Make an appointment ➝
Make an appointment ➝

What is Nerve Sensory Testing?

Nerve/Neurological Sensory Testing is performed using an electromyogram (EMG), which measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction. Nerve conduction studies measure how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals.

Nerves control the muscles in the body with electrical signals called impulses. These impulses make the muscles react in specific ways, allowing your doctor to evaluate the responsiveness of the nerves and muscles. An abnormal response indicates a problem with the nerves and muscles, and may help to establish the specific nature of the issue.

How do you prepare for a Neurological Conduction Study?

No major preparation is necessary for an electromyogram test. You should bathe or shower the day of the test and your doctor may also ask you not to use lotion or oil on the area being examined prior to the test, as some of these may interfere with results. You should also inform your doctor if you have a pacemaker or cardiac defibrillator, as electrical stimulation may affect these implants. 

Why is Neurological Sensory Testing performed?

There are a number of different things that can cause muscle pain and numbness in the lower extremities. Poor circulation, diabetes, injuries, and other conditions can cause damage to nerves and muscles that impedes their ability to conduct signals and respond to impulses from the brain. A nerve sense test may be called for if you are experiencing any symptoms of nerve damage or a nerve disorder. These include tingling, numbness, weakness, spasms, or paralysis of the leg muscles. The results of an EMG can reveal any abnormalities, issues, or damage to the muscles and nerves and help to identify the root issue.

What can you expect during a Nerve Sensory Test?

If you have leg pain or numbness, you may have these tests to find out how much your nerves are being affected. These tests check how well your spinal nerves and the nerves in your arms and legs are working.

An EMG can be performed at any of our Weil Foot & Ankle Institute podiatry offices in or around the Chicago area. Our EMG technologists or expert Chicago podiatrists will conduct the test in a room designed to block outside electrical interference.

You will be required to either lie down on a table or bed or sit in a reclining chair to relax your muscles. Next, the skin around the testing area will be cleaned, and an electrode that is attached to a recording machine will be placed on the skin.

Once the electrodes are in place, the electrical activity in your relaxed muscle is recorded by the machine. The next step is to record the electrical activity in the contracted muscle, so your technologist will then ask you to slowly tighten the muscle. To get a complete reading of your muscle, the electrode may need to be moved several times.

A video monitor is used to show the electrical activity in the muscle and usually appears as wavy or spiked lines. You may also be able to hear the activity on the machine as you contract and release your muscles. The EMG test usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.

What is the followup and recovery like for a Sensory Test?

There may be some mild muscle soreness following an EMG, but this should subside after a day or two. You will receive your results within a couple days of the test, and if needed your doctor will work with you to put together a treatment plan based on the results. There are a wide variety of things which could cause muscle weakness or nerve damage and the range of treatments will depend on your diagnosis. Next steps may include a range of interventions to manage diabetes or circulatory issues. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair damaged nerves.

What are the potential costs for a Nerve Sensory Test?

EMG testing is often covered by health insurance. Talk to your provider to find out whether or not you’re covered. 

What are the potential risks of Neurological Sensory Testing?

Nerve sensory testing is quite safe and can be a valuable tool for diagnosing issues which may be causing pain or numbness in the legs. 

Are there related treatments to Nerve Sensory Testing?

At Weil Foot & Ankle Institute, we are able to perform a variety of different diagnostic procedures, including circulation testing and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help identify the causes of pain and numbness in the legs and feet.

Meet Weil Foot & Ankle Institute

Weil Foot & Ankle Institute was founded in 1965, by Dr. Lowell Weil Sr, who was inspired by a need to progress the Foot & Ankle Care category into the future through innovation. As one of the first Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Dr. Weil... Learn More »