Peripheral neuropathy often causes numbness and pain in your hands and feet. People typically describe the pain of peripheral neuropathy as tingling or burning, while they may compare the loss of sensation to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.
Peripheral neuropathy is caused by nerve damage. It can result from such problems as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins. However, one of the most common causes is diabetes.
In many cases, peripheral neuropathy symptoms improve with time-especially if it’s caused by an underlying condition that can be treated. A number of medications are often used to reduce the painful symptoms of neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves of your peripheral nervous system which includes:
- Sensory nerves to receive feelings such as heat, pain or touch
- Motor nerves that control how your muscles move
- Autonomic nerves that control such autonomic functions as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and bladder functions
Most commonly, peripheral neuropathy may start in the longest nerves-the ones that reach to your toes. Specific symptoms vary, depending on which types of nerves are affected. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Gradual onset of numbness and tingling in your feet or hands, which may spread up into your legs and arms
- Burning pain
- Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
- Lock of coordination
Seek medical care right away if you notice any unusual tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet. Early diagnosis and treatment offers the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves.