Neuropathy is one of the most common chronic medical conditions in society. This is a serious medical condition that impacts countless people across the country, making it hard for them to go about their daily routines.
If you suffer from neuropathy, one of your most common questions is probably is whether or not walking can help you. The good news is that walking can be an effective part of your comprehensive neuropathy treatment program.
In this article, we’ll talk about the health effects of neuropathy on your walking and how to exercise without pain or discomfort.
Let’s get to it…
What You'll Learn
Is Walking Good for Neuropathy?
Yes! Walking is definitely good for the treatment of neuropathy. If you have neuropathy, you should make sure they work with a medical team to address all aspects of your specific form of neuropathy; however, there is a good chance that walking will be recommended to you.
All that said, when it comes to walking with neuropathy, there are a few additional points you should keep in mind.
If you suffer from neuropathy, there is a problem with the nerves in the body. Specifically, peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common forms. There are nerves that innervate your arms, legs, fingers, and toes. These nerves carry motor signals from your brain to your limbs. Then, different nerves carry information regarding temperature, pain, and pressure back to your brain for interpretation.
If there is a problem with your nerves, you could feel numbness, tingling, or even pain in certain parts of your body. Exercise, such as walking, can help you manage neuropathy.
First, regular physical activity, such as walking, can help you improve the circulation of blood throughout your body. This will strengthen your tissues, including those at the site of your neuropathy. When your ligaments, tendons, and nerves have access to more oxygen and nutrients, this can improve their function. As a result, exercise can improve the function of your nerves, helping you control many of the symptoms of neuropathy.
In addition, walking is effective for neuropathy because it can prevent the development of further complications. One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes. Elevated levels of blood glucose can damage the nerves throughout your body, making peripheral neuropathy worse. In order to prevent this, you need to take steps to control your blood glucose. Exercise, such as walking, will help you do exactly that. When you take steps to keep your blood glucose levels under control, you can prevent the development of many of the complications of neuropathy.
If you have neuropathy, you are probably used to feeling some form of discomfort, particularly in your legs. Exercise might be the furthest thing from your mind. This is understandable and that is okay; however, you also need to take steps to overcome this hurdle. Walking regularly is a great first step. It is important for you to know how to walk safely if you summer from neuropathy.
How to Walk Safely with Neuropathy
Walking is a great way to control the symptoms of neuropathy while also preventing some serious complications. If you are trying to come up with a walking routine for neuropathy, there are a few important steps you need to follow.
1. Talk with Your Doctor First
If you have neuropathy, you probably go to the doctor on a regular basis. During your next visit, you need to speak with your doctor about an exercise routine. People with most forms of neuropathy will be able to walk effectively; however, every form of neuropathy is different.
For example, if you suffer from numbness in your ankle, you might not realize that you have sprained your ankle while walking. You need to speak with your doctor to figure out if you need to make any adjustments in how you walk to exercise safely with neuropathy.
2. Invest in the Right Equipment
If you have neuropathy, you need to invest in the right shoes to help you walk safely. You might have numbness or tingling in certain parts of your body, so you need to ensure that your shoes will protect you against injuring these specific locations.
For example, Orthofeet’s Stretchable for women provide anatomic orthotic insoles along with ergonomic soles that provide added protection for your feet, guarding against sprains, strains, and pressure injuries.
Another option is Orthofeet’s Sprint Tie-Less shoes for men provide similar orthotic insoles that will prevent you from overpronating your feet and ankles, easing the pressure on your joints.
Of course, this shoe also makes it easier to lace them up without having to actually tie the laces. It is critical to find shoes that are both wide enough and large enough to prevent applying too much pressure to the feet, as this could make the symptoms of neuropathy worse.
3. Start Slowly
It is important for everyone with neuropathy to start the exercise routine slowly. Being by walking at a slow tempo. Make sure that you preserve your sensation throughout all parts of your foot.
If you feel like you cannot feet certain parts of your foot (more than usual), then check to see if your shoes have been tied too tightly. This could be cutting off circulation to certain parts of your foot. In this case, loosen them and continue walking. Be sure to monitor your feet for the development of blisters as well. If you suffer from numbness or tingling, this might go unnoticed.
4. Increase Your Walking Gradually
Of course, you want to get to the point where your walking routine qualifies as exercise. In order for this to happen, you need to reach the point of cardio walking. In cardio walking, your heart rate must be sustained at between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
You can calculate your maximum heart rate by taking 220 and subtracting your age in years. If you are 60 years old, your maximum heart rate is 220 – 60 which is 160. Then, 50 to 70 percent of this number is 80 to 112. If you are 60 years old, keeping your heart rate between these two numbers will provide you with the cardiovascular benefits of walking that you need.
Finally, there are a few other strategies that you can follow to remain comfortable while walking with neuropathy. First, always stretch before you start walking. This will get your blood flowing, making it less likely that you might experience numbness or tingling while exercising.
Next, try to walk on flat ground as much as possible. This will prevent your calf muscles from getting tight, which might constrict the blood flow to your ankles and feet. Finally, remember to use ice and heat after walking to help your body recover appropriately. The goal is to come up with a regular walking routine. Therefore, the recovery process is important for those who suffer from neuropathy.
Final Thoughts on Walking with Neuropathy
These are a few of the most important points that you need to keep in mind if you would like to come up with a walking routine for neuropathy. Walking is a great way to not only treat neuropathy but also prevent other complications from developing down the road. Therefore, follow the steps above to come up with your own walking routine for neuropathy. This can drastically improve your quality of life, helping you preserve the function of the nerves throughout your body.