Can I Exercise with Peripheral Neuropathy?

If you have diabetes and have pain or loss of feeling in your feet, you likely have peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damageWalking is a great exercise if you have neuropathy commonly experienced by diabetics. As you may know, this condition can increase the likelihood of foot ulcers and even amputations, so you want to take extra care of your extremities if you have neuropathy.

You may not know this, but light to moderate exercise can prevent neuropathy or delay its progression. Because peripheral neuropathy leads to decreased sensation, however, you have to be very careful when exercising since you may not detect a foot injury like a bruise or blister. Leaving even these small injuries untreated could be devastating for a diabetic. So, how can you exercise while maintaining your diabetic foot health?

Foot Care is an Every Day Necessity

When you are exercising regularly, make sure you inspect your feet daily and take extra precautions to ensure an excellent fit with your athletic shoes.  You should also choose special athletic socks that reduce rubbing and keep your feet dry.

Exercise Caution before Lifting Weights

If you have any type of ulcer or foot injury, you shouldn’t lift weights. If you have severe neuropathy, you should probably avoid weight bearing activities at any time; stick to walking even if you don’t have any open sores or ulcers. Before you embark on any exercise plan that involves weight bearing, thoroughly discuss it with your Houston podiatrist.

Be Aware of Balance Issues

Peripheral neuropathy can compromise your balance when you lose sensation, and can increase your risk of falling during exercise.  Make sure that you feel safe, sturdy and comfortable before trying any type of exercise.

Exercising is important for everyone, and especially for diabetics with neuropathy. If you have diabetes and want to take proactive steps to maintain your foot health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider today to create an individual health plan that will fit your needs.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.