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5 Telltale Signs You're Suffering with Nerve Pain

You’re going about your day when unusual pain shoots through your foot or leg. Could you be dealing with nerve pain? Depending on other specifics, it’s definitely possible. And if you have certain risk factors, nerve pain may be a very likely culprit.

Fellowship-trained in treating lower extremity nerve pain, Dr. Stephanie Oexeman of Oexeman Foot and Ankle, PLLC, in Chicago, Illinois, uses both conservative and surgical options to bring you worthy relief.

If you think you may be suffering from nerve pain, consider the following causes, signs, and symptoms.

Causes behind nerve pain

When your nerves are functioning normally, the pain signals they send to your brain are important for ensuring you notice and tend to illnesses and injuries. 

When your nerves are damaged, however, they may send pain signals when nothing is actually wrong. Faulty nerves can also lead to numbness, keeping you from feeling pain when such signals are warranted. 

Underlying causes of nerve pain include:

  • Circulation problems
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Injury to your brain or spine
  • Neuromas (nerve tumors)
  • Phantom pain following an amputation
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Certain medications, such as cardiovascular and anticonvulsant drugs

You might also develop nerve pain after a stroke or certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Signs you’re dealing with nerve pain

Nerve pain affects people differently, with symptoms that may flare up occasionally or stay fairly constant.

Your pain may stem from nerve issues if you notice any of these five signs:

  1. Burning or shooting pain
  2. Loss of balance
  3. Muscle weakness
  4. Numbness 
  5. Tingling

As your condition progresses, you could also experience muscle cramps and mobility problems. If nerve pain affects your feet or ankles, for example, you may have difficulty walking normally. 

What to do about nerve pain

If Dr. Oexeman suspects you’re affected by nerve pain, she examines your feet and toes. She also runs neurological tests, assessing your reflexes and muscle strength. She talks with you about your symptom severity and medical history, and she may order an imaging or blood test as well.

If it turns out that you do have nerve damage, Dr. Oexeman recommends a treatment plan. Depending on factors like your age and overall health, your plan may include conservative or surgical options, such as ultrasound-guided nerve blocks, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, nerve decompression, or nerve release. Getting appropriate care for any underlying condition may also play an important role.

Regardless of the specifics, nerve pain treatment aims to minimize your pain and discomfort, improve your mobility, and give you a better quality of life.

To learn more about nerve pain or get started with the care you need, call our office or book an appointment online today.