Typically, the solution to weakness is to increase weight-bearing exercises to tear down and build up muscle tissue. But when neuropathy is at play, working out harder isn’t the answer.
If you’re experiencing unexplained muscle weakness, come see us at Dan Preece, DPM, & Darren Groberg, DPM, a branch of Utah Musculoskeletal Specialists in Salt Lake City. We use the most advanced technology to diagnose neuropathy and get you started on treatment that will have you moving freely again so you can carry groceries, lift weights, and get on with your life.
The link between neuropathy and muscle weakness
Your peripheral nervous system sends messages to and from your brain and the rest of your body. Different types of nerves within this system have different jobs: the sensory nerves signal pain, temperature, pressure, and texture, and the autonomic nerves control involuntary functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and digestion.
Your motor nerves control your muscles. Each time you take a step, lift a pencil, or tap your foot, you can thank your motor nerves.
Neuropathy — nerve damage — can affect any of these peripheral nerve divisions and compromise their ability to function properly. If you have a compressed or damaged motor nerve, one of the most common symptoms is muscle weakness.
You may also experience:
- Muscle shrinkage
Addressing these symptoms means getting to the bottom of the neuropathy that caused them.
Common causes of neuropathy
Several health conditions can lead to neuropathy, including autoimmune diseases, Lyme disease, hepatitis C, kidney problems, and vascular disorders. And, of course, trauma to your musculoskeletal system can easily pinch, entrap, or sever a nerve and cause neuropathy.
But by far, the most common culprit behind neuropathy is diabetes, the disease that interferes with your ability to produce and process insulin, leading to sustained high blood sugar and subsequent nerve damage.
Drs. Preece and Groberg treat diabetic neuropathy daily, helping our patients recover function in their sensory, motor, and autonomic nerves.
How to tell if you have neuropathy
Since the symptoms of neuropathy may point to other health conditions as well, it’s important to seek an expert diagnosis.
To confirm neuropathy, we use two advanced technological devices that ensure accuracy and aid in monitoring your condition.
One of the most effective ways to measure the function of your peripheral nervous system is to evaluate how well your sweat glands are working. To do this, we use a device called SUDOSCAN®, a noninvasive tool that allows us to measure the activity in your sweat glands in about three minutes.
The results of the scan are instant and have a 95% accuracy rate. By helping us detect nerve damage early, SUDOSCAN allows us to get a jump on treatment that may slow the progression of the damage.
Pressure specified sensory device (PSSD)
With diabetes, nerve damage in the lower extremities is common because high blood sugar affects your vascular system, which already has the difficult task of returning blood to your heart from the farthest place and against gravity.
To find out if the nerves in your feet and ankles are compressed or damaged, we use a pressure specified sensory device to record the threshold levels of specific nerves and check their innervation density or degeneration.
The test is simple and painless. We touch a device with two small round probes to the bottom of your foot, and you tell us when you feel the pressure of one or both. This lets us determine the source of your symptoms, the degree of nerve damage or compression, and whether any regeneration is taking place.
Depending on the underlying cause of your neuropathy, we may recommend lifestyle changes, diabetes control, or medication to reduce your symptoms and stop the problem from getting worse.
If your muscles are weak, crampy, and twitchy, schedule an appointment to talk with our expert podiatrists today. Either call us or book online.