What Causes Neuropathy in Legs and Feet?

causes neuropathy

Whether you‘ve already been diagnosed with peripheral Neuropathy or you think you may be suffering from it, we would always advise you to get the professional advice of a medical professional. However, if you’re simply looking for some guided information about Neuropathy—specifically in the legs and in the feet—we’ve written this article in hopes to help you with self-reflection and getting in tune with your own possible, potential causes before you are attended to medically.

What is Neuropathy?

Before you go reading WebMD and diagnosing yourself simply based on your symptoms, you should inform yourself a bit more about what Neuropathy is and what can possibly cause it to begin with.

After reading this article, we would also suggest for you to check in with a medical professional to get a proper diagnosis and help set you in the right direction with proper treatment to help alleviate your symptoms and get you in healthy working order again. Neuropathy is a condition that can affect any type of normal activity—specifically related to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. 

This system includes not only your spinal cord but also the network of nerves that contains your brain. There are three different types of nerves that play major roles in Neuropathy, which are:

  • Sensory nerves: These nerves relay messages from your senses, through your spinal cord network to your brain. This type can help keep you from endangering or harming yourself since you feel pain and temperature.
  • Motor nerves:These nerves go from the brain to your muscles. This type is responsible for making your body move the way you want it to.
  • Autonomic nerves: You probably know that our body also has movements that we’re not aware of or in purposeful control of, like breathing, your heartbeat, and even digestion.

When any of these types of nerves are damaged or even destroyed, this can affect the entire way your body communicates—called Neuropathy. Although it can affect people of various ages, race, and gender, those who are older in age and may have diabetes may incur the causes for Neuropathy.

Let’s get into the four different types of Neuropathy:

  1. Peripheral Neuropathy: This is when the affected area is located outside of the brain and spinal cord—and directed more toward the extremities like the feet, legs, toes, fingers, arms, and hands—which is what we’re going to be focusing on today.
  1. Cranial Neuropathy: You have twelve cranial nerves that come directly from your brain. The ones that are the most common are Optic Neuropathy, which deals with visual information, and Auditory Neuropathy, which encompasses hearing.
  1. Autonomic NeuropathyThis type of Neuropathy deals with your involuntary nervous system, which we mentioned earlier—nerves we have no purposeful control of, like digestion, heart rate, and sexual response.
  1. Focal NeuropathyThis type is focused on just one area, one group or just one nerve. 

Now that we‘ve talked about what Neuropathy is, we’re going to get into the possible causes of Neuropathy, which can be either acquired later on in life or hereditary.

Possible Causes of Neuropathy

Although it might be difficult for you to pin down only one cause of your Neuropathy, a medical professional can generally figure out what is causing your nerve damage or discomfort. The cause behind the symptoms and the bigger issue can be either hereditary or acquired.

When you narrow the Neuropathy to your legs, however, diabetes and alcohol are typically the most common causes of these symptoms Neuropathy, in both cases—hereditary or acquired—can also be caused by:

Trauma: An acute injury from an accident or a fall can damage or narrow the nerve space, which can cause complications in your nervous system.

Diabetes and other Systematic Diseases: As we already mentioned, this is one of the most common causes, since diabetes also raises the risk of obesity, elevated blood lipids, and blood pressure. Other types of sickness that can lead to affecting the entire body can also be detrimental to the nervous system—like kidney disorders, hormonal imbalances, and cancer.

Alcoholism: Alcohol can damage the nerves. If abused, a patient generally also practices poor nutrition and often has vitamin deficiencies—specifically in B12 and in folate.

Vitamin Imbalances: In general, having too low levels in vitamins E, B1, B6, B9, B12, and niacin can be detrimental to your nerve function and nervous systems.

Autoimmune Disorders: Being diagnosed with HIV or herpes or having an infection o f bacteria that causes syphilis can also lead to the spread of damage to various nerve fibers. These disorders can also target your body’s nerve tissue, which is damaging to your system.

Taking Medication: Like strong ones often associated with chemotherapy can also have an effect on your peripheral nerves. This is also under the cateory of being exposed to other toxic substances like chemicals and heavy metals that have a direct effect on your nervous system.

Certain Vascular Disorders: Neuropathy, since it can affect the blood flow of the arms and legs—it has a direct correlation with disorders of the blood vessels. If a patient is suffering from this disorder, they already have a deprivation of oxygen cells in their body and nerves.

Although these are not all the various causes of Neuropathy, these are some of the most common or main causes of the damage to the nerves—especially in the legs and in the feet.

If you have suffered through any of these things or are experiencing symptoms of Neuropathy but are not exactly sure if you have it, we would definitely recommend a visit to a medical professional or your local doctor to help get properly diagnosed.

The earlier a medical professional can detect Neuropathy, the better. This means that early detection can lead to early forms of treatment which can be deemed extremely effective if caught in a lesser state.

We hope this article has helped inform you with a bit of information about Neuropathy and its causes.