Among the many health challenges a person struggling with alcoholism has to face is one that poses particular difficulties for the feet and that is neuropathy. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM we want to help patients in this situation protect their feet as they recover.
Neuropathy is another word for nerve damage and it can be associated with several conditions including peripheral arterial disease and diabetes. Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol, which can cause nerve damage when consumed in excess. Symptoms of neuropathy include:
- Loss of sensation or numbness in the feet and toes
- A feeling of weakness in the feet
Protecting Your Feet
When you are unable to accurately perceive sensation in your feet, they are at risk for injury. To keep your feet safe, follow these precautions:
- Don’t go barefoot—even at home. Puncture wounds and minor cuts may not be noticeable in numb feet and on the bottom of your feet they won’t be immediately visible and can become infected. In addition, keeping feet covered will prevent them from coming in direct contact with fungi and bacteria that cause foot infections.
- Avoid direct heat on feet—heating pads, electric blankets and even the hearth of a fireplace can all cause serious burns if your feet can’t tell you when it’s too hot. Be sure to check the temperature of bath water with your hand or elbow before stepping into the tub.
- Inspect feet regularly to check for blisters, redness, swelling, cuts, bruises and other changes that may signal an injury or infection
Nerve damage caused by alcohol abuse may become permanent if not treated. The first step is to treat alcoholism so that the damaging alcohol abuse stops. Then the foot doctor can formulate a plan that best suits you to reverse the nerve damage as much as possible. This may include the use of vitamin supplication (with a focus on B vitamins), prescription medications, galvanic stimulation and/or magnetic therapy.
If you are experiencing symptoms of neuropathy in your feet it’s important that you make an appointment at our Cape May County office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, can evaluate your condition and begin treatment. Contact us today at (609) 927-4894.