Patients with neuropathy typically experience numbness and loss of normal sensation that can interfere with balance and walking. As a leading podiatrist in Katonah, NY, Dr. Hoffman uses state-of-the-art techniques to determine the underlying causes of nerve problems so she can provide the most effective treatments for patients from throughout Westchester County, NY.

Neuropathy Q&A

by Pamela Hoffman, DPM

What is neuropathy?

Sometimes called neuritis, neuropathy is a nerve-related condition that causes symptoms like pain, numbness, stinging or weakness. Because it most commonly occurs in the hands and feet, it’s also referred to as peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy can be caused by diseases and injury as well as some lifestyle factors. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Diabetes (sometimes referred to as diabetic nerve pain or diabetic neuropathy)
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus, Guillain-Barre syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Bone marrow disorders
  • Alcoholism
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Tumors
  • Compression of a nerve

What is Morton’s neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma is a condition that affects the ball portion of the foot, the fleshy area beneath the toes. It occurs when nerves in that area become pinched or compressed. Often, neuromas can be felt as lumps or hard areas beneath the skin surface. Neuromas can also occur in the heels.

How are nerve-related issues diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with a comprehensive examination and complete personal and family medical history to look for clues and risk factors. A neurological examination can help evaluate reflexes and muscle strength and tone, as well as measure how well the patient perceives sensations in the affected area. In some cases, nerve function studies may be prescribed to assess the function of the nerves and how well they communicate with the muscles. Other types of nerve function tests may also be used.

How is peripheral neuropathy treated?

Treatment usually begins with medication to relieve pain and help block nerve sensations and pain signals. Oral and topical medications may be used. Physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the affected area may also help relieve symptoms. Some patients may benefit from mild electrical stimulation of the affected area using a method called Microvas. When pressure is caused by impingement from a tumor or other growth, surgery may be recommended to relieve the pressure.