36 million people suffer from falls each year, resulting in about 32,000 deaths. In the US, 3 million senior adults are treated for injuries caused by falls due to avoidable accidents. People struggling with peripheral neuropathy often suffer pain and numbness in their feet that can lead to such falls. June is National Safety Month. Here are ways patients can live safely and independently with peripheral neuropathy.
How does peripheral neuropathy affect daily life?
There are over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms vary from patient to patient and include pain, numbness, muscle weakness, twitching, loss of sensation and loss of balance. Peripheral neuropathy involves nerve damage that can exaggerate the sense of temperature pain. Some patients have described the sensation of peripheral neuropathy as that of wearing a sock—a feeling which affects their balance. Lack of sensation in the feet and wobbly motion can increase the chances of falls.
Moreover, according to a report by the American Geriatrics Association, about 50% of seniors living at home suffer from chronic pain. Besides peripheral neuropathy, other conditions—such as arthritis, muscular and circulatory conditions—are common causes of such persistent pain. Such factors hinder neuropathy patients and older adults from living independently and safely at home.
Assistive devices to prevent falls
Assistive devices around your living spaces can help prevent falls and avoidable accidents. Products such as foot braces, orthopedic shoes and compression socks can help prevent falls by decreasing discomfort and providing relief from neuropathic pain.
- Cane or walker: It can be difficult to get from place to place with constant pain and numbness in your feet. Ambulatory aids such as canes and walkers can give you additional support and help you maintain your balance. Walkers can also be adjusted and suited for your height, making them more comfortable and inclusive to use.
- Wheelchair: Wheelchairs provide people the opportunity to move around and socially interact with others. About 65 million people worldwide use a wheelchair for their temporary or permanent disabilities. A wheelchair crafted for a person on the basis of their measurements has proven to not only improve physical health but overall quality of life as well.
- Hand and foot brace: Hand and foot braces help alleviate pain caused by nerve compression. They also help against foot drop and balance issues, a common peripheral neuropathy symptom.
- Handrail and bath mat: Nerve damage causes muscle weakness and wobbly motion. Handrails around the house and staircases can provide valuable grip and prevent falls. High humidity, moisture and soap make baths and showers a fall risk. Bath mats and grab bars around the bathtub or the shower can provide extra grip in the bathroom.
- Orthopedic shoes and socks: Orthopedic shoes increase mobility, reduce pain and offer better balance and support. Padded socks can bring relief to peripheral neuropathy patients suffering from pins and needles sensations in their feet. Orthopedic socks come with coolant gels that provide hours of comfort to those who have difficulty walking due to neuropathic pain.
- Compression stockings: Compression stockings provide equal pressure to support your feet and soothe damaged nerves. The fit is snug and is designed to aid blood circulation around the feet, providing relief from the pain and discomfort of peripheral neuropathy.
- Thermometer: Peripheral neuropathy patients often have an exaggerated sensitivity for pain and temperature. At times, they can feel increased pain and other times, none at all—even after injury. A thermometer can help record the temperature of your bath to ensure safety and comfort.
Although there is currently no FDA-approved cure for peripheral neuropathy, lifestyle changes and assistive devices can help you manage your condition. Living with neuropathic pain can be frustrating and painful. Consult your physician to help you better manage your neuropathy.
WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.
- “Keep on Your Feet—Preventing Older Adult Falls”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- “Peripheral Neuropathy”. Johns Hopkins Medicine
- “Assistive Devices”. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
- “Role of the Wheelchair”. Physiopedia
- “Bracing and CMT”. Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation
- “Benefits of Adding a House Handrail”. APA Medical Equipment
- “Foot Care”. Diabetes Canada
- “Diabetic & Neuropathy Socks”. Marchese Medical Supplies
- “5 Biggest Benefits of Orthopedic Shoes”. Oasis
- “Do Compression Socks & Stockings Help With Neuropathy?”. Diabetic Sock Club