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Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic

New Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

A new treatment option for diabetic neuropathy is now available in the San Antonio area:

 

What is neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a disease that most commonly affects the nerves of the foot and can cause numbness, pain, burning, loss of balance, and toe deformities. One might think that numbness and burning are caused by a lack of circulation. In the vast majority of cases, however, circulation is not the problem. Until recently it was thought that little could be done for this frustrating and sometimes painful condition.

The problem with numb feet:

People who have normal feeling in their feet have nearly no risk of getting a foot sore, also called an ulcer. If they step on something sharp or have shoes that are too tight, they will feel pain. This tells them that they need to look at their feet and take action to fight against injury or infection. This is not so for people with numbness. People with numb feet have a greatly increased risk of getting a foot ulcer.

New hope for those with neuropathy:

In 2005, Dr. Darren Silvester, a local podiatrist, was trained at the Institute for Peripheral Nerve Surgery in an innovative treatment for this potentially devastating disease.In a properly selected patient, feeling can be restored and the pain and burning resolved in approximately 85% of cases. Studies have shown that patients who have had this procedure have a significant reduction in pain, numbness, and incidence of ulcerations and amputations.

How the procedure works:

The nerves to the feet in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy are up to twice as large as people without neuropathy. In certain spots along the nerves there are tight tunnels that can compress the enlarged nerves causing numbness, burning and pain. By surgically releasing these tunnels the nerve function can be restored in many patients. This procedure is called peripheral neurolysis.

Who can benefit from the procedure?

Anyone who has numbness, pain or burning in their feet, whether it be from diabetes or another cause, is a potential candidate for peripheral neurolysis. Dr. Silvester has had patients who have been numb for several years respond favorably to the procedure. One patient wrote, “During the first [post operative] examination he touched the bottom of my foot and it tickled! I haven’t had that much feeling in a very long time”. A medical exam with a series of painless tests can help determine who can benefit from the procedure.

Dr. Silvester has been practicing podiatry for 24 years. He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and the Academy of Extremity Nerve Surgeons and Diplomate of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. For more information please call our Pleasanton office at 866-569-6006.