Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy can cause moderate to excruciating pain in the feet, legs or hands, numbness and loss of sensation.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is diabetes-caused nerve damage, affecting the arms, hands, legs and/or feet. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy can affect the sensory nerves, autonomic nerves and motor nerves, and usually develops slowly, worsening over time. As many as 50 percent of older, Type 2 diabetic patients develop Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Some of these patients will suffer extremely painful symptoms, most often in the legs and feet. A serious complication of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is amputation.  When the nerve damage causes a loss of sensation in the extremity, the patient becomes more prone to skin ulcers, which can become infected. This can quickly lead to the loss of a foot or leg—or even a life.

Causes and Symptoms of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Poorly managed diabetes is most often the cause of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, however some patients with well-controlled blood sugar can also develop DPN. Those with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy can experience any of the following:

  • Dry, cracked skin;
  • Changes in foot shape, leading to increased pressure;
  • Balance issues;
  • Loss of muscle tone in the lower legs and feet;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Pain in the feet or legs, described as “sharp,” “burning,” and “excruciating;”
  • Tingling in the feet, and
  • Numbness in the affected extremity.

Diagnosing Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Simple in-office tests on the feet and legs to assess your reflexes, ability to feel light touch and ability to feel vibration will be performed, and a complete medical history will be taken. Additional neurological tests may be ordered if another medical condition could be causing the symptoms and pain you are experiencing.

Treatment of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

At Seattle Pain we recognize that getting your pain under control is of utmost importance, in order to allow you to return to your normal life. The Seattle Pain specialists often combine non-traditional with traditional treatments, and could use one or more of the following to treat your Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy:

  • Membrane-stabilizing drugs which can calm the irritated nerves. These drugs include Elavil, Neurontin, Tramadol, Lyrica and Cymbalta. Unfortunately, these drugs can have serious side-effects.
  • Pain relievers such as opiates and NSAIDs, although Opioids are not generally the drug of choice for treating Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy.

Are you suffering from painful nerve damage in your legs and feet?

Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists

We understand that Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy pain can be debilitating. At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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