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Neuropathy Specialist

in Los Angeles

Neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves and is caused by many things, including diabetes, certain medications, and chemotherapy. Neuropathy can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. If you are dealing with this condition, schedule an appointment today!

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What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a general term for nerve damage. It can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. The most common type of peripheral neuropathy is diabetic neuropathy. It happens when high blood sugar damages nerves. People with diabetes often have it in their feet and legs first, but it can affect the whole body.

Other types of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. This type is caused by some cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • Compression neuropathy. This type happens when nerves are compressed, such as by a herniated disc in your spine or carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrist.
  • Nutritional neuropathy. This type is caused by a lack of vitamins B1, B6, and B12.
  • Infectious neuropathy. This type is caused by viruses, such as HIV and herpes simplex virus, or bacteria, such as leprosy.
  • Traumatic neuropathy. This type is caused by an injury, such as a car accident or fall.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome. This rare disorder damages the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Neuropathy symptoms can differ depending on the kind and location of the affected nerves. Acute neuropathy refers to symptoms that arise quickly, whereas chronic neuropathy refers to symptoms that appear gradually over time.

Typical peripheral neuropathy warning signs and symptoms include:

  • Numbness or pins-and-needles sensations.
  • Pain that is electric-like, sharp, scorching, throbbing, or stabbing.
  • Sensational changes. Severe discomfort, particularly at night. Being incapable of feeling touch, pressure, warmth, or pain.
  • Loss of coordination and falling.
  • Excessive or insufficient sweating
  • Having no sensation in your hands and feet and believing you are wearing gloves or socks when you are not.
  • Having trouble walking or moving your arms or legs due to muscle weakness.
  • Twitching, cramping, or spasms of the muscles.
  • Inability to move a bodily portion (paralysis). Muscle tone decrease, a loss of motor control, or dropping objects out of your hand.

What causes peripheral neuropathy?

Various disorders bring on nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy. The following medical conditions can result in peripheral neuropathy:

  • Diabetes. This is the most frequent cause of neuropathy. More than half of diabetics will experience some form of neuropathy.
  • Inherited illnesses. Neuropathies that run in families include Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and other conditions.
  • Autoimmune conditions. These include vasculitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s disease.
  • Infections. These include specific viral or bacterial illnesses, such as HIV, leprosy, diphtheria, hepatitis B and C, shingles, Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus, and hepatitis B and C.
  • Bone marrow conditions. These include lymphoma, myeloma, a type of bone cancer, aberrant blood proteins called monoclonal gammopathies, and the uncommon condition amyloidosis.
  • Tumors. Cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign) growths may form on or press against nerves. Additionally, some malignancies connected to the immune system’s reaction can result in polyneuropathy.
  • Various illnesses. Among these are conditions affecting the kidneys, the liver, the connective tissues, and the thyroid (hypothyroidism).
  • Medications. Peripheral neuropathy can be brought on by some drugs, especially those used to treat cancer (chemotherapy).
  • Alcoholism. Vitamin deficits may result from poor dietary decisions made by alcoholics.
  • A nerve injury or pressure. Peripheral nerves can be severed or damaged by injuries, such as those caused by car accidents, slips and falls, or sports injuries. Nerve pressure can be brought on by wearing a cast, using crutches, or repeatedly performing an action like typing.
  • Exposure to poisons. Industrial chemicals and heavy metals like lead and mercury are toxic compounds.

How is peripheral neuropathy diagnosed?

Peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

  • Medical history: You will be asked about your symptoms, when they started, and any possible exposures to toxins or illnesses that could be causing the neuropathy.
  • Physical examination: A thorough neurological examination will be performed. This will assess your muscle strength, reflexes, sensation, and balance.
  • Diagnostic tests: These may include blood tests, nerve conduction studies, electromyography (EMG), MRI, or nerve biopsy. Blood tests can help rule out other conditions that can cause neuropathic symptoms.

How is peripheral neuropathy treated?

The best treatment for peripheral neuropathy will vary depending on the condition’s underlying cause. One of the most important things when treating peripheral neuropathy is identifying and addressing underlying causes. If there is an underlying condition that is causing the nerve damage, treating that condition is the first step in managing peripheral neuropathy.

For example, if diabetes is causing nerve damage, then strict blood sugar control is essential.

In addition to addressing any underlying causes, a few other general principles can be followed when treating peripheral neuropathy. These include:

  • Protecting the affected nerves: This can be done by avoiding injury to the affected area and using protective gear.
  • Improving blood circulation: This can be done through exercise, massage, and other methods of improving circulation.
  • Managing pain: There are a variety of medications that can be used to help ease the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. These include over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, as well as prescription medications.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat peripheral neuropathy. This is typically only an option when other treatment methods have failed, and the nerve damage is severe.

Peripheral neuropathy can be a difficult condition to live with. Dr. Albert Elhiani is a podiatrist who has dedicated his career to helping people like to get relief from their foot and ankle pain. He has the experience and expertise to help you find the right treatment for you.

Contact Eazy Foot & Ankle today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Elhiani! We’ll help you get on the road to recovery.