What are Pressure Points?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, a pressure point is “a place on the body where an artery is close to the surface of the skin, where it can be pressed to partly stop the flow of blood”2. In this post, we refer to pressure points as places in the body that experience wear and tear throughout your daily life. Take your heel as an example if it rubs up against your shoe. Where your heel is red or irritated sometimes (or even develops a blister!) is a pressure point, and if left unchecked can cause health issues down the line.
People with neuropathy are more susceptible to sores that develop into something more serious, as it is harder to feel when those sores do feel painful1. Getting them checked out by your doctor or a podiatrist as soon as possible can prevent those small sores from escalating into something really serious.
Pressure Points and Neuropathy
Since some neuropathy patients lose sensation in affected areas, it can be hard to spot irritated, injured, or infected pressure points. Healing time is also longer for those with neuropathy, as blood flow to parts of the body is decreased1. That is why it is very important to check your body for sore spots and to go to the doctor sooner rather than later.
Wounds that are left can develop infections and even lead to amputations if not treated in an appropriate time frame. Checking areas that are usually out of sight (like the bottoms of your feet) for injuries can help prevent these infections3. With any injury, even if the wound looks small, you should still check with a doctor for appropriate treatment options. Assuming they will heal on their own (even small ones) can be a dangerous assumption for those with neuropathy.
Pressure Points: Prevention and Awareness
The two ways you can deal with pressure points are to first be aware of what is going on in your body and to talk to your doctor as soon as you notice something is wrong. Regularly check your body for red and sore spots and try to prevent blisters by protecting your hands and feet. If you find any open sores that are taking a long time to heal or are growing larger instead of healing (cuts, blisters, punctures, etc.) is worth bringing up with your doctor, even if you do not feel sore in that area3.
Properly fitting footwear can go a long way to prevent injuries or wounds at pressure points3. You can get your shoes stretched in a shoe repair shop or take care to get your feet measured so that you know your size. Watching for sore spots when using orthotics or leg braces is also crucial, as sometimes those can rub and cause sores. Checking for pressure points daily and bringing them to your doctor’s attention as soon as possible is the best way to prevent more serious consequences to your health.
- Advanced Foot and Ankle Medicine and Surgery. (n.d.). Peripheral Neuropathy | Foot Health | Patients | APMA. Apma. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from https://www.apma.org/neuropathy
- Cambridge Dictionary. (2021, July 7). pressure point definition: 1. a place on the body where an artery (= tube carrying blood from the heart) is close to the. . .. Learn more. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/pressure-point
- University of Utah. (n.d.). Foot Injuries: When to See a Doctor. University of Utah Health. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from https://healthcare.utah.edu/orthopaedics/specialties/foot-injury-when-to-see-doctor.php
Natalie was a Student Writer for the Calgary Neuropathy Association and has now completed her degree and is in the working world.