Is the condition reversible?
The nerve damage from diabetes is not entirely reversible. However, patients do have treatment options to help manage symptoms. Patients who have neuropathy should focus on regulating blood sugar. These people should also check feet daily for signs of new blisters, sores, or signs of infection. Additionally, patients may consider decompression surgery.
Surgical options for neuropathy
Decompression surgery for neuropathy works similarly to carpal tunnel surgery. During the procedure, the physician will determine which nerve is causing pain. Then the surgeon preserves the nerve by expanding the surrounding area, releasing pressure on the nerve. Typically, this operation is done on an outpatient basis, meaning patients can return home the same day.
What to expect after surgery
While patients can return home the same day of surgery, there is still a recovery process. Patients will need to stay off the affected foot for at least a week after surgery. Most people benefit from having someone at home to help with everyday tasks during the week of recovery. Wait to engage in normal activity levels until the surgeon has provided clearance.
When to consider decompression
As with most surgeries, patients should try more conservative treatments before electing to have a decompression procedure. These treatments can include pain management or pain medication to manage symptoms. Because patients with neuropathy have reduced sensation in the legs and feet, patients need to check the feet every day for wounds.
Risks of neuropathy
Without treatment, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious health complications. If patients don’t notice new cuts or sores, wounds can quickly turn into infections. Diabetic neuropathy can also lead to joint damage, swelling, numbness, urinary problems, and digestive issues.
Treat your feet well
Everyone who has diabetes should follow proper foot care guidelines. Some best practices for diabetic foot care include:
- Checking the feet daily for blisters, bruises, or cuts
- Keeping the feet clean and dry
- Trimming toenails carefully and straight across
- Wearing clean, dry socks
- Wearing shoes that fit well
What to do for nerve damage
Patients who have a diabetes diagnosis should speak with a doctor about preventing neuropathy. Those who already have nerve damage should ask about treatment options. In some cases, decompression surgery may be the best treatment.