Tips to Prevent Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic Connect Staff
By Diabetic Connect StaffA Latest Reply 2013-04-23 20:00:57 -0500
Started 2011-09-27 12:04:26 -0500

What precautions do you take to prevent diabetic neuropathy, especially in your feet? Any suggestions for how to remember and make it less of a chore?

This article in the "Living with…" section offers some suggestions: http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-artic.... But we would love to hear more about what works for you.


38 replies

Old-n-Grey-n-Wiser
Old-n-Grey-n-Wiser 2011-12-17 16:25:27 -0600 Report

I would also suggest that you check the soles on ant thin shoe or slipper for tacks as after a while they will work their way all the way through and start to irritate your sole, if you feeling is comprised and as many of use may not be able to see the bottom of our feet it could mean the start of trouble.

Tom

Caroltoo
Caroltoo 2011-12-17 17:04:31 -0600 Report

A mirror might be the easiest way to see our soles without turning ourselves into human pretzels.

roxann
roxann 2011-12-17 14:52:05 -0600 Report

i have severe neropathy and my feet burn what can i take for it

Carolyn63
Carolyn63 2012-06-27 18:47:57 -0500 Report

I have Neuropathy in my feet and I am taking Lyrica and Metanx. The Metanx has help my feet but the Metanx is very costly. If you want to look up the Metanx there web page is www.Metanx.com

maclover1524
maclover1524 2011-12-18 16:06:52 -0600 Report

You can do 2 very important things. 1. Cut your carb consumption. 2. Get the book, "Diabetes Solution" by Richard Bernstein, M.D. That book saved my husband's life and eliminated severe neuropathy that he had been suffering with for nearly 15 years. My husband could not walk over 75 feet without sitting down to rest. The neuropathy pain was at level 10. He was taking Neurontin and doing everything he could to alleviate the pain. After cutting is carbs down to 2 or 3 a day (30 to 45 grams) within 2 years the neuropathy is nearly gone - down to a pain level of minus 1! He has been in 2 5K races (walking) and finished.
Neuropathy is the precursor to amputation of a toe(s) and eventually the leg. On average, diabetics who have an amputation of any type die within 5 years of that amputation.
Read Dr. B's book. I have nothing at all to do with him. Never met him. He is a practicing physician in N.Y. Following many of his suggestions in the book, turned our lives around.
Don't just mask the symptoms of neuropathy. That pain is there to tell you that you need to take charge of your diabetes. Dr. Bernstein can show you how.
Good luck and God bless you.

Brother Raoul
Brother Raoul 2011-12-19 20:06:14 -0600 Report

sounds good. I thought I was done. It still takes a lot of willpower and discipline of whicxh I have little of. i will try my hardest to digest only 2to3 carbs a day but that will very hard. I will read the doctor's book and go from there, Asante sana.

maclover1524
maclover1524 2011-12-20 21:41:30 -0600 Report

Willpower is a myth! It doesn't take willpower it takes a plan, a program if you will that you plan to follow each and every day. You make sure you have your breakfast foods ready in the refrigerator each night before you retire. My husband has his on a cookie sheet. The tray is easy to slid out in the morning and everything he needs to make breakfast is on that tray. Eggs, bacon, butter, strawberries, blueberries. You plan your meals. Know what you're going to eat the next day and then set that plan in motion. Once you cut down on the carbs, the craving for carbs goes away. My husband was a voracious fruit lover. If it grew on a tree or had the name of a fruit, he ate it. He no longer eats fruits - except on rare occasions and the low carb fruits he eats for breakfast. If you read a little of our story on this forum, you know that my husband couldn't walk more than 75 feet at a time, the neuropathy was so bad in both his feet that he was on pain medication for years. Eating low carb, losing weight and exercising has turned his life around 180 degrees! 10 years ago he used to do nothing except sit on the couch with the remote control in his hand. His thumb moving on the remote was the only exercise he got. Yesterday he went to the local gym and walked his 2 miles, when he got home he made breakfast. He sat down for a little bit and then came into my office and told me that he was going to the store to buy a new range hood and install it. While he was installing it, I couldn't help but to notice that not once during the nearly 2 hours that it took to get this thing installed and all the issues he was having with the installation - not once did he lose his temper or get angry or irritable. Getting a program you can live with works. Willpower or saying that it takes a "lot of willpower" is an excuse. You can keep pilling one excuse upon the other but you are only fooling yourself. You are the one that will suffer from the horrible affects of diabetes. Please don't let that happen to you. Right now you can't imagine how bad things can get. Yes, yes, yes, get Dr. Bernstein's book - read it and follow his instructions. Talk to your doctor about it but don't expect your doctor to know what you learn in Dr. B's book. Majority of the physicians do not know. I wish you not only a happy holiday season but good health. If you have any questions, please post them here or go to our liveabetterlife dot org and find out how you can email me directly.

donpedro
donpedro 2013-04-23 20:00:57 -0500 Report

Im very impressed with the way you have taken control of your health!!! Is there a new book out or are you still recommending this one?

dollymzbutterfly
dollymzbutterfly 2011-12-18 14:59:13 -0600 Report

I have found Cymbalta to work the best for me. Ask your Dr. My feet felt like I was walking on a golf ball under my feet. I had such severe pain I would take like 4 500 mg tablets of Tylenol just to get to sleep, only to wake a couple of hours later to shooting stabs of pain going through my feet.

aprylrayne
aprylrayne 2011-12-18 01:52:32 -0600 Report

I take allopurinol for my gout, but we tried everything to dull or get rid of the burnin sensation… my doctor finally prescribed Lyrica. It works… but I feel my body is building up a tolerance for it, because sometimes, I just can't get to sleep due to the pain and burning in my feet. Pfizer is nice enough to help me with my meds… hope this helps.

jayabee52
jayabee52 2011-12-17 15:06:07 -0600 Report

I use Alpha Lipolic Acid, and Biotin OTC supplements.

I seem to be having a reduction of the burning pain.

There are Rx meds also, gabapentin(neurontin) and a number of various anti depression and anti anxiety meds. (all with individual results or no results)

Here is a page of discussions from over the years on DC. Neuropathy is much spoken about here ~ http://www.diabeticconnect.com/discussions?by...

Particulars may be had through reading some of these discussiona,

maclover1524
maclover1524 2011-12-17 12:20:58 -0600 Report

Are you kidding me with that article on "Tips to Prevent Diabetic Neuropathy" especially in your feet? "One of the biggest risks for developing diabetic neuropathy is having out of control blood sugar levels. Keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal range as possible protects nerves throughout your body." "One of the biggest risks" Yikes! It IS THEE biggest risk for developing neuropathy any where in the body peripheral (hands/feet) as well as autonomic neuropathy!

Okay, so now that you have told these people that controlling their blood sugars or to quote your article "Keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal range as possible protects nerves throughout your body" is important - what you failed to tell the reader is HOW you accomplish keeping blood sugars as close to normal range as possible. And it's not by taking more and more medication.

You get the idea that I am a bit unnerved (no pun intended) by this article. It's because my husband suffered from type 2 diabetes for over 20 years. In 2002, the neuropathy in both his feet was so severe that he was taking gabapentin (Neurontin) to try to relieve some of the pain. He could not walk more than 75 feet at one time without sitting down to rest his feet. He would go to bed at 7:30 p.m. and try to fall asleep so that he could forget the pain. He stopped going shopping with me (something we both enjoyed) because he would walk down the main aisle of the store, turn and look at me and let me know that he had to go back to the car to rest. This went on for nearly 15 years! It got worse and worse! He wore special shoes, he tried massage, he tried everything he could think of to relieve the pain. Other symptoms presented during this time as well but I will focus only on the neuropathy in his feet here. By this time he was well along in his journey with type 2 diabetes. He was on 43 units of insulin, diuretics, pain meds and more.

In 2002 I told my children that within 6 months I would be pushing dad around in a wheelchair and I meant it. His weight had ballooned up to 280 pounds and he is only 5' 10".

At the end of 2002, I picked up a book and read it —- it changed our lives! "Diabetes Solution" by Richard Bernstein, M.D. now in it's 4th edition. I have absolutely no affiliation with Dr. B except to say thank you for saving my husband's life.

We changed our lifestyle going from European cooking (Polish, Czech and German - with a lot of Italian too) to low carb. Within 9 months my husband lost 80 pounds, within 3 months he was off of insulin (and has never gone back), within 2 years he was off of the neurontin and has never had to take another pain medication for neuropathy. He says his pain level has gone from a plus 10 to a minus 1.

We teach classes on How We Beat Diabetes! We beat the awful affects of this disease by counting our carbs, eating a controlled number of carbs per day (like 2 or 3 only) and by exercising. Oh, I didn't mention that in within a short time after beginning our new way of eating, my husband was in 2 5K races and finished (walking of course). He goes to the gym 3 times a week and walks at least 2 miles each time. Uses Nautilus machines to help build muscles. He is 72 years old! We celebrated our 51 wedding anniversary in October, 2011. He is back to being the wonderful, lovable man I married - free of pain. In the last couple of months, he decided that he should lose more weight. He is now down to 186 pounds! When he loses those next 6 pounds, he will have lost a total of 100 pounds!

He has never gained the weight back, he has never gone back on insulin, he comes off of medication every time he goes to his doctor.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you are reading a true story. You can see our story at liveabetterlife dot org and see for yourself the success we have had. I give all the credit to Dr. Bernstein.

When I read that article I thought I must have missed something…ah, like how about the MOST important something — like the way you prevent / reverse diabetic neuropathy is by eating a low carb diet.

Anonymous
Anonymous 2011-12-18 16:21:33 -0600 Report

Would you consider reading some of what is one the site before you condemn Jeannette or others about missing the major issue. It wouldn't require much reading to see that the focus of this whole site is to reduce our blood glucose readings!

Glad your husband has been successful. Many of us have also. That's what's all about.

digitaldoorbell
digitaldoorbell 2011-12-17 10:44:26 -0600 Report

The responses that you see below are good advice. I take gabapentin three times a day, it helps a lot. I also find that if I keep my feet warm all the time (slippers at home, electric blanket at night) I have no problems at all. I take no meds for diabetes and control BS with exercise and diet. Neuropathy is awful, I would encourage everyone to take care of themselves before it develops and, from what I read, there are many things that you can do to delay or prevent it.

All the best…

Jan8
Jan8 2011-12-17 09:40:38 -0600 Report

I wash my feet with dove extramoisture with nutrium,dry well esp btwn toes and apply aquaphor to bottoms and sides but not between toes.

happilymarried
happilymarried 2011-12-17 08:02:20 -0600 Report

my name is sally dreist and i have diabetic peripheral neuropathyand i have not feeling from my knee downi am also wearing special shoes and walking with a cane but my doctor still said i am able to go to work ,but my feet are burning all the time ,,like they are on fires 24 hours a day.

starsnstars
starsnstars 2011-12-17 08:53:33 -0600 Report

There are medications like Neurontin that will help with the burning. If your doctor is not interested in prescribing, ask to see a neurologist. Good luck!

GaryFB
GaryFB 2011-12-17 07:53:38 -0600 Report

I gave up trimming my nails. My wife would say I was bleeding a bit on occasion and I wouldn't know it. So, I have a bimonthly appointment with a good in-network podiatrist. I also put "Diabetiderm" cream on my feet every morning and before bed, but it gives me a chance to make a cursory toe and feet inspection. Neuropathy, I have numbness from the calf down on both legs, and claudication (intermittent) pain that I have tried a bunch of stuff with for relief—capsaicin, am on Neurontin, and will be starting a series of nerve stimulation at therapy, of which my insurance will cover 3 treatments a week for a month. My right leg, I have "foot drop," due to damage to the peroneal nerve, which wraps around the calf and shin and down toward the feet; I wear a brace and use a wheeled walker for now. It just keeps me from walking unassisted for now, but I still strengthen on machines at a wellness center. Saw a neuromuscular specialist, who told me to give it a little time and the nerve may grow back. So, I do what I can to be patient for now and keep stretching the muscles when possible to stave off atrophy. I figure life is really too short and someone else is worse off than me.

pixsidust
pixsidust 2011-11-29 10:24:34 -0600 Report

I was just thinking about feet this morning. I am shopping for a house slipper. I am not going for a shoe designated to be a slipper because there is not enough support . I am looking for a real leather shoe that is fleece lined. I want the full foot support while having a shearling lining for warmth. If I need to pop out to walk the dogs are just stay in my feet are supported and warm. Slippers just do not work anymore for my need

So many shoes are not real leather these days and are made of unbreathable various forms of soft plastic some that are very leather like, especially fake suede. Yet these do not really let our feet breathe so we do not build moisture causing fungus.

I have found my best luck with shoes that are made mostly in Europe and very few that are not. Find brands that known for quality leather. Born, Clarks, Timberlands, Ariat, Merrell, Dansko, Birkenstock, UGG & Tatami to name a few. They are made well, comfortable sole, have arch support and good leather. Athletic shoes can be good as well but make sure again if there are no breathable cloth parts that it is real leather. READ THE LABEL ON THE SHOE TONGUE!

Go to your discount stores like a Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Famous Footwear to find the better prices or shop on Ebay. I have bought some fabulous shoes and hopefully some slipper/shoes soon. Good shoes are made more true to size, although that varies with athletic shoes. Have had some bad sizing issues with Nike. When in doubt go up a half size. I have some fabulous Ariats that were $129 and I paid a total cost of $30-40 including shipping. I got a pair of Merrels for $15 total. Those are $70 in the discount stores. You just have to take your time to search and watch. Since I am at home that is easy. I also have a pair of the other mentioned brands. If you have a favorite shoe see if you can find it on Ebay and get a second pair.

Now I do soak and sand my feet so calluses do not form and crack. When they crack it usually goes deep. I have had that happen and the pain is not fun. You can sand then in the shower or right afterwards. Its easier when they are soft. Watch what you are doing so you are careful. Lotion sinks in better if you do not have a hoof to rub it on.

My feet feel great when I slip them into my butter soft leather shoes. Lastly don't walk barefoot! LOL family!

raddaddydan
raddaddydan 2011-12-17 08:33:30 -0600 Report

I would suggest going on to the Lands End site, @ landsend.com to look for some really good deals on an inside slipper. I purchased a pair of real leather house slippers, with real fleece inside. Now, as expected, they do not breathe, but I do not wear socks with them, so they do not make my feet sweat. It's just enough to knock off the cold and to keep my feet warm. I do not advocate for wearing them outside, but have stepped out on the back patio with the dogs, when it is dry. Also, I still believe that they make the moccasins made of leather that can be worn inside and outside. Just a suggestion. Thanks for the information about the calluses and cracks. I thankfully have not had that problem yet, but do not want to ever start either. I know how long it take for just a scratch on the hand, arm, or leg takes to heal, and it always leaves a scar. And my glucose levels are under control. I would hate to think what having an injury to my feet could do to me, as I walk and stand on my feet at work all day long. And lastly, I do need to be more ritualistic in NOT going barefoot inside of my home!!!

Degibu
Degibu 2011-11-29 09:25:18 -0600 Report

It does my heart good to hear the people on here are checking their feet. It is SO important. I have worked for a podiatrist/foot surgeon for 10+ years and you wouldn't BELIEVE some of the horror stories that I could tell, however HPPA prevents me from doing so. I would like to semi-correct the article however. They state that not taking care of your feet can lead to having your "foot" amputated. #1, it may simply start out as a toe or two or more being amputated. But just a foot? Never. The amputation will ALWAYS be below the knee. If that isn't enough to scare people into taking care of themselves, I don't know what is. Seeing our share of "denyabetics" everyday, I cannot stress how important it TRULY is!

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-11-28 10:01:07 -0600 Report

I check my feet in the morning and before going to bed. I use lotions on my soles and ointments on my nails to fight fungus. One thing that is helping the pain and burning of my neuropathy is using Alpha Lipoic Acids. I take 600 mg in the morning and 600 again at dinner. This has really helped me sleep and have less annoyances at night. Good glucose control helps too! That is always the first and best line of defense.

nanapam123456
nanapam123456 2011-11-28 10:38:35 -0600 Report

i cant afford the doc visits no insurance so im trying everything to keep my sugars down and i have really high blood pressure,i allready have nerve damage in my feet an left side of my hip. sounds like this might help.thanks

MoeGig
MoeGig 2011-10-25 20:31:20 -0500 Report

This is the complication I fear the most. I went to a PAD (Perepheral Artery Disease) seminar last week and learned a lot. After 46 years of relatively successful treatment, I just didn't want to begin losing toes, legs, like I saw in many of my peers with Diabetes. In addition to closely monitoring blood glucose, I also exercise my feet 4-5 times/week by running (albeit slowly) on the treadmill. Keeps the small arteries open and creates new ones to circumvent the ones that might be clogged (according to my doctor). I agree with all the other suggestions made here, but I think, exercising your feet is most important.

troublemaker27
troublemaker27 2011-10-25 11:00:26 -0500 Report

i check my feet daily i use cream for my feet and check my blood sugar ever evening.
i wear slippers at home.
my doctor is at home with her new baby.
i see a lot of people are here with replies on their diagnoses see you and be safe take care good bye all

Brother Raoul
Brother Raoul 2011-09-27 21:26:34 -0500 Report

I check my feet daily for cuts, sores or any abnormalities.I try to wash my feet daily.I am starting to cover my feet with petroleum jelly or lotion containing lanolin. I never go barefoot. I wear special socks in the daytime. I presently have an appointment with the Dr. for tests, there four and far too long to list but they guage the degree of nerve damage. I have presently found about nitric acid, a substance in the body that dilates the blood cells and increases the blood flow to the vessels and nerves. There is also prescription called Metanx. It is a medical food for dietary management of endotheliial dysfunction in patients with diabetic periheral neuropathy. Lastly, There is a substance called Homocysteine in the body. Homocystiene levels have been shown to be elevated in patients with peripheral vascular disease and chronic, non-healing-lower extremity ulcers. Metanx provides distrinct nutritional requirements for patients with elevated homocystiene levels.
Peace

katytweety
katytweety 2011-12-17 11:30:56 -0600 Report

I use the Petroleum Jelly just plain, for my feet and any other place that needs it, like on my lips every night.

Abby888
Abby888 2011-09-27 12:11:09 -0500 Report

Wearing good shoes or sneakers is a smart thing to do. I was always wearing flip flops and my feet really hurt. They still give me a problem from time to time but not like they used to. Keeping my glucose numbers as close to normal has helped me too.

grammy215
grammy215 2011-09-27 21:59:14 -0500 Report

I've found that the only shoes that don't make my feet hurt are Crocks. They are ugly as can be but my feet feel much better, I also prefer to go barefoot as much as I can. I haven't found any other type of shoe that is comfortable for me.

katytweety
katytweety 2011-12-17 11:34:45 -0600 Report

Why does anyone say not to go barefoot? I'm the most comfortable without shoes on. My feet don't hurt that way. I wear a size 12W shoe and very hard to find one that is comfortable or keeps my feet warm. Would you believe they are actually warmer with out shoes on!

Zoitsa
Zoitsa 2011-12-18 00:54:22 -0600 Report

Because barefoot one can step on something and get a cut, or stub a toe easily, and then…(as explained ).above

Caroltoo
Caroltoo 2011-12-17 11:54:11 -0600 Report

Katy: I like to go barefood too. The issue is that d.neuropathy can cause you to loose the feeling in your feet so that you do not know that you have injured the foot—cut on a stone, stuck with a splinter, etc. These wounds, left untreated (because you don't notice they are there), can lead to serious health problems including amputation. It's a cautionary tale: the solution for those of us who go barefoot or wear sandals is to do a thorough visual check of the entire foot each day.