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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Neuropathy, Peripheral

It is possible that the main title of the report Neuropathy, Peripheral is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Mononeuritis, Peripheral
  • Mononeuritis Multiplex
  • Mononeuropathym Peripheral
  • Multiple Peripheral Neuritis
  • Peripheral Neuritis
  • Polyneuritis, Peripheral
  • Polyneuropathy, Peripheral

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Ulnar Nerve Palsy
  • Tardy Ulnar Palsy
  • Peroneal Nerve Palsy
  • Radial Nerve Palsy
  • Saturday Night Palsy

General Discussion

Peripheral neuropathy is an umbrella term that denotes a disorder of, or damage to, the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system consists of all the motor and sensory nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body (i.e., the nerves outside the central nervous system). The symptoms and physical findings associated with peripheral neuropathies vary greatly from case to case and may be extremely complex.

More than 100 different peripheral neuropathies are recognized, each with a distinguishing set of symptoms, development path, and prognosis. Disorders affecting only one nerve are described as a mononeuropathies while disorders affecting more than one nerve are called polyneuropathies. If two nerves affecting different parts of the body are involved, the disorder is described as a mononeuritis multiplex.

In some cases, symptoms emerge abruptly, progress rapidly, and are slow to subside. Some chronic forms emerge only gradually and progress slowly. Some chronic forms appear to be resolved but are subject to relapses. Most often, symptoms such as pain, tingling, and/or muscle weakness start in both of the feet (bilateral) and progress up the legs. This is usually followed by symptoms in the hands that progress up the arms.


NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981

Neuropathy Association
60 East 42nd Street
Suite 942
New York, NY 10165
Tel: (212)692-0662
Fax: (212)692-0668

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Center for Peripheral Neuropathy
University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773)702-5659
Fax: (773)702-5577

Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
485 Half Day Road
Suite 200
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Tel: (847)883-9942
Fax: (847)883-9960
Tel: (877)833-9942

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 4/25/2008
Copyright 1987, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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