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It's In The Genes
By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 4)
  • Bloodwork, including genetic predisposition test
    A doctor will check for vitamin deficiencies, immune responses, blood sugar levels and presence of infection.
  • EMG
    An electromyography measures muscle activity, telling the neurologist if there’s any damage to the muscle, nerve or junctions.
  • Nerve conduction studies
    By measuring the efficiency and speed of the nerve’s electrical signals, it tells the neurologist if there are any abnormalities.
  • MRI
    This rules out any other causes of neuropathy, such as trauma.
  • Lumbar puncture
    A neurologist will have a spinal tap done to see if anything is in the cerebral spinal fluid.
  • Nerve or muscle biopsy
    Only if very specific conditions are suspected will a biopsy be performed.

Treatments and Therapy

The University of Chicago’s Center for Peripheral Neuropathy offers these suggestions for treatment of hereditary neuropathy:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Prescription drugs
  • Avoid long activity on hands and knees
  • Avoid crossing legs at the knee
  • Avoid sitting with legs crossed
  • Avoid sitting in one position too long
  • Avoid holding the telephone in one position too long
  • Avoid tying shoes too tight
  • Avoid high heels which make toes numb (even 1-inch high)
  • Take safety measures in case of loss of sensation
  • Therapeutic shoes

In addition to treatments and therapy, there are some self-care tips a person with hereditary neuropathy can implement in their life.

The first is to take care of their feet. A caregiver should make sure they are being checked daily for signs of blisters, cuts or calluses. Tight shoes and socks may worsen pain and tingling.

If your loved one smokes, you should strongly encourage them to quit as smoking affects circulation, increasing foot problems.


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