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Ouch, my feet hurt!

Nerve pain. Even if you don't think you do, you know it. It's the pain you get if you sit too long on something hard and your leg falls asleep. It's the pain you get if you hit your funny bone and feel pain shoot down into your pinky finger.

Once in awhile, sure, easy to deal with. But some people deal with this kind of pain daily, in their toes, legs, fingertips. It can prevent them from getting sleep. From doing activities they love. From wearing the shoes they like.

Aside from the pain, these damaged nerves can also decrease sensitivity to touch, pain, temperature, or "proprioception" (our perception of where our bodies and limbs are in space). People can get cuts they don't notice that turn into infected wounds. Or they can get burns from hot water they didn't realize was so hot. Or they can start bumping into things or falling as their brains try hard to balance without knowing exactly where the feet are!

If the motor nerves are involved, people can develop weakness - foot drops or wrist drops. They can start tripping over their feet, or they may have difficulty buttoning their clothes, cutting their food, or gripping things.

If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, you may have a neuropathy, which is a disease of the peripheral nerves. Neuropathy is a condition that may be caused by many different things. It is often progressive. Diabetes, or prediabetes, is one of the most common causes. But it can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, genetic conditions, undiagnosed cancers, by excessive alcohol use, or by certain medications. Diagnosis of neuropathy is usually simple for your doctor and involves a neurologic examination. You may also need a nerve conduction study, which is a procedure where the doctor will measure how quickly your nerves conduct electric impulses. Some simple blood tests can sometimes find the cause. Usually, once you treat the underlying condition, the neuropathy itself may improve or at least stop progressing. Though studies have not yet found a magic pill to take away neuropathy, there are many treatments - natural/alternative as well as traditional medicines - that can bring people relief. This alongside behavioral interventions and physical therapy to prevent falls, wounds, etc.

Go see your doctor today if you think you may have a neuropathy. Boca Raton neurologist Dr. Renata Chalfin helps people with peripheral neuropathy almost every day, and she can help you, too. Call 561-961-8575 to make an appointment, or book online at

I look forward to meeting you!


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