Peripheral neuropathy may be chronic (a long term condition where symptoms begin subtly and progress slowly) or acute (sudden onset, rapid progress, and slow resolution). Acute neuropathies demand urgent diagnosis. Motor nerves (that control muscles), sensory nerves, or autonomic nerves (that control automatic functions such as heart rate, body temperature, and breathing), may be affected. More than one type of nerve may be affected at the same time. Peripheral neuropathies may be classified according to the type of nerve predominantly involved, or by the underlying cause. Where the cause is unknown it is described as idiopathic neuropathy.
Neuropathy may cause painful cramps, fasciculations (fine muscle twitching), muscle loss, bone degeneration, and changes in the skin, hair, and nails. Additionally, motor neuropathy may cause impaired balance and coordination or, most commonly, muscle weakness; sensory neuropathy may cause numbness to touch and vibration, reduced position sense causing poorer coordination and balance, reduced sensitivity to temperature change and pain, spontaneous tingling or burning pain, or skin allodynia (severe pain from normally nonpainful stimuli, such as light touch); and autonomic neuropathy may produce diverse symptoms.
The four cardinal patterns of peripheral neuropathy are polyneuropathy, mononeuropathy, mononeuritis multiplex and autonomic neuropathy. The most common form is (symmetrical) peripheral polyneuropathy, which mainly affects the feet and legs.
Common symptoms associated with damage to the motor nerve are muscle weakness, cramps, and spasms. Loss of balance and coordination may also occur. Damage to the sensory nerve can produce tingling, numbness, and pain. Pain associated with this nerve is described in various ways such as the following: sensation of wearing an invisible "glove" or "sock", burning, freezing, or electric-like, extreme sensitivity to touch.
Common qualities of neuropathic pain includes burning or coldness, "pins and needles" sensations, numbness and itching.
Diabetes is the leading known cause of neuropathy, so if you are losing feeling in your feet, have tingling or other sensations that accompany neuropathy, you should get checked for diabetes.
Dr. Fosdick specializes in the treatment and care of the neuopathic foot. He can treat pains that are like pins and needles as well as set up a maintenance routine for feet that have lost much of their feeling.
Dr. Fosdick has found that High Powered Laser Therapy is a wonderful means of treatment for neuropathy, including diabetic neuropathy, radiculopathy and post herpatic neuralgia. If you suspect that you have neuropathy, bring your feet in to Dr. Fosdick.