01st May 2023
Nerve Pain in Foot: Why It Happens and What To Do About ItDr. Jill Barat, PharmD
Nerve pain in the foot can range from a slight annoyance to a debilitating daily malady.
Nerve pain in the foot can affect anyone and has a variety of different causes, but it is found most commonly in those with diabetes.
When nerve pain occurs in those with diabetes it is often referred to as diabetic neuropathy, and as many as half of all diabetes patients are affected.
What does nerve pain in the foot feel like?
Everyone may have a slightly different experience with their nerve pain depending on the severity, exact location, other conditions, or which nerves are affected.
The most common symptoms or descriptions of nerve pain, or neuropathy, include:
- Touch sensitivity
- Pain with normal activities
- Muscle weakness
Why does nerve pain in the foot happen?
Nerve pain, or neuropathy, can happen when the nerves which are connecting parts of the foot to the brain are damaged or not functioning correctly.
This leads to less or improper signaling from the area to the brain, causing sensations of pain or numbness.
The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes, as this disease causes too much sugar to be in the bloodstream, and this excess sugar eventually causes damage to nerves.
However, diabetes is not the only cause of neuropathy, and many other diseases may lead to nerve pain.
Conditions that may cause neuropathy:
- Auto-immune diseases (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome)
- Infections (HIV, Lyme, Epstein-Barr, Hepatitis, Shingles)
- Inherited neuropathy disorders
- Bone marrow disorders
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Connective tissue disorders
Reducing and preventing foot nerve pain at home:
- Keep blood sugars closely regulated
- Improve contributing conditions
- Eat a healthy well-balanced diet
- Include regular exercise into your lifestyle
- Keep weight in the optimal range
- Stop smoking
- Reduce or avoid alcohol consumption
- Avoid repetitive motions with the affected area
- Wear properly fitted footwear
Foot nerve pain medications
There are medications that may help to reduce your overall pain and discomfort with neuropathy.
Over-the-counter medications for mild to moderate pain may include pain relievers such as Acetaminophen, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or Naproxen.
Some people find relief with over-the-counter creams and patches containing lidocaine or capsaicin.
However, with consistent or more severe nerve pain you may need prescription medication to help improve the condition.
There is a wide variety of medications that may help with nerve pain including:
- Gabapentin (Neurontin)
- Pregabalin (Lyrica)
Your doctor may also recommend that you try a prescription pain cream that delivers medication through your skin when applied to the painful area.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.