April is foot health awareness month! Did you know that the nerves in your feet start in your brain- your central nervous system to be exact- Brain and spinal cord are the central hub for all nerves in your body, Just think about that- A person who is 7′ tall has nerves that go from their back all the way to their big toe! These nerves are our security system, ” Dr Jen, what are you even talking about” Well, sensory nerves are what our bodies use to sense things- hot, cold, sharp, rough, soft, burn, just to name a few there are also specialized nerve sensors (proprioceptors) that tell our brain where our bodies are in space. There are skeletal nerves, that stimulate the muscles we use for movement, then there are nerves that are called autonomic-they do it with out us thinking about it- these nerves regulate our breathing, heart rate amongst other things, the heart even has its own little power plant- with its own circuit but when something happens to these nerves they can cause us problems. Neuropathy is a broad term for problems/diseases of nerves. There are many subtypes, but lets talk about the three common causes of nerve disease that I see if not daily, then weekly.

  1. Metabolic Neuropathy- This meaning that a problem with your metabolism is causing damage to the nerves, the most common cause of this that I see is Diabetes Mellitus followed by Alcoholic Neuropathy, chronic alcohol use can cause nerve damage, as well as vitamin deficiencies that can also lead to nerve damage.
  2. Medication Induced Neuropathy- this means that a drug can causse nerve damage, Chemotherapeutic drugs are amazing at killing cancer cells but many can also damage the nerves going to your arms and legs. Some antibiotics can also cause nerve damage.
  3. Traumatic Neuropathy- Post injury-from ankle sprains and fractures to leg lacerations and everything in between can cause nerve damage, surgery would also go in this category- although surgeons do our best to avoid cutting major and minor nerves, sometimes nerves can get entrapped in scar tissue causing chronic pain issues.

No Matter what the cause of nerve pain, we may be able to help you!

-Dr Jen