If you’ve noticed a loss of sensation in your feet, or you’re experiencing numbness, tingling or burning pain, you may need peripheral neuropathy testing. But what is this condition? And, if diagnosed, what are your treatment options? Here’s everything you need to know. 

What is Peripheral Neuropathy? 

This condition impacts the nerves that aren’t part of the network in your brain and spinal cord.  When these peripheral nerves sustain damage, you start to experience disruptive symptoms that can impact your daily life, and also increase your risk for serious complications such as limb loss. 


Several different health conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy. These include autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Viral and bacterial infections, including shingles, hepatitis B and C, HIV and Lyme disease can also damage your peripheral nerves. 

For some patients, neuropathy is the result of an inherited disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Other patients may develop this form of nerve damage as a result of a benign or cancerous tumor; certain conditions affecting your bone marrow, as well as kidney, liver or thyroid disease may also contribute to neuropathy. 

Lifestyle factors can also result in peripheral neuropathy.  As such, alcohol use disorder is a risk factor for neuropathy. Vitamin deficiencies, especially low levels of vitamins, B-1, B-6 and B-12, can contribute to the problem. Low levels of copper and vitamin E may also result in neuropathy. 
Additionally, lead and mercury exposure can increase your risk for this form of nerve damage. Treatment with certain medications, especially chemotherapy drugs, may result in neuropathy. Plus, if you sustain an injury that damages the peripheral nerves—especially common after a car accident—or if the nerves are subject to extended periods of pressure, neuropathy may result. 

Frustratingly, there are times when you develop nerve damage and we don’t know why. (In this case, you’d be diagnosed with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.) Most commonly, however, peripheral neuropathy is associated with diabetes. In fact, almost half of people who live with diabetes go on to develop nerve damage. And, for that reason, we offer peripheral neuropathy testing to all of the diabetic patients in our Massapequa podiatry practice.

Neuropathy Symptoms Hands rubbing foot to relieve numbness of peripheral neuropathy

This condition affects different patients differently. However, the majority of people experience pain that stabs, burns or tingles. Some people feel like their feet are covered in thick wax. And others lose the ability to sense everything from changes in temperature to a cut or wound.  

Basically, the symptoms you experience will directly relate to the nerves that sustained damage within your body, whether they were responsible for sensory, motor or autonomic functions. As such, there are many possible peripheral neuropathy symptoms, including: 

•    Gradually progressing numbness, accompanied by tingling or prickling pain. Initially, these sensations may be localized to the feet or hands. But, over time, they may spread to your arms and legs. 

•    In addition to loss of sensation, some people experience throbbing, stabbing or burning pain. 

•    Ironically, while losing some sensation, people with neuropathy may also develop a sensitivity to touch. Plus, something as simple as bearing weight on your feet can become painful. 

•    If your motor nerves are impacted, you may lose your coordination and balance, resulting in more frequent falls. Muscle weakness can become a concern and, in severe cases, you may lose the ability to move entirely. 

Of course, that last symptom is a worst-case scenario. Fortunately, with intervention we can help you prevent this degree of symptom progression. However, for best results, we prefer to provide early intervention. And, for that reason, peripheral neuropathy testing is one of our best weapons against loss of sensation and mobility in your feet. 

Peripheral Neuropathy Testing: What’s Involved? 

Nassau County podiatrists Dr. Mark Gasparini and Dr. Novneet Chhabra offer the Epidermal Nerve Fiber Density (ENFD) test in their Massapequa office. This test offers an objective way to detect damage to your small fiber peripheral nerves. It does so by quantifying how many nerve branches you have in your skin, with an accuracy rate of 97%. 

Basically, if you have fewer small nerve fibers, that indicates you’re already developed peripheral neuropathy. And, the lower your number, the worse your disease—and your symptoms—is likely to be. However, ENFD testing is not only effective for patients who have already sustained nerve damage. Instead, we can also use this test to predict your neuropathy risk, or to determine if treatments are helping improve your condition. 
For these reasons, we typically recommend ENFD peripheral neuropathy testing to any patient experience symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, or coldness in their feet and/or ankles. Then, once we have an accurate picture of your peripheral nerve health, we can recommend an appropriate course of treatment. 

Treating Peripheral Neuropathy in Massapequa, NY 

In our practice, we offer two different approaches to relieving neuropathy pain: supplements and medications. Let’s explore each one. 

Supplements for Neuropathy Pain

Some patients find relief with NeuRx, a supplement formulated to reduce shooting pain and numbness in your extremities. How does it work? First, it’s formulated with two Amino Acids (Alpha Lipoic and Benfotiamine); both are clinically effective at reducing neuropathy symptoms. At the same time, NeuRX contains Vitamins B6 and B12, both of which can ease the discomfort of this condition.  However, if this supplement does not provide you with sufficient relief, we can also prescribe medications to relieve neuropathy. 

Prescription Medicine

We typically prescribe Gabapentin for patients with diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy who have not experienced relief from other treatment options. Studies show that patients can expect a 50% improvement in neuropathy symptoms when taking this medication, and may also experience improved mood and sleep. While this medication takes about four weeks to achieve full effects, you should start to experience some symptom relief within a week of taking your prescription. 

Tired of living with pain, tingling and numbness in your feet? Ready to get to the root cause of your symptoms so you can start feeling better! We’re here to help. Call us at  516-804-9038 or click here to request peripheral neuropathy testing with one of our Massapequa podiatrists! 

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