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You are here: Home > Medical Glossary > Foot Conditions > Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a relatively common neurological disorder that results from damage to the peripheral nerves. It can be caused by a number of diseases of the nerves or be the result of systemic illnesses. Many of the peripheral neuropathy's have a well established cause such as diabetes, alcoholism, uremia, AIDs, or nutritional deficiencies. Diabetes is, by far, one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy. Other less common causes include exposure to cold or radiation, a few medicines, toxic substances, vascular or collagen disorders, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis.

The peripheral nervous system consists of motor (to help move) nerves and sensory (to help feel) nerves. Either or both sets of nerves can be affected in neuropathy.

If a sensory nerve is damaged, the predominant symptoms are pain, numbness, tingling, burning or a loss of feeling. They often begin gradually. There may be a tingling sensation or numbness that starts in the toes and/or the balls of the feet and spreads upward. Occasionally the skin may become so sensitive that the slightest touch is agonizing. There may also may be a numbness, or a complete lack of feeling in the feet. At times the symptoms may be barely noticeable and at other times, especially at night, they may be almost unbearable. The symptoms may also include a sensation that you're wearing an invisible glove or sock; a burning or freezing pain; sharp, jabbing or electric pain; and an extreme sensitivity to touch.

If the motor nerves are damaged there may be a weakness or paralysis of the muscles controlled by the affected nerve(s). In the foot their may be a 'wasting' of the muscles as they do not work as well as before.

Diabetic neuropathy deserves special mention as it is the most common type and can lead to serious complications in those with diabetes. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy means damage of nerve fibres in people with diabetes. The process by which the nerves are damaged is not entirely clear but it is probably related to high blood glucose changes that affect the metabolism of nerve cells.

 

The information contained on the DiabestMedical.com website is provided for your general information only. DiabestMedical.com under no circumstances recommends particular treatment for specific individuals and in all cases recommends that you consult your physician or local treatment center before pursuing any course of treatment.
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