Why Do I Have Numbness/Burning In My Feet?
One of the most common complaints that I hear from patients relates to numbness or burning in their feet. Although numbness may seem like an innocent problem, it could actually lead to some severe potential complications. Burning feet can have a debilitating effect on a person, especially if it interferes with your sleep. "Neuropathy" is a general term related to nerve dysfunction and it can have over 100 different causes. Here are a few that I find to be the most common:
1.Diabetes/Pre-Diabetes- People with diabetes are prone to having neuropathy due to elevated blood sugar and its impact on nerve function. This will usually manifest itself in a symmetrical "stocking and glove" (soles and palms) scenario.
2.Lower Back Pathology- Having a "herniated disc", "sciatica", or "spinal stenosis" can also give neuropathy symptoms in the lower extremities. You will usually find this to be in one limb, rather than both.
3.Taking "Statin" Drugs- A common side-effect of "statin" drugs (used to treat elevated cholesterol) is a lowering of CoQ10 levels. This has a direct effect on nerve function and can lead to numbness and muscle weakness. I recommend supplementing with CoQ10 (“ubiquinol” form) in this situation, as long as you are not taking “blood-thinning” meds.
4. History of Radiation, Chemo-therapy- An unintended side effect related to cancer treatment.
5.Anemia- A low red blood cell count is another common cause of neuropathy and can be checked with a simple blood test.
The first step if you have numbness or burning in your feet is to get a professional neurological evaluation. There are many treatments available depending on the severity and its effect on your quality of life. Prescription oral medications can be helpful as a symptom-reducer and have their place in a setting where sleep interference is occurring. In conjunction, I will also recommend safe holistic treatments based on the cause of the neuropathy symptoms.
Don’t forget to “Start With Your Feet”.
Walk Strong…with orthotics,
Doc Rick DPM