Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Neuropathy comes from the root word neuro which means nerve, and pathologic, which means diseased, or resulting from disease. Neuropathy is a relatively generic term, which literally means a disease of the nerve(s), or a malfunction of the nerve(s). There are many different types and causes of neuropathy.
The type of neuropathy that Dr. Tompkins has determined you have is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy . This is a disease process that affects the nerves in your arms/hands and legs/feet caused by the long-term effects of diabetes mellitus. The term process is used because peripheral neuropathy is a progressive disease that slowly causes the nerve(s) to function improperly. Early symptoms of neuropathy often vary and can demonstrate degrees of numbness, tingling, and burning. Often time's patients will describe cold or warm sensations, constrictive feelings, or a feeling of their socks being "balled-up" in their shoes. This process of developing neuropathy varies with each individual person, but many times is related to poor diabetic management and blood sugar control.
There is much about this condition that doctors and scientists don't understand. But what we do know is end-stage neuropathy results in complete anesthesia or no feeling whatsoever in the extremities. This level of neuropathy is very dangerous as patients loose any ability to 'feel' the environment. Therefore, something simple-like a small stone in the bottom of your shoe-may cause a bad sore and terrible infection before it is even recognized. End-stage neuropathy or anesthesia is associated with severe foot ulcerations, infections, and osteomyelitis (bone infection). And many times lead to amputations of the feet and/or legs.
THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to limit the progress of your neuropathy is to manage your diabetes properly. You must work closely with the medical doctor who is treating your diabetes. If you do not have a doctor-get one immediately! Maintaining your appropriate diet, taking your medication as prescribed, monitoring your blood sugar, and getting sufficient exercise are paramount to preventing the uncontrolled progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Dr. Tompkins will see you periodically to check the nerve condition and circulation of your feet and legs. He will also provide any treatment necessary to limit the possibility of developing these complications from occurring. DO NOT attempt to treat any foot ailment on your own. If you have any problem before your next scheduled appointment, call the office immediately to be seen earlier.
Follow these instructions to limit the possibility of developing foot problems associated with neuropathy:
Report any changes in appearance or feeling of your feet or legs during your periodic visits.
Work closely with your medical doctor. Follow his/her instruction(s) carefully.
If you do not see a medical doctor routinely, mention this to Dr. Tompkins immediately.
Inspect your feet EVERYDAY-use a mirror if needed to see the bottom!
DO NOT perform any treatment on your feet i.e. no 'bathroom surgery'!! Call for an appointment, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
Use a good moisturizer (Eucerin©) on your feet and legs daily after bathing.
Wear good, supportive shoes-ask Dr. Tompkins if unsure.
Don't wear the same pair of shoes all-day, everyday. Alter your shoe gear periodically.
Wear good, clean, socks everyday. White, cotton socks are the best. Thorlo© is Dr. Tompkins preferred brand.
Limit walking barefoot and NEVER outside. Use house slippers or sandals when you take your shoes off.
Calluses & Corns
Sclerosing Injection Treatments