By Mark Whitesides, DPM

Have you ever experienced these symptoms?

  • Burning in your feet?
  • Electricity shooting down your leg to your foot?
  • Electric pain you feel only in your feet?
  • A numbing sensation in your feet?

These are some of the symptoms that our patients at the Southwest Austin Foot and Ankle Clinic often describe to our podiatric physicians. The most common diagnosis associated with these symptoms is peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is the disease of nerves that stem from the central nervous system. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nerves include feet, ankles, and toes.  Peripheral neuropathy can occur from many different disease processes:

  • Diabetes: It is believed that excess sugar attacks the peripheral nerves which may cause these symptoms.
  • Excess intake of alcoholic beverages over several years may also lead to neuropathies.
  • Injuries or arthritis in the spine often lead to shooting pain down the leg to the foot.
  • Less commonly, symptoms identified in the ankle, foot, and toes may be associated with the be associated with diseases of the brain or spinal cord.
  • There are also a number of other causes of peripheral neuropathy, such as exposure to excessive levels of heavy metals or deficiencies of Vitamin B.

Treatment of peripheral neuropathy depends on the cause. Often, symptoms are irreversible. Adding Vitamin B1 and B12 to the diet may help some patients. Diet modification may help people with diabetes who identify their symptoms and seek treatment when they first experience them. Patients with painful versions of neuropathy can often get relief from certain medicine or combination of medicines.

Come see the skilled and compassionate doctors at the Southwest Austin Foot and Ankle Clinic with any unusual or painful sensations. Our outstanding team will help you identify the source of neuropathic symptoms and outline treatment options with you.