Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy usually begin gradually and include:

  • A tingling sensation in the toes or in the balls of the feet that eventually spreads up the legs toward the trunk. Less commonly, the sensation may begin in the hands and spread up the arms.
  • Numbness in the hands and feet that spreads up the arms and legs.
  • Weakness or heaviness in muscles throughout the body. This may be accompanied by cramping, especially in the feet, legs, and hands.
  • Sensitive skin that may be painful to the touch; prickling, burning, tingling, or sharp stabbing sensations may occur spontaneously and usually worsen at night.
  • Foot drop, a condition in which it is difficult to lift the front of one or both feet.
  • Difficulty walking and/or problems with balance or coordination

Call Your Doctor About Peripheral Neuropathy If:

  • You have numbness or tingling in your extremities.
  • You have weakness or heaviness in muscles that has lasted over time and may be accompanied by cramping.
  • You experience a sudden prickling, burning, stabbing, or otherwise uncomfortable sensation on your skin.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on February 11, 2017

Sources

SOURCES: Bromberg M. Seminars In Neurology, June 2005. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The Official Patient's Sourcebook on Peripheral Neuropathy: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age, October 1, 2002. Sghirlanzoni A. Lancet Neurology, June 2005.

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