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“It is very annoying, you know, it feels like wearing soles under your bare feet”, said the elderly lady. “Also, when I am cycling my foot tends to slip from the pedal.” I was on my professorial ward round, conducted in the European continental fashion with a retinue of students, nurses, residents, and neurologists. I just managed to suppress an instinctive answer: “I know exactly what you are talking about; maybe my feet are even more numb than yours.” On that very morning a nurse had drawn my attention to the fact that I was still wearing bicycle clips around my ankles (fig); because I did not feel the things at all, I had forgotten to take them off after leaving my bicycle in the cellar of the hospital.
My own sensory neuropathy is iatrogenic. Almost a year ago I was operated for intestinal obstruction, which turned out to be caused by colonic carcinoma. Because a few lymph nodes …