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ssheid (@ssheid)

Why is my neuropathy worse while driving?

Neuropathy | Last Active: Mar 18 5:57pm | Replies (43)

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Hello everyone. I am new here. I will try to make this brief. I have neuropathy in both feet from a congenitally narrow spine made worse by the aging process, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis (with fusion). I have been working from home for 23 years and due to situations of the economy we are now in, I have to go out to work 3 times a week in order to get health insurance and support my family. I have been a happy user of public transportation for many many years and have never needed a car. I need one now and got an old used car. The numbness in my right foot makes me nervous to drive. Needing to drive now is a nonnegotiable, I have to do it. I looked into hand controls and went out on a test drive but the cost of having that installed and needing driving lessons to use them is impossible for me. Has anyone used any medication to help the numbness (I have just lived with it, uncomfortably, but fully functional and never took medication)? Any alternative treatments? Special shoes? Braces? Other therapies? I need to drive 30 minutes each way, 3 times a week. Any suggestions? Thank you.

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Replies to "Hello everyone. I am new here. I will try to make this brief. I have neuropathy..."

Oh boy, you just described my new life style. I can only drive about 40mins max before my leg is in so much pain. I don't have any answers for you but my doctor just gave me some new cream for the nerve pain that runs down my butt into my leg and wraps around my knee
Hope someone out there can give you some good advice

@nycgirl, I also have numbness in my feet but I still have some feeling and can drive OK. I've been taking supplements which I believe has slowed or possibly stopped the progression of my neuropathy. There already is another discussion Driving with neuropathy but it doesn't have many posts. Our Connect Director @colleenyoung may want to combine these 2 discussions.

Driving with neuropathy: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/driving-with-neuropathy/

The main concern I would have is if the numbness reduces your ability to safely drive I don't think I would want to cause an accident that would injury or take the life of someone else. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy has a good article that you may want to read – Staying safe and independent and continuing to drive with peripheral neuropathy: https://www.foundationforpn.org/2017/03/06/driving-peripheral-neuropathy/

A few years ago I saw a demo of a device called Walkasins that attach to your legs that might be a good answer for you — "Walkasins is a rechargeable wearable external lower leg neuroprosthesis for daily use, designed for those with sensory peripheral neuropathy to replace lost foot pressure sensation via gentle sensory signals delivered to the skin above the ankle." — https://rxfunction.com/

I also have numbness only in my feet with my small fiber peripheral neuropathy. There are no cremes or topicals that will help with the numbness. @steeldove has experience with using hand controls for driving and may be able to offer some suggestions. Here is a post discussing the hand controls he uses — https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anyone-here-dealing-with-peripheral-neuropathy/?pg=87#comment-283906

@nycgirl, so I see you again and you are posting quite well. I just want to throw out a suggestion that has worked for me. I have numbness and pain in my feet from small fiber neuropathy. As the deadline for my driver's test in a new state was suddenly fast approaching, I was worried that I might be asked to do the actual driver's test. Besides that, I didn't want to have or cause an accident because of my neuropathy.

So…off I went to my Myofascial Release (MFR) therapist to see what could be done. I sure didn't want to have an accident because of a numb foot or two. It took some time and I was rewarded with a leathery sole with little pain and not too much numbness. Got my driver's license and am committed to making sure that I am a safe driver. There are devices you can purchase that will help. I will see if I can find a quick pix.

And here are some pretty effective exercises you can try. Just walking across the carpet helps me.
On Amazon, there are several pages of foot massagers….some mechanical and some electric. I don't use them so you may have to experiment. The secret is to set up a schedule and stick to it.

Let us know what you choose and how it is going. We'll be thinking of you.

May you be safe and protected.