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Foot and Ankle Neuropathy

What is Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a condition that affects the nerves of your body. It is generally classified by the number of nerves affected, the type of nerve cells affected, or the process affecting the nerves. Depending on these factors, the symptoms of PN vary widely, and can include sensory (touch), motor (movement), and/or autonomic (nervous system) issues.

What Causes Foot and Ankle Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by a number of different conditions.

Neuropathy risk factors include:

  • Diabetes, especially if your sugar levels are poorly controlled
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Vitamin deficiencies, particularly B vitamins
  • Infections, such as Lyme disease, shingles,
  • Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, and
  • HIV
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, in which your immune system attacks your own tissues
  • Kidney, liver or thyroid disorders
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Repetitive motion, such as those performed for certain jobs
  • Family history of neuropathy

Symptoms

  • Numbness and tingling, most commonly starting in the feet and possibly spreading up the limbs
  • Loss or absence of sensation (the ability to sense contact with outside objects)
  • Pain, often described as burning, sharp, or “electric-like”
  • Increased sensitivity to light touch
  • Clumsiness or decreased coordination in the affected limb(s)
  • Weakness or paralysis in the muscles or parts of the body affected by the nerve or nerves
  • Temperature intolerances
  • Decreased balance
  • Decreased ability to participate in normal functional activities

Treatment

Printable Foot and Ankle Neuropathy Exercises

Click to open printable exercise sheet (pdf)
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