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Why do my legs become numb while walking?

Friday, 06 February 2009
Answered by: Dr Terrence Jose
Consultant, Dept. of Plastic, Hand Microsurgery, and Reconstructive Unit
Ganga Medical Centre & Hospital,
Coimbatore
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Q. I am a 56 years old diabetic woman who takes insulin pump 2.5 units per hour. I have arthritis too. My legs become numb while walking; I take 400 mgs of Nuerotin everyday. The doctor said there is nothing they can do for it. Please help.

A.  Diabetic neuropathy occurs in approximately 50% of the individuals with long standing type 1 and type 2 Diabetes patients. The most common form of presentation is both lower limb neuropathy (sensory loss, tingling sensation, burning sensation, and pain). Any combination of these symptoms may develop as neuropathy progress. It is further perceived as a sensation of numbness, tingling, sharpness that begins in the feet and spreads up. Pain develops in some of these individuals, occasionally preceded by improvement in their blood sugar control. Pain (probably what you refer as arthritis pain in knee) is usually present at rest and worsens at night. As diabetic neuropathy progress, the pain subsides and eventually disappears and a sensory deficit (numbness) in the lower limb persists. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy is less than satisfactory. Improved Blood sugar control should be pursued and will improve nerve functions, but the symptoms may not necessarily improve. The main stay of treatment is supplements with vitamins B12, B6, Folate (neurotin in your case). Since pain may resolve over time, analgesics may be discontinued. Pain not responding to this management can be treated with Cap. Gabapentin 300 mg twice daily for a period of 2 weeks and or they may get referred to the pain clinic.

A.  Diabetic neuropathy occurs in approximately 50% of the individuals with long standing type 1 and type 2 Diabetes patients. The most common form of presentation is both lower limb neuropathy (sensory loss, tingling sensation, burning sensation, and pain). Any combination of these symptoms may develop as neuropathy progress. It is further perceived as a sensation of numbness, tingling, sharpness that begins in the feet and spreads up. Pain develops in some of these individuals, occasionally preceded by improvement in their blood sugar control. Pain (probably what you refer as arthritis pain in knee) is usually present at rest and worsens at night. As diabetic neuropathy progress, the pain subsides and eventually disappears and a sensory deficit (numbness) in the lower limb persists. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy is less than satisfactory. Improved Blood sugar control should be pursued and will improve nerve functions, but the symptoms may not necessarily improve. The main stay of treatment is supplements with vitamins B12, B6, Folate (neurotin in your case). Since pain may resolve over time, analgesics may be discontinued. Pain not responding to this management can be treated with Cap. Gabapentin 300 mg twice daily for a period of 2 weeks and or they may get referred to the pain clinic.

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