What to Know About Diabetic Neuropathy in Your Legs

Your hands, feet, arms, and legs may become painful or tingly if you have diabetic neuropathy. Oral and topical drugs might offer some comfort.

A consequence of diabetes that affects your legs is called diabetic neuropathy. It occurs when excessive blood sugar (glucose) damages your limbs' nerves, particularly the small blood arteries that supply those nerves. This may eventually result in numbness, tingling, or pain in the nerves.

A Leg-related diabetic neuropathy can seriously impair your quality of life. Certain drugs have the potential to reduce symptoms. Controlling your blood sugar levels may also help you avoid this illness or feel less pain.

How does diabetic neuropathy affect your legs?

The neuropathy caused by diabetes comes in several forms. Your legs are most likely to be affected by two of them: proximal neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy.

Usually, peripheral neuropathy starts in the foot and progresses to the legs. There may also be effects on the hands and arms. Leg symptoms could consist of:
  • cramps
  • difficulties feeling changes in temperature or discomfort
  • muscle weakness
  • sharp pains
  • numbness or tingling
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, proximal diabetic neuropathy is an uncommon consequence. Usually, it only affects one side of the body, though occasionally both could be impacted. The ailment results in severe hip, buttock, and thigh discomfort.

How is diabetic neuropathy in the legs treated?

Treatment for diabetic neuropathy in the legs typically consists of a mix of prescription drugs, over-the-counter treatments, and lifestyle changes, such as close blood sugar control.


Pregabalin and gabapentin are two drugs that are intended to stop seizures; they may also aid with nerve pain.

Relief may be obtained with topical creams, ointments, patches, and sprays that include capsaicin, lidocaine, or other numbing chemicals. Additionally, an antidepressant may be prescribed by a doctor, which occasionally reduces nerve discomfort.

Home remedies

Regardless of your level of diabetes, it's always a good idea to have a healthy lifestyle. However, quitting smoking and drinking too much alcohol can help support good circulation when managing diabetic neuropathy.

Furthermore, keep an eye out for any changes, such as skin discolouration in your legs or feet, or ulcers on your feet as these could point to more issues.

Braces or orthotics may offer some stability if walking is uncomfortable or there is a problem with muscle weakness. Receiving physical therapy and learning how to maintain your leg strength and flexibility better may also be helpful.

Which factors put your legs in danger of developing diabetic neuropathy?

The main risk factor for getting diabetic neuropathy in your legs is having type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes since it is usually diagnosed in adolescents and young adults, or type 2 diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus or diabetes which tends to develop over time.

However, there are a few other things that could raise your risk. A 2019 study lists a few of the primary risk factors as follows:
  • abdominal obesity
  • low HDL cholesterol levels
  • high blood pressure
  • high triglyceride levels

Can you prevent diabetic neuropathy in your legs?

Aggressive and regular blood sugar management is the primary technique for preventing diabetic neuropathy in the legs if you have the disease.

According to research, people with type 1 diabetes who are diagnosed early may be able to reduce their risk of developing diabetic neuropathy by approximately 78% if they maintain strict blood sugar control. On the other hand, people with type 2 diabetes who are diagnosed later may be able to reduce their risk by 5–10% if they maintain strict blood glucose control.

What is the prognosis for individuals with diabetic neuropathy in their lower limbs?

If diabetic neuropathy in the legs is not treated with strict blood sugar control, the prognosis is not good. Sometimes, severe injury results in the amputation of the lower leg or foot.

But the prognosis is far better for those who can control their diabetes with medicine, food, and good lifestyle choices. If you continue to experience muscle weakness or foot problems, you may need to modify your activities. For example, you may need to exercise for shorter periods but more frequently, and you may need to use a cane or special shoes to aid with balance.

Enrolling in a support group catering to individuals with diabetic neuropathy could furnish you with motivation and techniques to enhance your perspective.


What should I do if I have diabetic neuropathy?

Exercise and nutrition, blood glucose management, injury prevention, and pain management.

Does diabetic neuropathy go away?

No, diabetic neuropathy cannot be healed; nonetheless, its symptoms are manageable. Nerves cannot heal themselves once they are damaged.

Should you walk a lot with neuropathy?

Walking not only helps relieve the symptoms of your neuropathy, but it can also exacerbate them. Sedentary behaviour can exacerbate many of the common symptoms of neuropathy and result in chronic pain.


Not everyone with diabetes develops diabetic neuropathy, and it's not always obvious why some people with the disease experience nerve problems while others do not.

If you can maintain a healthy blood glucose range and lead an overall healthy lifestyle, you may be able to prevent diabetic neuropathy or at least slow its progression if you already have the disease.

Maintaining strict medical supervision can aid with symptom management. To determine which course of action is best for you, you might need to attempt several treatments.

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