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Neurological issues effect on the foot

The state of your nerves plays an important role in the health of your feet. In fact, there are about 8,000 nerves in your feet so when there’s a problem it can be difficult to treat.

Foot neurology is all about examining the foot and ankle joint for nerve damage, nerve compression or other nerve disorders that might result in pain or restricted movement.

The nerves in your feet (the peripheral nervous system) are linked to the central nervous system and so neurological disorders in one part of the body can affect other parts of the body. This can make diagnosis of neurological disorders challenging.

Common Foot Disorders

Some common neurological foot disorders include:

  • Neuromas (Morton’s neuroma)

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Sciatica or pinched nerves

Peripheral neuropathy and other nerve problems can not only cause significant pain and movement restriction but they can also affect your balance and lead to falls and accidents.


Uncovering the trigger for peripheral neuropathy can be complex but some of the more common triggers for peripheral neuropathies include:   

  • Diabetes and Fibromyalgia

  • Trauma and poorly fitting footwear

  • Genetic diseases (multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis)

  • Neurological disorders including Strokes

  • Medications

  • Vitamin B complex deficiencies

A nerve injury such as pinched nerves, nerve compression or inflammation of the nerve are typical triggers for many nerve disorders. For example, Tarsal Tunnel is the result of the compression of the posterior tibial nerve and this could be cause by a foot injury, bone growth or poorly fitting footwear.

Patients with diabetes commonly exhibit peripheral neuropathy, which, combined with poor vascular health, can have extremely serious impacts for ongoing foot health.

Other foot nerve problems are relatively straightforward. Morton’s neuroma is a common condition usually caused by wearing too tight shoes or high heels. Finding relief for diseases such as Charcot Marie tooth disease or multiple sclerosis will require a combined approach from a number of specialists.

Nerve damage, if left untreated, can develop into more serious and chronic conditions. Therefore, it’s important to seek a clear diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.


Symptoms of peripheral neuropathies typically start with tingling, pins and needles, nerve pain, and numbness. Often you will notice associated muscle weakness and contraction.

Pain may occur only during activity or sometimes when sleeping or resting. Pain may be localised, a dull ache or sharp shooting pain and nerve pain can spread making it very difficult to locate the source. In some cases the pain is severe while others might complain of only very mild discomfort.

Correct diagnosis by a qualified podiatrist is critical to developing an effective treatment plan.

Video: Peripheral Neuropathy

Video: Peripheral Neuropathy

Video: Peripheral Neuropathy

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