Understanding Neuropathy ( Diabetes )
Peripheral neuropathy is the name for damage to motor and sensory nerves. Having diabetes significantly raises the risk of developing this condition, which usually affects the legs and feet. The motor and sensory nerves help you move and experience sensation.
“Peripheral” means at the edges or away from the center. In this case, the feet are farthest from the center of the body. “Neuro” refers to the nerves and “pathy” means “a disorder of.” Because neuropathy usually affects the longest nerves in the body first, symptoms such as tingling, burning, or numbness appear first in the feet and hands. Try to think of the nervous system as the electrical system in your house. The wires to the lights and appliances would be the peripheral nerves, while the fuse box and main cable would be the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
When motor nerves are damaged, muscles in your foot can weaken, which can cause changes in the shape of the foot. Toes can curl up and the fat pad on the bottom of the foot can shift and no longer protect the skin. Those bones can get very close to the skin, which can cause calluses. The sensory nerve damage prevents you from feeling pain, so the callus can become an ulcer without you knowing it.
Have your doctor check your feet every time you visit, and always tell him or her about any change in how your feet look or feel. This can help prevent and identify any potential problems.