Diabetic Neuropathy and Proprioception

Diabetic neuropathy is an uncommon form of nerve damage which can happen when you have diabetes. High blood glucose (high sugar) can damage many nerve roots throughout your body, resulting in severe foot neuropathy. Some people have more mild diabetic neuropathy symptoms. However, severe diabetic neuropathy results in neuropathy or numbness in the feet and lower leg.


Some forms of diabetic neuropathy cause symptoms such as double vision and weakness. The symptoms are most commonly located in the legs, but they can also be found in the feet or hands. One form of diabetic neuropathy that often accompanies diabetic neuropathy of the feet is referred to as diabetic neuropathy of the epidural ganglion. In addition, diabetic neuropathy may also develop in areas such as the groin, ankle, and foot.


There are many different types of neuropathy. Most types can be prevented with diet and exercise. Dietary factors which can prevent diabetic neuropathy include maintaining adequate fluid intake, including water, avoiding sugar rich foods, and getting regular exercise. Regular exercise can improve circulation, which helps to prevent the build up of wastes in the body, and it can also improve the blood glucose levels. It's also important that people who smoke quit because smoking decreases circulation and increases the risk of diabetic neuropathy. One of the possible complications of diabetic neuropathy is the formation of kidney stones. This can lead to a high risk of urinary tract infections. If untreated, kidney stones can block urinary tracts and make it impossible for the body to empty waste products from the urinary tract. This will then allow bacteria to accumulate and ultimately lead to urinary tract infections.


People with diabetic neuropathy often complain about pain and numbness in their feet and lower legs. The most common symptom of diabetic neuropathy is edema. Edema is excess fluid accumulated in the tissues. Sometimes the fluid builds up in the muscles causing a painful feeling when one steps on a hard surface. Numbness and a tingling sensation in the feet and lower legs can both accompany edema.


In dealing with this condition, it is common for specialists to provide shoe insoles for several purposes. Providing a more cushioned surface, bi-laminate or tri-laminate diabetic shoe inserts or insoles can relieve pain from sensitivity to hard surfaces from fluid build-up in the feet. Additionally, to combat the numbness, shoe insoles leverage something called proprioception—the sensory method by which the brain connects motor function with spatial awareness. As diabetic neropathy decreases one's spatial awareness due to the numbing of the feet, it affects motor control and balance. The use of textures or areas of raised cushioning under the feet and toes increases the wearer's perception of where their feet are in relation to themselves, resulting in overall improved motor function—better balance during walking and standing.


PowerStep orthotic insoles are great for providing arch support and improving comfort, but also through their firm arch support shell, heel cup, and other offered features such as the metatarsal pad, these raised areas where the shoe's insole surface would otherwise be flat and less engaging to the foot, are terrific features that use as much of the sense of touch as possible to keep the mind engaged with the foot, and therefore the foot engaged with the ground.


While the use of shoe insoles will improve daily comfort and provide increased sensory information, it's important to understand that the condition will continue to worsen if left untreated or not maintained. Damage to the nerves and the damage caused by high blood sugar levels damage the peripheral nervous system. The diabetic neuropathy progresses as the condition worsens. The damaged nerves are irritated, and they send signals to the rest of the body, which then reacts by sending insulin to combat the problem. However, the sugar found in the blood slows down the action of insulin. This causes an increase in the amount of sugar in the blood, which, in turn, causes damage to nerves.


It should be noted that some of these conditions may also be symptoms of other diseases. It is therefore vitally important to visit a physician and have a complete medical examination. Screening tests for diabetic neuropathy are available from some health care providers. These include high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), fasting insulin test (Fasting insulin test or FAST), urinary incontinence, dizziness and lightheadedness. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you check with your primary care physician first, to determine if you need to take medication to address any of these issues.