Diagnosis of numb feet and other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can be difficult. Diagnosis of the neuropathy helps in the type of neuropathy treatment required to manage symptoms and providing pain relief. The physician can take down history such as when did the first symptom appeared and the occurrence of these symptoms were sudden or gradual process. Numb feet and tingling feet with invisible ‘stocking’ like sensation are helpful. Patients may also have coordination problems and autonomic changes.
As this neuropathy can run in families so information about the family members is taken. It is necessary to exclude any systemic disease which might be the cause of neuropathy. Any abnormality in movement and senses can also be known by physical examination.
After this blood tests are done to know the level of vitamin, thyroid function, liver and kidney function and blood sugar levels. Increased blood sugar level or diabetes can cause diabetic neuropathy thus resulting numb feet. These are mainly done to rule out systemic diseases as a cause.
COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY AND MRI
Neurological computerized tomography gives the 2d images of the body organs and bones. It helps in detecting the possible causes such as stenosis of spine, tumor and any cyst in the brain and encephalitis.
MRI detects any compression of nerve causing nerve damage, any atrophy in the muscle and any other growths or information that can cause the symptoms and helps in the accurate treatment to remove that cause.
ELECTROMYOGRAPHY AND NERVE BIOPSY
In electromyography, needles inserted in muscles help in determining the electrical signals reaching muscles through peripheral nerves when at rest and contracting. A nerve conduction test is also done with electromyography by placing small electrodes on the skin to measure electrical activity speed in peripheral nerves and helps in differentiating between diseases of the muscles and nerves. Nerve biopsy is another test carried out to know the underlying cause. It is done with great care to avoid associated side effects.
Upon diagnosis, the neuropathy treatment is adopted to remove the cause and provide relief in pain. Various pain relievers and neuropathy cream containing capsaicin are given for effective treatment.