Doctor encourages people with diabetes to explore treatment options.
White Plains, November 10, 2023—During November’s Diabetes Awareness Month, one local podiatrist is urging people with diabetes who experience nerve pain in their feet to seek medical attention and explore their options for relief.
Up to 70 percent of people with diabetes experience peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage caused by high blood sugar. Nerve damage can cause sensations of heaviness and numbness or burning and tingling that can be excruciatingly painful.
Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy can affect mobility, interrupt sleep, and contribute to depression and anxiety. And nerve damage may progress to complete loss of sensation, which puts patients at risk for wounds they can’t feel, serious infections, and even amputation and death.
“People with diabetes should know that foot pain is never normal,” said Afsana Qader, DPM. “You don’t have to live with pain. At the first sign of discomfort, patients should see their podiatrist for diagnosis and to discuss treatment options.”
Dr. Qader emphasized that proper diagnosis is critical. Other conditions, such as a herniated disc or a vitamin deficiency can cause similar sensations, so it’s important to get the right diagnosis to address the symptoms. Your podiatrist is an expert in the foot and ankle and can identify the source of the pain.
“If a patient does have peripheral neuropathy, it’s important to catch it early,” said Dr. Qader. “The pain typically begins in the toes, but peripheral neuropathy does progress, so come in to see your podiatrist before it spreads up your foot.”
Dr. Qader said your podiatrist can discuss options to treat your nerve pain, from pharmaceuticals to devices, and can refer you to a neurologist or pain management expert if necessary. She also emphasized that it’s important to make your primary care physician and your entire diabetes care team aware if you develop peripheral neuropathy.
Your podiatrist can also collaborate with the rest of your diabetes care team to help you manage your A1C, the best way to avoid or slow the progression of peripheral neuropathy.
To learn more about painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy and the options available to treat your pain, visit www.apma.org/diabetes.
Dr. Qader is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association.