What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a condition caused when nerves in your legs and feet become damaged and compressed. Symptoms vary from numbness or tingling to extreme pain. Left untreated, neuropathy can cause loss of sensation in your feet. In turn, that can lead to serious foot problems such as ulcers, infection — even amputation. Traditionally, neuropathy has been considered a progressive, irreversible disorder.
The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar levels from diabetes can damage nerves, especially in the feet. Neuropathy also has other causes besides diabetes.
HealthEast now offers a beneficial new testing and treatment program for various kind of neuropathy — diabetic or otherwise. Podiatrist Kenneth Ammons, DPM, member of the Association of Peripheral Nerve Surgeons, offers testing to measure loss of sensation to the feet and legs. This type of neuropathy may be reversed with surgical decompression of certain nerves in the legs. Dr. Ammons offers screenings at the HealthEast Midway Clinic and performs surgery on an outpatient basis.
Testing and surgery
Dr. Ammons tests patients using a non-invasive device that painlessly measures how much pressure they feel on their skin. Testing different areas of the skin that correspond to specific nerves helps determine which nerves are damaged and the extent of the damage.
People with healthy nerves can feel a very light touch. People with compressed or damaged nerves, however, require a greater than normal pressure for the touch to be felt. The test is a painless, non-invasive way to diagnose neuropathy. If neuropathy is identified and surgery is recommended, it opens the tight area through which the nerve passes by dividing a ligament or fibrous band that crosses the nerve. This gives the nerve more room, better blood flow and frees movement.
When the neuropathy is identified early and surgery is performed, the restored blood flow stops numbness and tingling and allows strength to recover. If nerve damage has already occurred, the surgery permits the nerve to regenerate.
For more information call HealthEast Podiatry Care at 651-326-5500.