3 Common Causes of Foot Nerve Pain

Nerve disorders related to the foot can be quite distressing. Therefore, it’s important to understand where foot nerve pain comes from, what it is, and how it can be treated.

Physical injuries, ailments, and other disorders can cause foot nerve pain. Your first step is to consult a physician and get an accurate diagnosis, so you know how to proceed with treatment. Once you identify the cause of the foot nerve pain, you can take appropriate measures to deal with it.

Listed below are a few common causes of foot nerve pain, and the various treatment options available:

Diabetic neuropathy
Pain in your foot can be a symptom of diabetes known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It’s important to identify this early so you can treat it effectively. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately. Ignoring these signs, especially if you have a family history of diabetes or heightened blood sugar can cause a lot of complications later.

These are some of the indicators of diabetic neuropathy:

  • Numbness in the toes, fingers, feet, and hands
  • Extremely sensitive feet
  • Sharp, burning pain along the legs and eventually in the arms
  • A tingling sensation in the feet, toes, fingers, and hands

This type of foot nerve pain may sound unsettling and frightening, but it’s relatively common. A large number of people suffer from diabetic neuropathy. Because of this, there are a wide range of options to treat it

These are some treatment options for foot nerve pain caused by diabetic neuropathy:

  • Medication – There is a large range of medicines that help manage, treat, and cure diabetic foot pain. These include antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, opioid pain medication, and anticonvulsants.
  • Patches – Skin patches with anesthetics like lidocaine have been proven to alleviate foot nerve pain.
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapy can provide relief from discomfort caused by diabetic neuropathy. The introduction of technology into the physical therapy techniques makes it highly effective and the same time non-invasive.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – Also known as TENS, this form of therapy involves the use of electrical nerve-stimulation to relieve foot nerve pain.
  • Acupuncture – Acupuncture can have varied levels of success in treating foot nerve pain. It can be an effective alternative pain management tool if administered correctly.
  • Capsaicin cream – This type of cream uses the capsaicin found in hot peppers to block pain. It’s available in various forms and has been proven to help treat foot nerve pain. Some people may have an allergic reaction to capsaicin, so make sure you consult a physician before using it. It can have extremely unpleasant side-effects when exposed to open sores, sensitive, or irritated skin. Capsaicin cream can also interact with other medication. So ensure you only use it under a physician’s guidance.

Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is another cause of foot nerve pain. It occurs when the gaps between the vertebrae in the spinal cord become narrower. This puts pressure on the nerves that run along the spine. This can lead to foot nerve pain. Pain and cramps are common symptoms of spinal stenosis.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis can be eased by bending forwards or sitting down. People suffering from spinal stenosis are likely to find walking downhill, or on flat surfaces quite difficult.

The most common causes of spinal stenosis are:

  • Abnormal growths in the spinal cord
  • Small outgrowths of bone or bone spurs causing wear and tear
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord
  • Fractures and other spinal injuries
  • Natural bone density deteriorating as you age

The only forms of treatment for spinal stenosis are physical therapy, pain management, and in extreme cases, surgery.

Herniated disc
There are a number of discs between the vertebrae in the spinal cord. If these get squashed or pressed together, the middle of the disc can slip out. This condition is also known as a slipped disc. They are the most common form of spinal injury. This displaced disc can irritate the root nerves. The irritation of root nerves can lead to foot nerve pain.

The symptoms of a herniated disc are:

  • Sharp, burning pain in the spinal cord, the back of the leg, and in some cases, the foot.
  • Pain that makes lifting your feet or toes unbearable
  • Numbness in the feet, legs, and back
  • Sharp pain and sensitivity to touch
  • Pins and needles along the feet

In most cases, a slipped or herniated disc settles down after three to five weeks of rest. A combination of exercise and medication, under a physical therapist’s guidance, is the best way to treat a slipped disc, and the associated foot nerve pain.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned, consult a physician immediately for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

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