirely.
Treating Neuropathy Now and Through the Future
If we can fully reverse your neuropathy symptoms, we will certainly recommend all within our power to do so. But if your symptoms are not fully reversible, it is still crucial to manage those symptoms now and slow or halt their progression over time.
We help patients in all situations, providing direct treatment, long-term care, and preventative planning – and we will be more than happy to help you, too.
Even if your symptoms feel mild and manageable at the moment, there is no better time for you to start addressing nerve-related issues than now. Call (612) 788-8778 to schedule an appointment with us, or fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach us electronically.