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Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to your peripheral nerves, the nerves in your hands & feet. Damage to these nerves interrupts the important sensory information pathway between the limbs and the brain, resulting in changes to what you feel. While nerve damage can affect any part of the body, in the lower limbs the primary cause for neuropathy is diabetes.

What causes neuropathy?

In diabetes, it is the prolonged exposure to high levels of blood sugar that result in nerve damage. It is estimated that almost half of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy. Other causes of neuropathy can include:

  • Nerve injury

  • Infection

  • Alcoholism

  • Systemic conditions, autoimmune and other diseases

  • Exposure to toxins

  • Side-effects of particular medications

  • Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy come on gradually and worsen over time. They affect the feet and toes and can include:

  • Numbness

  • Tingling

  • Burning

  • Pins and needles

  • Reduced ability to detect hot and cold sensations

  • Pain

  • Muscle weakness

  • Impaired reflexes

  • Absence of sensation

Any interference with the ability to feel places the affected person at an increased risk of complications such as infection and ulceration.

How is it treated?

Because damage to the nerves is generally irreversible, it’s all about managing the symptoms, preventing their onset if possible and delaying their progression once they start. With diabetes, this is done by keeping your blood sugar in check and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

It’s also important to take care of the symptoms that neuropathy is having on your feet. If you’re experiencing numbness that is limiting your ability to detect any cuts or wounds, a daily check of your feet will greatly reduce your risk of infection and complications. Other safety measures you can take include:

  • Checking your feet daily

  • Wearing shoes outside the house and slippers inside the house

  • Staying aware of any new or unusual symptoms (to report to your foot specialist and GP)

  • Wearing good, comfortable shoes

  • Keeping your feet clean

  • Being careful when cutting toenails to not accidentally damage the skin

  • Managing any other conditions that affect sensation, such as callus and dry skin

If you do notice anything abnormal, it’s important that you report it to us at Reflex Foot Care and your GP. We perform annual foot screenings that assess your sensation. This must be done regularly due to the progressive nature of neuropathy, so you stay aware of all of your risks and how to best manage them.

Some medications can assist in reducing the symptoms and exercises may be prescribed to improve function, stability and strength.


Reflexology

Are you interested in trying Reflexology but unsure what is involved? Would this holistic therapy benefit you?

Well, while Reflexology is not a cure all magic wand (if only!) Reflexology has been found to have many medicinal values for numerous illnesses and conditions.

Reflexology uses specific pressure techniques applied to the feet using the thumbs and fingers. Our internal organs and structures are mapped out in miniature on our feet and this is where the pressure is applied with focus dependant on the ailments or conditions you suffer from.

The other great reason I love Reflexology so much is, it is non invasive and helps restore the natural balance of the body, which in turn restores harmony!

For example, Stress and Anxiety are so prevalent in our day to day lives, we almost think of it as normal, but it is not! Reflexology is great for managing stress, but did you know it is also good for

  • Sleep disorders
  • Back pain
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Migraine and headaches
  • Digestive problems and IBS
  • Fibromyalgia

The benefits to using Reflexology for Fibromyalgia for example are with chronic symptoms, overall pain factor and relentless fatigue, Fibromyalgia is one condition that can greatly benefit from Reflexology as the complete relaxation gives enormous relief to this debilitating condition.

Reflexology is also beneficial for Plantar Fasciitis. The massage stretches and relieves the Plantar Fascia, the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes, that I mentioned in my other blog! During your massage treatment, the ligaments and muscles of the foot are relaxed and loosened, along with your calf muscles, so please wear loose clothes!

Reflexology can also help boost your immune system, helping to rid you of winter colds and flu, due to the stimulation and pressure placed on the toes, those pressure points are manipulated with expertise to connect with the sinuses and rid you of nasty toxins!

So if you think Reflexology could be for you, six sessions are recommended to truly reap the benefits of this amazing therapy, but of course you are more than welcome to just the one!

Kindest regards,

Hayley, your foot lady x