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Neurological conditions

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Neurological conditions are medical problems that affect your nerves or nervous system. Nerves can be affected locally, such as damage to a nerve from surgery or an injury, or they can be affected systemically by a disease or conditions affecting the nervous system.

There are many neurological conditions that can affect the body and have an impact on your feet. Because the feet are at one extremity of the body, they often develop symptoms if there are problems with the nerves or nervous system.

Peripheral neuropathy is characterised by damage to the nerves that serve the feet and other extremities of the body. In the feet, this can lead to numbness, altered sensations or even pain and heightened sensitivity. Peripheral neuropathy can place the feet at more risk because you could injure the feet, skin or nails and not realise that you have done this, as a result, you can keep walking normally on an injured foot, or develop an infection or foot ulcer that you cannot feel.

If you have peripheral neuropathy, making sure that you check your feet regularly is very important. We advise you use a mirror if needed to check the soles of the feet. Checking inside your footwear every time you put them on is important too, to check for any objects or damage to the footwear that could injure your feet.

It is also important to make sure that your footwear is not too tight, as many people with neuropathy tend to wear their footwear tight as they cannot feel it, so assume it is lose. This can cause pressure on the skin and nails and lead to serious problems.

It is advisable to avoid extremes of temperature on the feet too as you are unable to feel if the feet get burned. Hot tiles or hot sand when on holiday is a common cause of injury, and checking bath water temperature by dipping the toe in is risky too, because the nerve damage means that your toe won’t tell you the truth and you could plunge your body into a boiling hot bath. Using a thermometer may be a way to avoid problems here.

Nail and skin care needs to be considered more carefully if you have neuropathy too, so seeing a Podiatrists may be a good idea to get advice and help.

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy.

Other neurological conditions that we encounter in podiatry include:

  • Strokes
  • “Foot drop”
  • Injuries or growths on the spine or brain
  • Parkinson’s
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Motor Neurones Disease
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
  • Guilian-Barre Syndrome
  • “Sciatica”

In theory, all neurological conditions could impact the feet, so if you have a condition or have any foot concerns, why not find a podiatrist to discuss these with?

There are a range of tests that podiatrists use to check your neurological status and assess for possible neurological conditions, including testing power and movement of your lower limb, sensation and reflexes.

Neurological conditions
Neurological conditions
Neurological conditions