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What Is Good For Nerve Pain In The Foot

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Sciatica Foot Pain Exercises

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You honestly dont know what pain is until youve experienced nerve pain. To say that it is among the most excruciating and intense forms of pain, there is a gross understatement. Think searing heat, electric shock, and lightning bolts all wrapped into one. Yup, that should paint a pretty clear picture.

The mother of them all is the lower back, leg, and foot pain caused by sciatica. It holds the crown for the most dreaded type of nerve damage there is.

What makes sciatica so painful? Is it curable? Is there anything you can do to make it better if you have it?

This guide explores the answers to these questions in-depth and details the exercises you can do to relieve sciatica, causing foot pain.

What Is The Outlook For People With Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat completely but is usually not life-threatening. Youll get the best results from combining rehabilitation with support for your emotional, social and mental wellbeing. You will be able to manage your pain to a level that improves your quality of life with the help of a pain specialist in using some or most of the methods mentioned above.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/07/2020.

References

What Are The Symptoms Of Peripheral Nerve Damage

Symptoms are related to the type of nerves affected.

Motor nerve damage is most commonly associated with muscle weakness. Other symptoms include painful cramps, fasciculations and muscle shrinking.

Sensory nerve damage causes various symptoms because sensory nerves have a broad range of functions.

  • Damage to large sensory fibers harms the ability to feel vibrations and touch, especially in the hands and feet. You may feel as if you are wearing gloves and stockings even when you are not. This damage may contribute to the loss of reflexes . Loss of position sense often makes people unable to coordinate complex movements like walking or fastening buttons or maintaining their balance when their eyes are shut.
  • The small fibers without myelin sheaths include fiber extensions called axons that transmit pain and temperature sensations. Small-fiber polyneuropathy can interfere with the ability to feel pain or changes in temperature.  It is often difficult for medical caregivers to control, which can seriously affect a patients emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Neuropathic pain is sometimes worse at night, disrupting sleep. It can be caused by pain receptors firing spontaneously without any known trigger, or by difficulties with signal processing in the spinal cord that may cause you to feel severe pain from a light touch that is normally painless. For example, you might experience pain from the touch of your bedsheets, even when draped lightly over the body.

Get Relief For Your Pain Whatever The Cause

At The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas, we provide custom care solutions tailored to the needs of the individual patient. If youre experiencing pain or other uncomfortable or unusual symptoms, we can help you get the relief you need to feel better. The first step in relieving pain and other symptoms is to schedule an office visit so you can be evaluated. To schedule your evaluation, book an appointment online today.

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Are Nerve Problems Causing Your Foot Pain

How to Stop Nerve Pain in Feet and Legs

Jason DelCollo, DO, is board-certified in family medicine and on the faculty of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Pain on the top of your foot or through your arch might be nerve-related. While many forms of foot pain come from joints and tendons, occasionally the source of foot pain is a nerve that is irritated directly or affected by health conditions that lead to nerve damage.

When nerves are irritated or damaged, there is a characteristic burning, shooting, or stabbing pain. The pain will often occur spontaneously, even while at rest. Sometimes the area over the affected nerve is sensitive to the touch. Here are some of the common types of nerve problems that cause foot pain.

Why Are You Experiencing Nerve Pain In Your Feet

Once it has been established that neuropathy or other nerve damage is responsible for the pain, its only natural to wonder what happened.

The fact of the matter is there are a variety of potential root causes, with one being a clear leader:

Diabetes.

Elevated blood sugar levels cause a host of problems throughout the body, including damaging nervous tissue.

Because one of the other concerning consequences of this condition is reduced blood flow , the nerves in feet are especially at risk. Without receiving a steady, fresh supply of nutrients, tissues can weaken. Combine this with lowered effectiveness of the immune system and the whole situation can cause severe problems.

This highlights why its so important to stay vigilant with your diabetic foot care routine!

An important note about neuropathy and diabetes is that having painful symptoms may actually be better than the alternative.

When nerve damage has progressed to the point of numbness , you risk sustaining minor wounds that, left untreated, can continue to break down and become diabetic foot ulcers.

And that is a dangerous situation. Due to the gangrene that can set, there are cases where the best-case scenario is limb amputation.

Now, while diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy, it isnt the only one:

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment Complications

If a pinched nerve in the elbow goes untreated for a long time, there could be permanent damage.

Muscles controlled by the nerve may begin to get smaller and shorter. This is called muscle wasting, and it canât always be reversed.

To avoid this problem, see a doctor quickly if you start to have serious pain, weakness, or tingling in your arm or hand. Even if your discomfort doesnât feel serious, call your doctor if itâs been with you for at least 6 weeks.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask You

During your appointment, your doctor may ask the following questions to better inform the diagnosis of neuropathy:

  • When did you start experiencing pain?
  • How severe is your pain?
  • Where do you feel pain?
  • Do you have any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or alcoholism?
  • Have you recently undergone any chemotherapy treatments?
  • Have you been exposed to any toxins recently?

Caring For Your Hands And Feet

Diabetic nerve damage causes pain and can also affect your ability to feel pain, so its important to maintain your foot health.

To take better care of your feet, check your feet every day for cuts, sores, swelling, and other problems, even if you dont feel any pain there. They can get infected, and untreated infections can lead to serious complications, including amputation.

Wash your feet daily with warm water, and dry them completely afterward. Then apply a lotion to keep them moisturized. Avoid getting lotion in between your toes.

Wear comfortable, flexible shoes that give your feet room to move. Break in new shoes slowly so that they dont hurt your feet. Ask your doctor about customized shoes if regular shoes dont fit well.

Always cover your feet with shoes, slippers, or thick socks to cushion them and prevent injuries.

Other Symptoms Associated With Nerve Pain

Like other types of chronic pain, neuropathic conditions often cause other symptoms in addition to pain. If you have any of the following in addition to the pain described above, you may have nerve damage:

  • Partial or complete loss of feeling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in skin appearance and texture
  • Muscle disuse atrophy

Pain Extending From Your Neck Down Your Arm

Like sciatica, nerve compression in the neck portion of your spine occurs when a nerve in your neck becomes compressed or pinched when it leaves your spine to travel down your arms or into your shoulders. Irritation of a cervical nerve can cause pain and similar symptoms anywhere along the nerve pathway, including your shoulders, the very upper part of your back, your arms, and even your hands. 

Prescription Medication And Medical Treatments

There are a variety of prescription medications which your doctor will be able to provide you with these are dependent on the cause and nature of your foot nerve pain.

These include strong painkillers such as tramadol, medications for seizures, antidepressants, narcotics, injections of corticosteroids or immunoglobulin, and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

Other medical treatments that your doctor can do for you include a vitamin B12 injection if you are deficient, plasmapheresis , and transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation , a drug free treatment which aims to disrupt nerve signals and prevent them from sending pain messages to your brain.

What Is A Corn

The Relationship Between Nerve Pain In Your Foot & Sciatica

Corns are yellowish, callus growths that develop on top of the toes. Corns develop because of abuse or stress. Often, a corn develops where a toe rubs against a shoe or another toe. Corns can cause extreme discomfort and pain. Treatment may include:

  • Trimming the corn by shaving the layers of dead skin

  • Applying pads around the corn area

  • Wearing larger shoes to comfortably fit your foot without rubbing

  • Surgery

To avoid corn development, always buy shoes that fit properly.

Wrist Flexion And Extension

  • Begin with the palm facing up.
  • Keeping the arm still, bend the wrist so the fingers are pointing toward the ceiling.
  • Return the wrist to its original position with the palm facing up.
  • Bend the wrist in the opposite direction so the fingers point down and the palm faces away from the body.

A comprehensive list of stretches focusing on specific areas of the body are available from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Foot Pain Caused By Compression Of Nerves In The Hip Knee Or Leg

Foot pain can also occur when nerves are compressed or damaged along their path in the hip, knee, or leg. For example:

  • Peroneal neuropathy, a condition where the peroneal nerve is compressed or injured near the knee may cause foot pain and foot drop when you try to move your foot.
  • Sciatic neuropathy or damage to the sciatic nerve in the pelvic region may cause foot pain along the top of your foot with some degree of weakness.
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome or dysfunction of the tibial nerve within the tarsal tunnel of the inner ankle may cause a sharp, shooting pain in your ankle area and along the sole of your foot.
  • Sural nerve entrapment can occur in the leg or near the ankle and typically causes shooting pain along the outer side of your ankle and/or foot.

Additionally, a corn may develop on the skin around your toes. Corns grow over time as a result of excessive friction, and they can compress nearby nerves, causing pain and other symptoms. Another possible cause of nerve pain in your foot is Mortonâs neuroma, which is a thickening of the tissue around a nerve in the foot.

Read more about Causes of Leg Pain and Foot Pain

How Do Nerves Work

Our nervous system is made up of two systems, the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system . 

The peripheral nerves take messages to and from the brain and spinal cord which interpret the messages and send a responding signal back down to the starting point.  

There are three types of nerves in our bodies:

  • Sensory Nerves: These receive information on different sensations such as hot/cold, sharp/dull, light/heavy pressure
  • Motor Nerves:  These control how the muscles work telling them when, how long and how strongly they should contract and relax
  • Autonomic Nerves:  these control things like bladder and bowel function, heart rate and digestion

Damage to the nerves causes them to behave abnormally.  They may stop sending messages altogether e.g. causing numbness or weakness, or fire erratically, sending excessive or incorrect signals e.g. causing pain or pins and needles.

Leg Pain And Numbness: What Might These Symptoms Mean

Leg pain can be intermittent or constant and can range from a dull ache to a searing, throbbing, or burning sensation. Numbness may be felt like a loss of sensation or a cold, icy feeling in one or more areas of the leg.

Leg pain may be the symptom of a variety of underlying causes or conditions, and getting a correct diagnosis is essential to informing the most effective course of treatment.

Leg pain often starts as a problem in the lumbar spine, or low back. Watch:Sciatica Causes and Symptoms Video

This article provides an in-depth review of common causes of leg pain, along with prominent symptoms and progression of the pain.

Follow A Healthy Diet

The foods that you use to sustain your body have a huge impact on how much pain you feel and how quickly diabetic neuropathy progresses. Studies have found that following a healthy diet can lead to improvements in both pain and measures of disease progression.

So what exactly is a healthy diet?

The idea is this: eat fewer processed foods and more plant foods. The same eating habits that can help you to control diabetes can help to reduce any pain that you feel, including diabetic foot pain.

If you want to go all the way, a low-fat plant-based diet has been found to decrease neuropathic pain following 20 weeks when compared to a traditional Western diet. If you are not ready to take that leap, simply eat less fast food, processed food, prepackaged food, meat, and dairy, and add in more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and other plant foods.

Why Am I Experiencing Nerve Pain In My Feet

If youre experiencing pain in one or both of your feet, and think its every day wear and tear, it may be smart to talk with your doctor as soon as you experience noticeable discomfort. The way a person walks has an effect on nerves, but it can also be related to more serious conditions, Raymond Stolarski MD says.

Causes Of Peripheral Neuropathy

In the UK diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy.

Over time, the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage the nerves.

This type of nerve damage is known as diabetic polyneuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy can also have a wide range of other causes.

For example, it can be caused by:

  • physical injury to the nerves
  • a viral infection, such as shingles
  • a side effect of certain medicines or drinking too much alcohol

People who are known to be at an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy may have regular check-ups so their nerve function can be assessed.

What Precautions Can Be Taken To Prevent The Onset Of Foot Nerve Pain

Nerves Of The Leg & Foot

Sometimes peripheral neuropathy is hereditary, but even if it is in your family history there are still ways in which you can help to prevent its onset. These include:

  • Drinking limited quantities of alcohol, or ideally none
  • Eating healthily on a regular basis
  • Giving up or avoiding smoking completely
  • Exercising at a moderate intensity on a regular basis
  • Avoiding or reducing your exposure to toxins
  • Protecting your feet, especially during sporting activities

Whatever your situation may be with the condition that is causing your foot nerve pain, you can rest assured that relief from your symptoms is possible through any combination of these methods and treatments.

What Can Be Done For Neuropathy In The Feet

If you havent heard of neuropathy yet, theres a good chance you will at some point.

Neuropathy is estimated to affect 25% to 30% of Americans. Neuropathy in the feet is one the most common affected areas, although it can affect different areas.

While it can affect people of all ages, older adults are at an increased risk.

The most crucial treatment for neuropathy in the feet is to stop the nerve damage.

Some people will find that treatment of the underlying disease will improve their neuropathy symptoms.

In other cases, where a cause for neuropathy cant be identified, your doctor will instead focus on treating your neuropathy symptoms.

However, there are a few things you can do at home to combat the symptoms you are experiencing from neuropathy in the feet.

We will discuss them in the article below.

Table of Contents

Stretches To Treat Your Nerve Pain Video

Stretches to Treat Your Nerve Pain

Hi this is Dr. Silvester and Im going to show patients how to do a thing that we call nerve gliding here at the clinic. Its an exercise we use for all kinds of neuropathology. A lot of people have Neuropathy and we use it for patients with Neuropathy, and we also use it after surgery if you have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. If you have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, we use it before surgery to try and get it to go away.

Basically, its stretching the nerve and getting it to glide. So Im going to have my assistant here move her foot and were going to show you where this Tarsal Tunnel is. 

How we tell our patients to do it is to take the foot up and out this way , and then bring it down and in and hold for 30 seconds. And then repeat that about 5 or 6 times, and then do that maybe 10 times a day: up and out, down and in, do that 5 times, and then do that 10 times a day. Okay?

So anyway, this is a nerve exercise you can do, and if you do it frequently a lot of times it can alleviate the pain that you have in your leg. We use it all the time right after surgery to keep the nerves moving so the scar doesnt heal down on the nerve. Thanks for listening.

Treatments For Peripheral Neuropathy Include The Following:

  • Eating the right foodsEating fruits and vegetables and other foods rich in B vitamins will help nerves to communicate better. If you have diabetes, managing blood glucose levels with medication and by eating a proper diet is essential.

  • Mineral supplementsYour nerves require minerals like magnesium and calcium for proper functioning. Supplements may be needed since it is difficult to get enough minerals through your diet alone.

  • MedicationsA variety of prescription medications can be used to alleviate neuropathy symptoms.

  • SurgeryIn more severe situations, surgery may be necessary to release swollen and compressed nerves.

  • MLS Laser TherapyThis non-invasive therapy is the latest technology in neuropathy pain treatment.

  • Solutions For Managing Peripheral Neuropathy Pain

    When peripheral neuropathy hits your feet, you may experience extreme pain, loss of sensation, or points anywhere between these extremes. High blood sugar associated with diabetes is one of the most common causes, and it is often numbness that creates issues since you can damage your feet without noticing. That condition requires regular foot inspection so that complications dont develop.

    Pain from peripheral neuropathy is often more problematic since sensations can be severe, ranging from sharp and stabbing to throbbing aches or itching and burning. Your feet may be sensitive to touch so that even the weight of a sheet is uncomfortable. You may experience pain at times when you shouldnt. When peripheral neuropathy pain interferes with your daily activities, its time to seek management techniques to ease your discomfort.

    What Research Is Being Done

    The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

    NINDS-funded research ranges from clinical studies of the genetics and the natural history of hereditary neuropathies to discoveries of new cause and treatments for neuropathy, to basic science investigations of the biological mechanisms responsible for chronic neuropathic pain. Together, these diverse research areas will advance the development of new therapeutic and preventive strategies for peripheral neuropathies. Understanding the causes of neuropathy provides the foundation for finding effective prevention and treatment strategies.

    NINDS-supported researchers are also exploring the use of tissue engineered from the cells of humans with peripheral neuropathy as models to identify specific defects in the transport of cellular components along axons and the interactions of nerves with muscles. Such tissue engineering approaches may eventually lead to new therapeutics for peripheral neuropathies.

    #8 Oat Straw Extract

    Oat straw extract which comes from green oats has been used for centuries as an herbal treatment for improving the health of the mind and overall well-being of individuals. As it relates to neuropathy, it has a lot to offer. For those suffering from irritated skin as a result of nerve damage, oat straw extract can help relieve itchy or irritated skin. For those dealing with inflammation and swelling, it helps reduce inflammatory markers and relieve pain associated with inflammation. Finally, it helps calm the nervous system and ease anxiety.

    Benefits:

     

    Treatments For Nerve Pain In Feet

    Neuropathy cannot always be cured, and it is usually a progressive condition, meaning that it gets worse over time. However, it is generally possible to reduce the symptoms significantly, thereby improving the patient’s overall quality of life.

    Many people experience neuropathy as a side effect of medications for other conditions. A physician will then need to determine whether the dosage or medication has to be changed, or whether the benefits of the medication outweigh the side effects. Often, medication leads to a vitamin deficiency, and supplementing with multivitamins, particularly with vitamin B complex, can often bring relief.

    For diabetic patients, it is very important that patients learn to control their condition. Diabetics who experience neuropathy symptoms must seek advice from a neurologist as it is not unheard of for diabetics to lose their feet. Additionally, following advice of a dietitian is vital.

    I’ve Had Pain Longer Than Two Years: What Now

    Nerve on top of foot IAMMRFOSTER.COM

    If youve had nerve pain for longer than two years, or suffer from chronic swelling, you might not be a good candidate for surgery due to slow healing, but there are treatment options available. 

    Vascular compression socks and vascular compression pumps can both be used  They are similar to blood pressure cuffs, but you wear them on your legs, Dr. Stolarski says. “Both leg cuffs inflate and slowly deflate milking out fluid.”

    Regardless the cause of your foot pain, it is important to speak with your doctor and determine the best treatment option for you.

    *All professionals quoted in this article were affiliated with TriHealth at the time of initial publication.

    Other Causes Of Pinched Nerve Pain In The Leg

    However, injury or damage to the sciatic nerve is just one form of nerve damage that may be causing your symptoms. Here are a few other conditions that present similar leg symptoms:

    • Peripheral Neuropathy: Usually caused by diabetes, this condition involves damage to nerves in the peripheral nervous systemnerves that supply sensation to the feet and legs.
    • Peroneal Neuropathy: The peroneal nerve is located near the knee and has a tendency to become compressed as the result of injuries to the knee or hip.
    • Lumbosacral Radiculoplexus Neuropathy: Your nerves require a blood supply to stay healthy. Diabetes or inflammation can damage small blood vessels in the legs, reducing the nerves blood supply and causing dysfunction.
    • Neurogenic Claudication: This is a fancy term that means nerve pain that originates directly from spinal nerves and affects the legs. Often, sufferers of neurogenic claudication will experience difficulty walking or report that their legs feel like lead weights.
    • Cauda Equina Syndrome: Compression of a group of nerves that extends from the spinal cord in the lower back to the legs and bladder. This syndrome is usually accompanied by loss of bowel or bladder control and requires immediate medical attention to avoid permanent paralysis of the legs.

     

    Foot Pain Caused By A Spinal Problem

    Nerve root irritation or compression in the lumbar or sacral spine may cause sciatica pain to radiate down your leg and into the foot. Specifically, compression of the S1 nerve root, also called classic sciatica, can cause pain along the outer side of your foot.

    Nerve roots may be compressed or irritated due to a number of causes. Common examples include:

    The inability to lift the front part of your foot or frequent tripping while walking may be due to a condition called foot drop. This condition is typically caused due to compression of the L5 nerve root. Rarely, compression of the L4 and/or S1 nerve roots may also cause foot drop.

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