Mayo Clinic Connect
Why does driving make neuropathy of feet worse? Have spinal stenosis!
driving has no effect on neuropathy — something else is creating the problem if you feet are worse when driving, but not neuropathy
Hi @wilcy, Welcome to Connect. I've had small fiber peripheral neuropathy for the past 20 years or so and have noticed that the past few years I don't enjoy driving as much as I used to enjoy it. Short distances are not a problem yet but anything over an hour for me is a little uncomfortable. I also have lower back problems with degenerative disc disease so I'm sure that doesn't help me. I normally try to take a stretch break every hour or so when I'm driving more than 100 miles.
How does your neuropathy affect your driving? Are you able to share a little more about your diagnosis and symptoms?
You may also be interested in joining the following discussion where you can meet many members sharing your symptoms.
> Groups > Neuropathy > Living with Neuropathy – Welcome to the group
Liked by Jim, Alumni Mentor, johnhans, walkingonpinsandneedles
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Have spinal stenosis in lower back! Surgery last October for this which was causing neuropathy in both feet! Didn’t help! Driving makes it lot worse! Tried Gabapentin, shots etc! Just curious why driving makes it worse and is there a fix?
Liked by Jim, Alumni Mentor
@wilcy, Just curious if you have discussed the driving making the neuropathy worse with your doctor or neurologist? I have no medical training or background but don't really think driving is a cause of making neuropathy worse. Driving can be a problem due to having to sit in a fixed position for awhile, back, leg, foot strain, etc. — all can add up to make anything worse (just my thoughts).
So, driving causes your feet to hurt (pain) more?
Liked by Jim, Alumni Mentor, johnhans
I would assume that you have pain in the balls of your feet, and therefore, when you use the gas pedal for driving, you are adding pressure to the ball of your foot. I know I have this as well. Also, my foot neuropathy can be positional. Sitting, with my feet down on the ground, is hard for me. Raising my feet helps a lot. I have also had Calmare/Scrambler therapy, which has helped quite a bit, but is not perfect by any means. Lori Renee
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor, Jim, Alumni Mentor
I have neuropathy of unknown cause. I have noticed that wearing shoes and walking make my pain worse. Maybe just using your feet causes the increase in symptoms. Again we here are not medical; we are people who have the condition. So for a final diagnosis of your specific condition you would need to consult a doctor. We are here so feel free to talk with us again. It can be difficult going through neuropathy so we do understand what you are going through.
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor, Jim, Alumni Mentor, Lisa Lucier, Connect Moderator
@artscaping may also have some comments on your question about why driving may cause neuropathy to hurt worse.
@wilcy – will you share more about what you have experienced with driving? Do you feel as though the pressure, angle or motion of your foot with driving is causing symptoms?
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor
I have idiopathic small fiber peripheral neuropathy. Driving certainly does make my symptoms worse.
Lois6524, did you mean that driving does not cause peripheral neuropathy? If so, I agree completely. However, driving is among the many things that make the symptoms worse. Cold weather, pressure from simply wearing shoes and socks. my mood, and many other things can make me feel worse.
Driving became so difficult that we recently sold our RV. My wife doesn't particular like driving it, and I found that at times I was driving barefoot.
My feet are always numb! While driving they Wii cramp! Very painful! Only way I can travel is to use cruise control and put feet flat down next to seat! Has to be my back somehow causing this however surgeon says no! Have had the shots etc! Nothing works!
Liked by Jim, Alumni Mentor, Lisa Lucier, Connect Moderator
@wilcy My thoughts are the physical position while driving and lack of opportunity to change position might be causing the cramping. There can be other issues too like dehydration, etc. I know from personal experience that my pelvis can go out of alignment and when I have overly tight muscles in front of my hips, it causes problems, and nerve entrapment can happen around the pelvis with muscle that is too tight. Myofascial release and physical therapy can help if it is a physical issue. Here are some links and our discussion on Myofascial Release. I do MFR and it helps me a lot.
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor, Lisa Lucier, Connect Moderator
Both feet burn, go numb and toes cramp! Better if put car on cruise and put feet flat on floorboard! Anyone else experience this?
Liked by walkingonpinsandneedles
I concur! Sorry to resurrect an old convo but this is what happens when I'm up at 1 in the morning because of pain.
Driving has been challenging me for months….going going, gone.
Neuropathy has given me such pain and discomfort in my right toe and foot and both legs that I am no longer able to drive comfortably or safely. It exacerbates the pain. Walking, sitting, you name it, is difficult just the same. I have driven with my left foot in order to get home and realized that this just isn't working anymore.
Can I tell you how frustrated I am to lose my independence. My Mother, Father, Aunt and Uncle all in their 70's cart my 49 year old butt around for appointments, infusions, groceries, etc… I should be doing this for them!
Not as I planned my life that's for sure which is why I will continue to persevere and keep holding my Drs accountable to help me until there is no more help to give or find. And I continue to listen and learn from you folks who bring experience to the table.
Thanks for being here.
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor, Chris Trout, Volunteer Mentor, walkingonpinsandneedles
Driving is no longer the pleasure that it always has been. I also have small fiber idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, with burning pain in my feet. I hit cruise every chance I get, even just to go a few blocks. On extended trips, I've had a pillow or a piece of egg crate in front of the seat to rest my feet on. Even so, I always have to change position of my feet. After setting them in one position for more than a minute or two, they start hurting more.
I remember driving home from college – from Missouri to California – in my '64 Valiant, I found that propping my umbrella between the steering wheel and the accelerator made the car go 60 mph on the level. My custom cruise control. I would stretch out my legs on the seat to be comfortable.
Cars have changed a lot since the 70's. Even my big F250 diesel pickup has cruise. And the semi's our son drives has it. I had one of those water circulating air conditioners that mounted on the passenger side window. Too cool!
A few years ago we went on a five week road trip to visit our daughter, then in New Hampshire, and our son in Indianapolis. It took some careful planning so I wouldn't run out of the two controlled substance meds that I take. It's a nightmare trying to fill a prescription out of state, and every state is different. It was great to see our kids and grandkids, but it was a high price to pay in terms of neuropathy pain.
Driving any distance, I have to stop at most of the rest areas to give my feet a break, and put lidocaine cream on them. That's a short term solution, but it does help. I tried Capzasin but all it did was burn, adding insult to injury.
Another thing that helps is to drive my '94 Cadillac instead of whatever small car we have at the moment. There's more room to move my feet, searching for a comfortable position. My wife doesn't like the Cadillac, so I don't get to drive it as much as I would like. But we do what we can to make the best of it.
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor, rwinney
Your driving experience is almost exactly like mine.
About 6 months ago we bought a new car that has a form of cruise control that maintains a set distance from the car in front of you. It works amazingly well, especially on freeways, and allows me to keep my feet off the peddles more.
Since shoes and socks cause burning, I have even been known to drive barefoot (don't tell anyone), and control the peddles with my toes, in order to minimize the amount of contact with the peddles.
I have tried lidocaine cream, but I don't find that it helps much. I think it doesn't penetrate skin very well.
I am in the process of experimenting with different combinations using DMSO, which does penetrate. I'm hoping the DMSO will carry the lidocaine (or other substances like ketamine, phenytoin, etc.) with it.
I'll post results when I have them.
Meanwhile, good luck!
I wonder if anyone else has tried Ugg boots, which have a shearling lining. They seem to help some. I have even constructed shearling insoles for my various shoes, including flip flops. Lastly, I find that Crocs help some, probably because they are so roomy.
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