Advertisement

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Look at the list below and make a note about any peripheral neuropathy symptoms of you have:

Tingling:
  • My feet tingle.
  • I feel "pins and needles" in my feet.
Pain or increased sensitivity:
  • I have burning, stabbing or shooting pains in my feet.
  • My feet are very sensitive to touch. For example, sometimes it hurts to have the bed covers touch my feet.
  • Sometimes I feel like I have socks or gloves on when I don't.
  • My feet hurt at night.
  • My feet and hands get very cold or very hot.
Numbness or weakness:
  • My feet are numb and feel dead.
  • I don't feel pain in my feet, even when I have blisters or injuries.
  • I can't feel my feet when I'm walking.
  • The muscles in my feet and legs are weak.
  • I'm unsteady when I stand or walk.
  • I have trouble feeling heat or cold in my feet or hands.
Other:
  • It seems like the muscles and bones in my feet have changed shape.
  • I have open sores (also called ulcers) on my feet and legs. These sores heal very slowly.

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary depending on which nerves are affected. Often, symptoms begin as numbness or tingling on the feet. They may then increase to include stabbing or burning pain, muscle problems such as paralysis or weakness, and incontinence. When the affected nerves are ones that control important bodily functions, symptoms can be far more severe. They might interfere with the beating of the heart or breathing functions.

Peripheral neuropathy can affect the nerves that allow you to tell the position of your hands or feet, the nerves that allow you to sense hot or cold, or the nerves that carry pain sensation. The types and severity of neuropathy symptoms vary greatly. It is difficult to determine the degree of peripheral nerve injury only by the symptoms produced.

Peripheral neuropathy symptoms are almost always greatest at night. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling, especially of the hands or feet
  • Pain or cramping, especially of the hands , feet, or calf muscles
  • Sensitivity to touch or temperature
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Muscle wasting in the hands and feet
  • Weakness, especially in the feet or hands
  • Clumsiness
  • Loss of balance, particularly in the dark
  • Dizziness, especially when getting up from a bed or a chair
  • Sexual dysfunction
Christopher Chiodo, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are diverse. The condition can cause a burning, shooting pain through your hands or feet. Sometimes the pain will wake you up at night, or it may feel more intense when you are resting. Another version, motor neuropathy, affects the nerves that instruct your muscles to move. It can cause weakness in your leg and foot muscles, which can lead to structural deformities such as bunions or hammertoes. Other symptoms include tingling and numbness in the feet, or even tickling or other abnormal sensations.

Continue Learning about Pain Conditions

How is acceptance of chronic pain different from resignation to pain?
William B. Salt II., MDWilliam B. Salt II., MD
Don't confuse acceptance with resignation. Acceptance encourages you to make peace with your lim...
More Answers
How do other illnesses affect central pain syndrome?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Central pain syndrome is not a condition without cause. It is the result of an illness or injury tha...
More Answers
How common is central pain syndrome?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
It's hard to say how common central pain syndrome is because it's difficult to diagnose and can be c...
More Answers
How is inflammation of the pudendal nerve treated?
Juan P. Villablanca, MDJuan P. Villablanca, MD
Inflammation of the pudendal nerve (a main nerve in the pelvis) can be treated with an injection of ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.