Cancer Survivors’ 10 Tips for Dealing with Neuropathy


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Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) is extremely common among colorectal cancer patients and survivors. The side effects of neuropathy may begin during treatment and may last beyond treatment. CIPN can be painful to live with and extremely difficult to manage. We’ve asked some of our Fight CRC Advocates for their tips for living with and dealing with neuropathy. Here’s what they said:

10 Tips for Dealing with Neuropathy

1. I found that wide or big soled running shoes – Hoka® brand and Brooks Transcend – helped. Also, if you’re active, make sure you’re checking your feet for blisters. You may not feel them until it’s very bad (if even then). I’ll add that I had CIPN through my hands and feet. It took about six months for my hands to improve post-chemo, and my feet got better over the year to year and a half, though the tips of my toes still have neuropathy seven years later. Running or trying to be active was the worst with my feet: It felt like 10,000 tiny pins stabbing them. –Kari Hagenow

2. I second the Hokas. They help my feet when nothing else does. I wish this topic was talked about more often. It's been four years and my feet and ankles are a hot mess! –Anna Boyle Squitieri

3. Yoga and patience. –Jessica Catlin

4. Gabapentin has helped me. I take three a day. My doctor increased my dosage. I also do acupuncture and try to stay active. –Gina Wagner

5. Time, support hose, big shoes, CBD. I wish I could have done more at the time when I had “chemo” feet. I’m a year and a half out, and I may have improved a little. I don’t know if CBD helps. My balance is only off when I first wake up, but I really have to wake up my feet before I try to stand. I feel like I have sand in my shoes constantly. –Cheri Harrell Anthony

6. I hiked a lot, started with short walks and kept pushing. I stood on rocks and practiced balancing and learning my limits. I try to keep my feet as comfortable as possible at all times. If they get too cold or too hot it's painful. I have all sorts of socks for everything – the linings have to be soft and smooth because if there is texture it can be painful. Sometimes I have to prop my feet up. I am almost six years out. I have gotten used to the CIPN, and it is now just a mild annoyance most days. –Amy Byers Figgs

7. Acupuncture. –Tim McDonald

8. Futzuki Reflexology Mat and Nervive® Pain Relief Cream helps with the pain. My neuropathy is up to my knees. I wear Topo sneakers for taking walks. They have a zero drop [they’re flat], so I won't trip. I try not to wear socks because they are painful. In the winter, I wear Ugg® slippers because they have a thick sole, and I'm outside with kids. –Deb Kenney Perrin

9. Supportive shoes, vitamin B12, and daily strength training for hands and feet really helped. I also used this Hand/Feet Grip Strength Exerciser Kit. When it became too difficult to type, I used the voice to text on my computer to continue working. Occasional pedicures were a nice treat and helpful too! –Raegan Downing

10. I'm 10 years out and my feet, toes, and calves are still numb. Lyrica® has helped along with Voltaren gel. Nights are difficult: After being on my feet for most of the day, when I sit down, the burning sensation starts. Also, Biofreeze is awesome. –Pam Allen

Additional Tips for Dealing with Neuropathy

Looking for additional ideas? OOmega Chukka can help you feel like you are walking on a cloud, especially when your feet are super sensitive.

The med massager foot massager feels like a foot massage without someone actually massaging your feet. This is a great gift for someone you love who struggles with neuropathy. It helps to make life less painful.

To Learn More About Neuropathy

Please check out Fight CRC Side Effects Mini Magazine and a recently posted neuropathy blog for more tips and information on dealing with neuropathy.

4 thoughts on “Cancer Survivors’ 10 Tips for Dealing with Neuropathy

  1. Stage IIIC colorectal cancer with chemo/radiation/surgery. The radiation and surgery disrupt the pelvic floor. Physical Therapy designed specifically for the pelvic floor helped my peripheral neuropathy as well as sciatic pain and branches of that nerve. I was able to eliminate pain meds. Kegels may not be the answer because the pelvic floor could be too tight combatting pain. A professional evaluation should be done.

  2. Omg I’m reading this an crying. I’m not alone. My doctor said she doesn’t know what it is and I have been so worried. I have this up to my knees and also fingers. And I am a survivor of colorectal cancer. It is real. I’m not going mad. Thank you.

    1. Hi Addie, You are not alone. Neuropathy is real, and you are not going mad. We hope that some of these tips survivors shared are able to help you ease neuropathy symptoms.

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