Here are some quick tips to help your neuropathy no matter what the cause. These concepts are simple, but not easy. It will take time and some adjustment on your part, but it’s worth the investment.
Take care of your feet daily:
Inspect your feet everyday
Because of having decreased sensation with neuropathy, it is extremely important to check your feet daily for possible injury or infection that you cannot feel. Even if you are wearing protective shoes and not walking around barefoot, your shoe may rub wrong and cause irritation such as a blister or cut on your foot which you cannot feel. If you are unable to properly inspect your own feet, ask a family member, friend or get a mirror that you can use. It is so important that injuries are treated right away otherwise an infection can develop and progress into something much worse.
Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly
It is also extremely important to wear properly fitting shoes if you have neuropathy. Trying to “break in” shoes is never a good idea due to the lack of sensation and feeling in your feet which can cause you to get blisters without you feeling them. It is essential that you have shoes that are closed toe shoes so that you can decrease the chances of getting cuts on your feet which can lead to infections if not properly healed.
Tips to help find the right fitting shoes include:
- Going to a shoe store that analyzes your gait and helps find the right shoe for you based on your personal needs
- Try shoes on at the end of the day – your feet are more likely to be swollen at the end of the day from standing on them. If shoes fit comfortably when they are a little swollen, they should be good when they are not.
- Consider laced shoes instead of slip ons – they tend to be a better fit and provide more support.
- Avoid high heels – they put a lot of pressure on the ball of your foot and if you have nerve damage you may not realize that area is getting sore. They also are likely to cause balance difficulties.
Eat healthy and balanced meals
As with everything, eating a healthy and balanced diet is important to your overall health and wellness. What we eat and drink can directly contribute to or exacerbate neuropathy or peripheral nerve damage. Your nerves need the right balance of nutrients to function properly. Uncontrolled or poor blood sugar control is the primary factor that leads to nerve damage as well as elevated levels of inflammation.
Ensuring an adequate intake of B-vitamins is important for nerve health as well as omega-3 fatty acids to help control inflammation levels throughout the body. B-vitamins, especially B-12, are found in high doses in clams and liver, as well as beef, eggs, and most seafood. Seafood, especially salmon and smaller fish like sardines, mackerel, etc are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. B-12 supplementation should be considered for those following a vegetarian/vegan diet as it is not adequately supplied through plant foods and the “fortified” foods it is present in can negatively affect blood sugar control in most people.
Just move more
The modern lifestyle has most of us moving less and less. As our economy has moved into knowledge work meaning many jobs that require movement (physical labor) have gone away. So, we have to add movement into our daily routine to counteract our sedentary lives. This doesn’t have to be running 10 miles or going to the gym for hours on end. Simple solutions like a walk with your dog or other loved one, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or even parking as far away from the grocery store as you can are little changes you can make to add more movement into your day.