Peripheral neuropathy is a dangerous complication of diabetes that can lead to a variety of health problems. But what exactly is this disease — and does it require surgery to resolve?
Understanding peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the peripheral nerves or any nerves that aren’t located in the brain or spinal cord. Damage to the peripheral nerves can occur due to a variety of factors, including:
- Genetic conditions
- Physical trauma from an accident or injury
- Diabetes or other health conditions
- Certain medications
In its early stages, peripheral neuropathy may only cause discomfort. However, if left untreated, it can quickly become painful and dangerous. Some of the most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:
- Numbness, tingling, or pins-and-needles sensations
- Muscle twitching or weakness
- Burning, sharp, or shooting pains
- Painful sensitivity to touch or temperature
- An eventual total loss of feeling in the extremities
Can you have surgery for neuropathy?
Prevention is the ideal way to manage neuropathy, but what happens if you’ve already developed this condition? While there is no way to cure neuropathy completely, one treatment option is surgery for peripheral neuropathy. Because pinched or compressed nerves can cause or exacerbate neuropathy, decompressing those nerves may help alleviate or even eliminate painful neuropathic symptoms.
Peripheral neuropathy surgery is most often used when the cause of the condition is known and can be treated by manipulating your nerves. Before surgery, your doctor will attempt to diagnose the cause of neuropathy and determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for this treatment option.
In nerve decompression surgery for peripheral neuropathy, nerves in your feet and legs are decompressed to help reduce any pressure on them, which can help to reduce pain and increase sensation in your feet. Surgery often includes making a small incision in the area or areas causing pain and then decompressing or even dividing nerves to relieve any pressure. A general anesthetic is often used to ensure the patient is comfortable throughout the surgery.
Some studies have shown that peripheral neuropathy surgery can be quite effective. For example, one clinical study found that approximately 90% of patients experienced reduced pain and increased function after surgery.
Can you have peripheral neuropathy surgery? Yes, but doctors will usually only recommend it after you’ve already attempted to treat your neuropathy with conventional methods. Some other treatment options that you can try to help manage pain associated with diabetes are:
- Certain medications
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle changes
- Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage, etc.
How to prevent and treat diabetic neuropathy
Once it develops, diabetic peripheral neuropathy can’t be cured. Thus, prevention is one of the best forms of treatment. But even if you’ve already developed neuropathy, taking the right steps can help delay or prevent further nerve damage. So, what can you do to treat and manage neuropathy?
Control your blood sugar levels
High blood sugar can increase the risk of developing neuropathy and exacerbate its symptoms. Therefore, both men and women should actively manage their blood glucose levels by making good diet and exercise choices, keeping up with doctor's appointments, and regularly checking their blood glucose levels at home.
Make healthy lifestyle choices
Making good lifestyle choices can help prevent and manage neuropathy and other serious health conditions. Good lifestyle habits include:
- Getting enough exercise — The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.
- Eating a well-balanced diet — The NIDDK diet guidelines recommend eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy dairy products. You should also be aware of portion sizes to avoid overeating.
Take care of your feet
Neuropathy is particularly damaging to feet, which means good foot care is imperative. Practice good foot hygiene, check your feet regularly for damage or infections, keep your feet moisturized, visit your podiatrist or doctor regularly, and invest in the proper socks and footwear. Taking these steps can help prevent common complications associated with neuropathy.
Find the perfect fancy socks online at Viasox
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or neuropathy, one of the most important tools in your foot care kit is a pair of high-quality diabetic socks. Diabetic socks can help:
- Reduce swelling and increase blood flow
- Protect your feet to prevent injury
- Keep your feet dry to prevent injection
- Trap moisture to prevent dry and cracked skin
- Keep your feet feeling (and looking!) great
Here at Viasox, we’re proud to provide North America’s finest fancy diabetic socks. Whether you’re looking for a fun and vibrant pattern to add some flair to your wardrobe or need to buy some traditional white or black socks in bulk, we can help!
All of our socks are made from high-quality, super-stretchy materials, making them the perfect option for feet of every size and shape. Even better? Our diabetic socks and compression socks are carefully designed to offer optimal levels of comfort and function, meaning they can actually make a difference in your life.
Shop our entire collection online at Viasox to find the right pair for you! Need some help picking out a product or placing your order? We’d be more than happy to assist — reach out to a member of our friendly team today!