Nerve Pain

What Does Foot “Numbness” Really Mean?

Allison Bush Oct 3rd, 2012 (updated Mar 3rd, 2015)
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Diabetic nerve damage to the feet, sometimes called diabetic neuropathy, or more correctly, diabetic distal symmetric sensory polyneuropathy, frequently causes people with diabetes to lose sensation in their feet, which is usually describe as "numbness." Here are a few ways you can protect your feet.

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Protect your feet from injury
Protect your feet from injury

Any minor injury may allow infection to set in, which could lead to gangrene and amputation. This means wearing shoes at all times.

Source: Painful Diabetic Neuropathy, by Dr. Bill Quick

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Examine your feet often
Examine your feet often

Look at your feet (with your eyes, or someone else can look if it's difficult for you to do): every day! If new problems are seen, such as a blister or red spot, telephone your doctor's office promptly for advice; stay off your feet until you get other advice.

Source: Painful Diabetic Neuropathy, by Dr. Bill Quick

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Break in new shoes slowly
Break in new shoes slowly

Break in new shoes slowly, so that they don't accidentally cause blisters.

Source: Painful Diabetic Neuropathy, by Dr. Bill Quick

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Rotate your shoes
Rotate your shoes

Keep several pairs of shoes at work, or in the car, so you can rotate among them if your feet feel tired.

Source: Painful Diabetic Neuropathy, by Dr. Bill Quick

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Seek routine foot care
Seek routine foot care

Every patient with neuropathy resulting in anesthesia should be under the care of a podiatrist for routine foot care, such as trimming nails and calluses.

Source: Painful Diabetic Neuropathy, by Dr. Bill Quick

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Evaluate medication options
Evaluate medication options

Pain control with standard pain-relief medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen may be helpful in some cases. You should be on a regularly scheduled program of one of these, taking the medication several times every day. Medications that block pain can be very useful in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.