April is Alcohol Awareness Month and at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we want to share with patients some important information about this disease and how it affects your feet. Of all the addictive substances available in the United States, alcohol is the most commonly used. It’s estimated that 17.6 million people (that’s one in every 12 adults) is dependent on alcohol or suffers from alcohol abuse. Over half of all adults have a family history of problem drinking or alcoholism.
If you or a family member are struggling with alcohol we urge you to talk to one of our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas. There are many resources available to help patients get the support and services they need to end an addiction. You can also visit the website of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (https://www.ncadd.org) for a wealth of information.
Protecting Lower Extremities
One of the many detrimental effects to your health caused by chronic alcohol abuse is neuropathy or nerve damage in your feet (and other parts of your body). This condition results in loss of sensation, numbness, tingling and weakness in your feet that worsens as time goes on. It can also cause pain. Ethanol, which is found in alcoholic beverages, damages nerve tissue and this damage can be permanent if not treated.
There are several approaches to treating alcoholic neuropathy once the consumption of alcohol has ceased:
- Vitamin supplements—particularly B vitamins—may be recommended and a healthy eating plan established. Oftentimes a person with alcoholism will not have been eating properly and the body is suffering from being deprived of essential nutrients for optimal functioning.
- Medications may be prescribed for pain relief.
- Galvanic stimulation to improve nerve function.
- Magnetic therapy.
In addition, it’s important to keep your feet safe from injury and infection if you have symptoms of neuropathy. Being unable to fully perceive sensation in your feet means you may not realize that you’ve sustained an injury or that a condition is developing. Keep your feet covered at all times and get in the habit of examining your feet daily to check for rashes, cuts, bumps, bruises or changes in skin color or toenail appearance which may signal a problem. If you find anything abnormal, contact our Long Beach office for an appointment by calling: (562) 420-9800.