What is neuropathy?

Neuropathy is damage to your nerves. It means your nerves do not carry messages to your brain.

Neuropathy can be present in a number of medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and
alcoholism. The cause may never be known.

Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, burning, pins and needles and sharp pain, worse at night.
You may have no symptoms. You may have severe pain.

Why is neuropathy a problem for your feet?

Your nerves help protect you from injury. Neuropathy can cause deformity or loss of feeling.

Deformity can change your foot shape and your shoes may not fit you properly leading to injury. Injury to your feet can go unnoticed with loss of feeling.

Neuropathy can cause complications such as trauma, ulceration and infection.

What can you do?

If you are diabetic, maintain good blood glucose control. Healthy diet, regular exercise and stopping smoking will help. Some types of neuropathy cannot be reversed.


  • check your feet daily for damage to skin or infection
  • test the temperature of your bath water before putting your feet in – feet can be burned
  • check inside your shoes before putting them on for any objects e.g. stones, toys. turn your socks inside out so seams do not rub toes
  • take a template of your feet or get feet measured when buying new shoes. You may not be able to
    feel if they fit. See our Footwear, Measuring your feet and Fitting your shoes pages.


  • walk barefoot – protect your feet at all times
  • use corn plasters or products that contain acid
  • use anything sharp on your feet
  • use direct heat to warm feet such as fires or hot water bottles.

If you develop any foot problems, seek immediate advice from your doctor or podiatrist.

Consult a podiatrist for advice

The podiatry administration office can be contacted on 01274 221165.

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