Home Safety Tips for Peripheral Neuropathy Patients

Neuropathy is nerve dysfunction or damage due to a medical condition that results in numbness, tingling, muscles weakness or pain. The most commonly affected areas are the hands and lower extremities such as the feet, although other parts of the body can be impacted as well.

Neuropathy is usually the result of physical trauma, cancer, diabetes and other health conditions. 

A common complaint amongst neuropathy patients is that they have impaired sensation in the extremities, affecting their ability to feel objects or sense temperature with their hands and feet. 

This can include a tingling feeling such as pins and needles, numbness that results in an inability to detect temperature changes, objects that one may step on or manipulate with their hands.

When experiencing neuropathy, safety precautions need to be taken to ensure that someone does not injure themselves during regular day to day activities.

This article will highlight areas of danger for those with neuropathy and discuss some strategies to make them more safe.

How Can Bathing be Dangerous for Neuropathy

One cause of soft tissue injury in neuropathy sufferers is burns and blisters due to exposure to hot water or steam.

Nerve damage and dysfunction can impair the ability to detect potentially harmful temperatures.

As a result, it is common for people to sustain burns when getting into bath water that is too hot. For example, people with neuropathy may soak in the bath  for a lengthy period of time, only to realize that they sustained burns on their skin after getting out.

Recommendations for Bathing with Neuropathy

To avoid burns from hot water when bathing, the water temperature should be checked prior to submerging any part of your body into it.

This can be done by dipping a temperature gauge into the water for a quick measurement.

Alternatively, a temperature limit stop can be installed to prevent the knob from being turned too far when regulating the water’s temperature. This stops exceedingly hot water being released from the tap.


Another possibility is to reduce the settings on the water heater or boiler to produce a lower temperature of hot water. When someone then tries to use the tap, the water is less dangerous.

How Can Cooking be Dangerous for Neuropathy

People who are new to cooking are more likely to get burned because they do not have the experience to detect what is warm or hot, and do not realize there are risks associated with cooking. As a result, they may end up with burns even when they are not trying to hurt themselves.

When cooking inexperience is combined with a poor ability to detect temperature in the hands due to neuropathy, the risk of developing a serious burn increases significantly.

For example, burns can occur by accidentally placing the hand on an active stove element, or on a burner that is still in the process of cooling down after being turned off. Also, hands can get burned by grabbing a hot handle that was inadvertently resting overtop an active heat source.

Another dangerous situation for neuropathy patients is when hot cooking oil from a frying pan splashes onto the hands and potentially causes burns.

Recommendations for Cooking with Neuropathy

The best way to avoid burns in the kitchen is to be mindful of items that may be hot. Another helpful tip is to avoid wearing loose clothing that may catch fire and use an apron that can catch small splashes of oil from a frying pan.

Alternatively, one can change how they cook and prepare meals. For example, heating something in a microwave safe container is less likely to cause burns compared to heating something in a frying pan that may splash oil.

Another strategy to reduce burns In the kitchen is to use a water kettle to boil water, rather than a pot on the stove. Most kettles automatically shut off when the water is ready and this reduces the risk of touching a pot’s hot handle that may have been accidentally sitting over top of the heating element.


How Can Walking be Dangerous for Neuropathy

When neuropathy affects the legs and feet, it may be hard to feel that you have stepped on something sharp.

This can result in foot injuries such as cuts, punctures and other scrapes from walking around barefoot or with socks on.

For example, glass can fall and break on the floor into many pieces. It will be hard to find and clean up all the glass bits, and when you are walking, you may step on some without knowing.

Embedding glass into the foot can result in a wound, but infections can also develop. Depending on the other health conditions someone has, the healing process can be challenging and may lead to complications if the wound is not managed well.

Recommendations for Walking with Neuropathy

Numbness in the feet due to neuropathy can lead to not feeling that you have stepped on a sharp object. This can break the skin and cause bleeding or other injuries.

A good way to prevent soft tissue injuries when walking is to wear shoes indoors and outdoors. The rubber sole of the shoe protects the feet from stepping on sharp objects and injuring oneself.


As an example of the potential danger, look at an old pair of sneakers. You will notice numerous pebbles, rocks and other objects lodged into the shoes’ sole. If someone was not wearing footwear, these objects may have penetrated the skin and resulted in an injury.