The peripheral nervous system transmits signals between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and organs and limbs. For example, peripheral nerves would send a signal to the central nervous system regarding pain in the foot and the brain would direct the body to respond accordingly—that is, when this messaging system works correctly. In peripheral neuropathy there is damage to the peripheral nerves, which impedes this messaging system. Peripheral neuropathy is commonly caused by diabetes, but may also be present due to heredity, side effects of chemotherapy, drug or alcohol abuse, and other illnesses. Peripheral neuropathy can trigger symptoms in the feet such as numbness or an inability to perceive pain or temperature, cramping, muscle weakness, or tingling. Diabetic neuropathy can be particularly problematic as even minor cuts or abrasions can go undetected and turn into wounds or ulcers. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed, contact a podiatrist for a full examination and evaluation to determine if you may have peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with the foot specialists from Marvel Foot & Ankle Centers. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.
Symptoms of PAD include:
- Claudication (leg pain from walking)
- Numbness in legs
- Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
- Paleness of the skin
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
- Coldness in one leg
It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.
While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.
Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.