Pain in the foot caused by nerve damage is a common problem. The pain may present itself as a burning, tingling, weakness or numbness and can also affect your legs. This pain is created by damage to the nerves somewhere along the path from the spine down to the feet. This damage can occur either from a medical condition, injury or as a side effect of medication.
Nerves are responsible for carrying information and messages to your muscles and telling them when and how to work. They also provide information on different sensations like hot and cold and control bodily functions. Damage anywhere along the nerve can cause the inability to carry these message and can cause pain in the feet. This pain is also known as neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy.
Nerve pain in the feet can stem from two places, the spine or the legs and the feet. Peripheral neuropathy is caused when there is damage along the course of a nerve somewhere in the leg or foot. In this case, the symptoms are generally localised to the foot but can be felt in the lower leg too. In cases of nerve pain that stem from the spine, this can cause bum, back, leg and foot pain and weakness. Hopefully, this information can help you identify where your nerve pain is coming from.
Spinal conditions that can cause nerve problems in the feet include:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Sciatic nerve problems
These can all cause nerve problems in the foot, and although we can treat the symptoms from these conditions, we would like to discuss a cause of nerve problems that stems directly from the feet. This condition is peripheral neuropathy and it’s one of the most common causes of nerve damage in the UK.
This is an issue with the nerves in your extremities, in this case, in your feet and lower legs. Peripheral neuropathy is an issue with the nerves that carry messages and information to and from the spinal cord and your brain.
Peripheral neuropathy can either come on suddenly or develop over time. It is most common for more than one nerve to be affected and this means that symptoms are usually felt in both feet. These symptoms may come and go or progressively get worse.
The most common cause of this condition is diabetes. Diabetic nerve pain in your feet is due to changes in your blood sugar levels. These changes affect the metabolism of the glucose levels in the nerves.
You can also develop peripheral neuropathy from a sudden injury or a repetitive injury that compresses the nerves over time. An illustration of a type of injury to the nerve that occurs over time is carpal tunnel syndrome (in the wrist and hand) or tarsal tunnel syndrome (in the foot) which will cause a burning sensation in the foot.
Other causes of nerve pain in the feet include:
If you have any feeling of numbness or nerve pain in your feet then you should speak with your physician as soon as you can. They will be able to assess your feet, look into your medical history and do further tests to find the cause.
To find out more about common foot infirmities, please take a look at the other articles on our website.