Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that can affect the feet with a sensation of burning, tingling or numbness that may be periodic or constant. It is a frequent symptom of nerve trauma or pressure, vitamin B deficiency, alcoholism, diabetes, autoimmune diseases (such as HIV, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis) and diseases of the liver, kidneys and thyroid. Because peripheral neuropathy is involved in so many conditions, treatments vary widely.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Most drugs prescribed specifically for peripheral neuropathy will block or decrease the nerve sensations. They may include codeine, lidocaine, anti-seizure medications and antidepressants. Because some of these can cause dependency over long periods of time, other solutions may be tried first. Rubbing cremes on the feet or immersing them in warm water periodically may be an alternative.
The best treatment for peripheral neuropathy in the feet is to eliminate the cause. If the cause is clear -- abstain from alcohol, supplement vitamin B, brace joints to relieve pressure and so on -- those treatments should relieve the neuropathy. Many causes, however, are chronic and are not easily eliminated.
For those with chronic conditions causing their neuropathy, seeking treatment with a hypnotist trained in medical hypnosis may lead to more complete and convenient pain control than with oral pain relievers. Regular acupuncture treatments, perhaps with moxibustion, may also lead to a decreased pain sensation. In addition, t'ai chi ch'uan (taijiquan) may increase sensory perception for those with numbness in the feet.