Peripheral neuropathy is the damage to one or more of the peripheral nerves. It results in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and pain in the area supplied by the nerve. The normal functioning of the nerve disrupts. The peripheral nerves send sensory and motor signals to the central nervous system to work. When only one peripheral nerve is involved, it is known as mononeuropathy. Polyneuropathy is the involvement of multiple nerves.
Sensory tests help to check the sensations in the affected area. Motor testing checks the strength of the muscles supplied by the nerve. Besides these, EMG (Electromyography) and NCV (Nerve Conduction Velocity) studies determine the electrical activity and neural conduction velocity, respectively. Blood tests help to determine the possible causes of neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy results from many different causes. Common symptoms are numbness, diminished joint position sense, balance impairment, weakness of muscles, and pain. Identifying and addressing the underlying cause is crucial for management.
Exercises help with strength and balance problems common with peripheral neuropathy in the feet. Following Exercises are beneficial in peripheral neuropathy in the feet-
- Heel raises-Stand with both feet together. Lift your heels by pressing up through your toes. Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly lower your heels to the starting position. Repeat ten times. This exercise uses your body weight to strengthen the calf muscle.
- Calf Stretching– Stand facing a wall. Put your hands on the wall. Now step one foot behind the other with the affected leg at the back. With the front knee bent and the back knee straight, gently lean toward the wall keeping your back foot on the ground until a stretch is felt in the calf of the back leg. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. Repeat five times.
- Hamstring stretch-Sit on the floor with one leg out straight. Bend your other leg at the knee such that the sole of your foot rests against the inner thigh of the other extended leg. Pull your toes towards you. Now reach forward to touch the toes of your outstretched leg by bending at the hips. Keep your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and do three reps on each side.
- Ankle ROM Exercises– Start in the long sitting position, pull your feet towards you and hold for five seconds. Then pull them down so that the toes are pointing away from you. Repeat 10-15 times.
- Ball rolling under the feet-Place a golf or rubber ball under your foot and move it forward and backward for a gentle massaging action.
- Single leg balance-Stand behind a sturdy chair and hold on to the back of it. Lift your right foot and balance on your left foot. Hold that position for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch feet.
- Tandem stance-Stand one foot directly in front of the other and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with the other foot in front.
- Sit to stand-Sit on a sturdy chair with feet resting on the floor, about hip distance apart. Without using assistance from your hands, push yourself to stand, extending your knees. Now lower yourself back to the seated position. Repeat ten times.
- Side leg raises– Stand next to a chair and grasp it for support if required. Transfer your weight to your right leg, then lift your left leg out to the side as high as possible. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat it on the right side.
- Stationary Bike– for 10-15 minutes.
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