Has your podiatrist misdiagnosed the cause of your neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a disturbing condition that podiatrists often treat, but if your podiatrist assumes that your neuropathy is the result of a simple nerve injury due to a fall, a car accident, or repetitive stress, in some cases this assumption may be a sign of negligence. 

If your podiatrist failed to refer you to a doctor with another, more appropriate specialty or for more diagnostic testing, and you have suffered serious harm as a result, Lawrence M. Karam, the talented lead attorney of Dental & Podiatry Malpractice of New York, may be able to help you sue for damages.

What is neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a condition in which one or more nerves are damaged. Typically, it manifests in symptoms affecting the extremities, very often the feet. For this reason, patients who experience the symptoms of this disorder are apt to make an appointment with a podiatrist. 

Because nerve damage can affect any type of nerve (sensory, motor, or autonomic), patients may initially experience a wide variety of symptoms in their feet, including:

  • Numbness or a pins and needles sensation 
  • Sharp, stabbing, burning, or throbbing pain
  • Poor coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch (e.g. pain from the weight of a sheet on the toes)
  • Phantom sensations (e.g. as if you have socks on when your feet are bare)

It is important to note that although the symptoms of neuropathy may, at least at first, occur in the feet, the causes of these symptoms are most frequently systemic.

How do podiatrists typically treat neuropathy?

Podiatrists can sometimes be very helpful in treating the symptoms of neuropathy with orthotics, custom-made shoe inserts, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and by examining feet carefully for cuts, blisters, corns, and abrasions that may, unnoticed, become infected due to the patient’s lack of sensation.

But what if the podiatrist misdiagnoses the cause of the patient’s neuropathy?

If the podiatrist oversteps his/her area of expertise, failing to consider that the patient’s neuropathy may potentially have a life-threatening cause, there can be severe consequences.

What are the causes of neuropathy?

Though at times neuropathy symptoms in the feet are the result of trauma, dietary deficiencies, certain medications, or a disease the patient is already aware that he/she has, it is possible that the podiatrist is simply treating foot symptoms while another disease condition worsens.

The most common causes of neuropathy are diabetes, metabolic syndrome (a combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes), and alcoholism. None of these conditions can be successfully treated by a podiatrist. A good many other disorders may also cause neuropathy, including:

  • Autoimmune diseases (e.g. diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis,)
  • Certain types of chemotherapy 
  • Infections such as Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C, HIV
  • Kidney, liver, thyroid, or connective tissue disease
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Vascular disorders that deprive nerve cells of oxygen
  • Inherited disorders (most commonly, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease) 

Neuropathy may also be caused by certain medications or by exposure to particular toxins. If your podiatrist assumes that a traumatic injury has caused your neuropathy, while it is actually the result of, for example, untreated diabetes, metastasizing cancer, or an autoimmune disease, the longer the underlying condition remains undiagnosed, the more likely you are to suffer further severe harm. Such negligence may even put your life at risk.

Contact Our Experienced Podiatry Malpractice Attorney Today

If you have suffered serious personal injury as a result of podiatric malpractice, attorney Lawrence M. Karam will evaluate your case at no charge, and, if your case rises to the level of podiatric malpractice, he will fight aggressively to win you the settlement you deserve through agile negotiations or, if necessary, in a court of law. Moreover, you will be charged no attorneys’ fees until he wins you compensation.

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.