Painful, Burning, or Numb Feet?
Have you been diagnosed with Neuropathy?
The Foot and Ankle Institute
offers the latest in diagnosis and treatment.
What is Lower Extremity Peripheral Neuropathy (LEPN)?
LEPN is a condition affecting the nerves of the legs, ankle and feet. It can cause burning, tingling, painful, or numb feet. Some patients experience a feeling of heat while others a feeling of cold. Certain individuals experience a feeling of having a pair of socks on (when barefoot), that they are walking on a lump, or have something within their shoes. It has been associated with diabetes, various forms of arthritis, excessive use of alcohol, exposure to certain chemicals, chemotherapy, nutritional deficits, various medical conditions, and may be present as an isolated condition.
How does LEPN affect patients?
Patients with LEPN often suffer with chronic pain and sensory changes in their feet. This pain can be debilitating and affect their daily activities. Many experience sleep disturbances that create a situation of sleep deprivation. For those with progressive loss of feeling, they are at risk for ulcers and other wounds of the feet. In advanced cases, this loss of sensation may lead to joint destruction, fractures, and dislocations within the feet and ankles.
What is the Foot and Ankle Institute?s approach to LEPN?
First a comprehensive history and examination is performed to confirm the diagnosis and to try to identify the cause of the neuropathy. This is typically followed by a sensory evaluation utilizing the Pressure Specified Testing Device. This will help in determining the extent of sensory loss the patient is experiencing. We then work with your other medical professionals to make sure as a team we are providing the optimal medical management of your underlying medical problems. Next a step wise approach is followed utilizing medications, various therapeutic techniques, pain management, and in some cases surgery to try to alleviate your symptoms. When appropriate referral will be made to other specialists to help with specific issues
There are various medications that are utilized for LEPN. We will try to select the medication that is specific to your complaints taking into account previous medications used, potential drug interactions, and risks associated with your medical history. If you are currently on medications we will assess the need for dosage/medication changes. If you are taking a narcotic pain medication, our goal is reduce the amount or eliminate its use.
In certain cases we will use infrared therapy which is a non-invasive technique to increase circulation and temporarily reduce pain. If successful we may recommend a home unit so that you may continue long term care. Pain management referrals will be considered, particularly in those who require narcotic support. They may use biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and other techniques that may help alleviate your pain.
In certain patients, microsurgical decompression of the affected nerves may be recommended. LEPN, particularly in diabetics, is often the result of swollen nerves that are compressed by soft tissue structures within the lower extremity. Surgical decompression of these nerves may alleviate pain and in some cases restore sensation. If you or some one you know are suffering from Lower Extremity Peripheral Neuropathy, please call to schedule an appointment for evaluation and treatment. The Foot and Ankle Institute participates with most insurance plans. Appointments may be made by calling 281-531-4100.