Neuropathy of the foot, also known as peripheral neuropathy (PN), is a condition that affects the nerves in the lower leg that affect the foot and provide sensation and movement of the foot. When the nerves are damaged, they do not function properly.

The peripheral nervous system sends information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. There are three types of peripheral nerves: motor, sensory and autonomic. Some neuropathies affect all three types of nerves, while others involve only one or two. The majority of people, however, suffer from polyneuropathy, which means that many nerves are affected at the same time.

Causes of neuropathy include direct damage (e.g., laceration or compression of the nerve), medical and genetic conditions (e.g., diabetes), inflammatory diseases, infections, and metabolic disorders.

Foot neuropathy symptoms include:

  • Feeling of “pins and needles” in the foot
  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the foot
  • Muscle weakness and diminished reflexes
  • Deep, aching pain that may be worse at night
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Difficulty walking

The symptoms of foot neuropathy can be either periodic or constant, but are usually felt equally in both feet. Some types of peripheral neuropathy develop suddenly, while others progress more slowly over many years.

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy of the foot at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will depend on the underlying condition that caused the nerve dysfunction. Rest, ice, pain medications and therapy may help relieve the symptoms. In severe cases, your physician may recommend surgery to take pressure off of the affected nerve.