Peripheral neuropathy often refers to nerve damage that causes pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in your hands and feet. While you can not completely cure peripheral neuropathy, there are certain neuropathy hacks to minimize the symptoms and relieve foot pain.
Neuropathy hacks that will manage your symptoms and relieve your foot pain may include soaking your feet in warm water and warm water baths. Warm water improves blood flow, reduces foot pain and numbness, and relaxes your foot muscles.
Adding vitamin-rich foods to your diet and regular exercise can also relieve foot pain. Furthermore, wearing properly fitted shoes, improving your posture, and immediately treating foot infections will minimize your neuropathy symptoms.
Neuropathy sometimes develops suddenly, and sometimes it spreads slowly. It does not matter how neuropathy progresses; treatment depends on its cause. So, let’s look at some of the major causes of neuropathy.
Causes Of Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is often caused by nerve damage due to reduced blood circulation. As a result of insufficient blood flow to your blood vessels, you will feel a tingling sensation that could signify neuropathy.
Here are some major causes of neuropathy:
- Chronic conditions
- Diabetes or diabetic neuropathy
- Bad posture
- Nutritional imbalances
- Kidney failure
- Long-term alcohol use
- Long-term smoking
- Autoimmune diseases
- Certain cancers
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Symptoms Of Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy comes with its side effects. Here are a few symptoms that indicate that you may be suffering from peripheral neuropathy.
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Burning sensation in hands or feet
- Restless legs
- Pins/needles feeling in feet
- Foot pain
- Ankle pain
- Neck pain
- Inflammation in legs, feet
- Headaches or migraines
- Sore feet
- Loss of coordination
- Touch sensitivity
Neuropathy Hacks to Relieve Foot Pain
If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, the treatment will target the underlying causes and reduce your discomfort and pain. But here are some neuropathy hacks that can help you relieve foot pain.
Soak Your Feet in Warm Water
A simple hack to relieve your foot pain is soak your feet in warm water. It also helps to reduce stress and improves blood flow in your body. Also, you can add essential oils and Epsom salt to the water to enhance its benefits. This will help to relax your foot muscles and relieve aching feet. In addition, it reduces bacteria and leaves your feet smelling fresh.
If you have swollen feet, soaking them in cold water can reduce inflammation. You can soak your feet at home or book an appointment at a foot spa. I recommend doing it at least once a week to see the benefits. You can also try foot massagers to relieve your foot pain and increase the blood flow.
Regular Exercise and Walk
Exercise is a go-to hack for most health conditions, including peripheral neuropathy. You may find it funny to work out with painful feet, but it can actually help to reduce pain. Start with low-impact and fun exercises like cycling and swimming, then gradually move on to high-impact exercises like jogging, running, and sports.
Exercise increases your heart rate and allows more oxygen to reach your muscles. It also increases blood flow to your feet, legs, and arms. You can also stretch your feet regularly to keep the muscles and tendons flexible.
Suppose high-impact exercises, such as jogging and running, are strenuous for you or are hard on your feet. In that case, you may want to begin with gentle exercises to increase your heart rate and reduce your foot pain. Some gentle exercises for neuropathy treatment are walking, swimming, cycling and yoga.
Taking a walk for 30 minutes four to five times a week has many benefits for your blood sugar level. It improves your foot health and helps keep your nerves fresh by increasing blood flow and oxygen.
Here are some major benefits of exercise/walking:
- Regular exercise helps combat foot pain, reduces stress, and improves overall health.
- Exercise lowers blood sugar levels and reduces nerve damage, thereby reducing nerve pain.
- Exercise/walking improves blood circulation.
- Exercise improves your mood and relieves stress, which helps in reducing discomfort.
There are various causes of peripheral neuropathy. If your neuropathy is not related to diabetes, you can update your diet to relieve foot pain and treat peripheral neuropathy. You need to include healthier, vitamin-rich foods in your diet. Also, choose foods that will complete your daily vitamin intake.
You can also consult your doctor about vitamin supplements or natural oils to improve your nerve function. I recommend avoiding alcohol consumption since it restricts blood flow and affects nerves.
Protect Your Feet
You need to take care of your feet if you have neuropathy, especially diabetic neuropathy. Be careful not to get cuts on your feet, leading to infection.
“Diabetic neuropathy puts you at high risk of developing foot problems. You need to educate yourself on foot care routines and see a podiatrist for regular foot assessments”. [Management of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy]
Numbness can be one of the main symptoms of neuropathy, so you might not notice that you’ve injured your feet or gotten them cut. However, you can still protect your feet by avoiding barefoot walking. If you walk barefoot, you risk damaging your feet.
In addition, you can discuss shoe recommendations with your doctor if you have peripheral neuropathy. I would recommend slip-on shoes that do not feel too tight but offer enough support and protection for your foot.
Massage Therapy for Foot Pain
Even though medications are the most obvious treatment for foot pain, they come with certain side effects like drug dependency. There are several other ways to manage pain, such as warm compresses and foot massages.
The best way to relieve foot pain and discomfort is to treat the root cause. You can undergo physical therapy or massage therapy to reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. You can self-massage your feet using a tennis ball.
- Sit on a chair and place your feet on the floor.
- Place a tennis ball under your foot.
- Roll your foot over the tennis ball back and forth.
- It will massage the bottom of your foot.
- Do the same for the other foot.
Warm Water Bathing
If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy and have severe foot pain, warm water baths are your best friend. Warm water baths improve the blood flow in your body and reduce pain and numbness.
Indulging in warm water baths has numerous health benefits. It relaxes your entire body and improves blood circulation. In addition, it helps in relieving foot pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.
However, if your neuropathy is due to diabetes, you may not feel the temperature of the water. Therefore, I recommend checking the water temperature with a thermometer beforehand.
Protect Your Feet from Sunburn
When spending time outdoors, you may apply layers of sunscreen to your face, arms, and shoulders, but you might forget your legs and feet. This can result in severe sunburn and swollen feet. Normally, it would be fine, but you need to be careful if you have neuropathy.
To keep your legs and feet from getting sunburned, apply layers of sunscreen to them. If you are spending long hours outdoors, reapply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours to protect your feet from harmful UV sun rays.
If your feet already have sunburns, don’t worry! You can apply cold compresses to soothe them. Applying soothing lotions will also help ease sunburn pain.
Acupuncture is a process that stimulates your body’s natural healing process through certain pressure points. During this process, the nervous system releases chemicals that change the perception of pain.
Acupuncture offers a relatively safe treatment for peripheral neuropathy with fewer side effects than medication.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils contain pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit your peripheral neuropathy. These oils help in boosting your healing process. Additionally, they reduce the pain and tingling in your feet caused by peripheral neuropathy.
However, do not use essential oils in concentrated form. Instead, dilute them with other oils, such as coconut or olive oil.
Consume Cayenne Pepper
The cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which gives it its spicy taste. Besides the taste, it also makes cayenne pepper a pain relief ingredient. In most topical creams, capsaicin is used because of its pain-relieving properties.
When you consume capsaicin, a lower intensity of pain signals is sent through your body. Therefore, you can use cayenne pepper as a remedy to relieve foot pain caused by neuropathy.
Avoid Ill-Fitted Shoes
Sometimes your neuropathy causes mild foot pain, but if you wear poorly fitting shoes, this may convert into severe foot pain.
Many of us are tempted by beautiful shoes without paying much attention to their fitting. Sometimes, we pick them without considering if they are a half size, large or small, and then suffer from foot pain over time.
Poorly fitting shoes can cause severe foot pain and other problems, such as hammertoes and bunions. However, you can avoid foot pain by choosing shoes that fit correctly and provide adequate support.
How To Fit Shoes Correctly?
- You should buy shoes later in the day because your feet tend to swell after a long day. Thus, when you try shoes on, they will fit your feet at their widest and provide a comfortable fit throughout the day. [For detail]
- Most of us have one foot that is slightly larger than the other. So while buying shoes, try them on your larger foot.
- If you already own some ill-fitting shoes, return them if possible or donate them.
Treat Your Foot Infections Immediately
If your neuropathy is related to diabetes, you need to treat your foot problems as soon as possible. Diabetic patients’ immune systems are less effective, making it difficult for them to heal wounds. Therefore, if you suffer from fungal infections like athlete’s foot or toenail fungus, treat them right away.
These infections are usually caused by bacteria, making your feet’ skin itchy and creating thick yellow toenails. Also, if your feet smell, that could be a sign of an infection. To avoid infection growth, consult your podiatrist.
How To Avoid and Treat Foot Infections?
- Clean and dry your feet thoroughly before putting on your socks.
- Change your socks and shoes regularly, especially after a workout.
- Completely dry your feet after a shower.
- Use talcum powder to absorb foot sweat and keep them dry.
- Try to wear flip-flops or open shoes while using pools. Public showers or pools are the perfect places for these bacteria to attack your feet and cause infections.
- If you are already suffering from foot infections applying a topical cream will help clear them.
- If you have severe toenail fungus, you may need to consult your doctor or podiatrist. They will provide you with a customized and effective treatment.
Change Your Posture
Sometimes sitting in a certain way may cause your foot to fall asleep or feel pins/needles. It is medically called paresthesia.
“Paresthesia is a feeling of itching, burning, tingling, or needle-like sensation in your feet. Although harmless, paresthesia can be a sign of neuropathy”. [Peripheral neuropathies from chemotherapeutics and targeted agents: diagnosis, treatment, and prevention].
Sitting on one foot or with your legs crossed may compress a nerve that causes tingling in your feet. The tingling sensation you feel is your nerves waking up after being compressed for a while.
Changing your posture can help you avoid foot sleep, tingling sensations, and needles. Sit with both your feet placed on the ground. Take a short break every hour and move around to avoid foot sleep.
If your foot falls asleep, move it. First, flex your foot and point your toes. Then stand up for a while and take a few steps. Consult your podiatrist if your foot frequently falls asleep or feels pins and needles.
|Warm Foot Baths||Improves blood flow to your feet,|
Reduces foot pain and numbness,
and Relaxes foot muscles.
|Choose Low-Impact Exercise||It helps to avoid any additional foot pain.|
Do not put extra pressure on your feet.
|Add Vitamins to Your Diet||It improves your nerve function.|
|Use Essential Oils||Essential oils help in boosting your healing process.|
Reduce the pain and tingling in your feet.
|Wear Properly Fitted Shoes||They protect your feet and provide adequate support without feeling too tight.|
|Lose Weight||It will lessen your risk of having foot problems.|
|Check Your Feet Daily||It will help you find any minor cuts and blisters as soon as they occur.|
|Change Your Posture||Help you avoid foot sleep, tingling sensations, and needles.|
|Consult Podiatrist||You will get a customized and effective treatment.|
They will recommend you the best orthotics according to your foot conditions.
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