Peripheral neuropathy: Weeks to months after having a covid infection some people are experiencing neurological changes to their feet.
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is where nerves in the body’s extremities, (hands & feet) become damaged. If damaged, they may not be able to send signals between the central nervous system (the brain & spinal cord) and all other parts of the body.
Are all nerves the same?
We have different types of nerves with their own specific functions:
- sensory nerves are responsible for transmitting sensations, such as touch, sight, hearing, taste and pain.
- motor nerves control the movement of muscles, such as walking, talking and grasping.
- autonomic nerves control organs to regulate activities that people do not control consciously, such as breathing, digestion, and heart and gland functions (automatic functions).
What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
The symptoms depend on which nerves are affected:
- The symptoms of sensory nerve damage can include loss of sense of touch, temperature, and pain or a tingling sensation.
- Damage to the motor nerves can cause muscle weakness and cramps.
- Common autonomic nerve symptoms include excess or absence of sweating, heat intolerance, and drop in blood pressure upon standing. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (also known as POTS) can increase heart rate when standing up and cause such symptoms as lightheadedness (or fainting) or difficulty concentrating.
How can podiatry help you?
As podiatrists we can assist you with peripheral neuropathy by recognising the extent of numbness through testing sensations with special fibres and then providing advice on how to care and manage your feet in the future.
The following things we test include:
- Numbness or tingling
- Diminished or absent temperature sensitivities
- Reduced sensations to include temperature, sharp and blunt, light touch, and vibration.
- Altered muscle strength and reduced proprioception leading to imbalance.
If you are concerned and are a new client to Zest Podiatry, please book an initial assessment where we can fully assess your feet.
What else may cause peripheral neuropathy?
Other conditions that cause someone to be at risk of peripheral neuropathy include:
- diabetes mellitus and obesity (Royal College of Podiatry)
- vitamin B12 anaemia (www.NHS.UK )
- cancer drugs (www.Macmillan.org.uk )
Previous reports have focused on covid toes during the covid viral infection.