Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is the result of damage to the peripheral nerves. It usually affects the arms or legs, and causes a change in physical feeling. Sometimes it causes weakness in the muscles. You may feel tingling, numbness or shooting pains. Symptoms may be more common at night. Skin may be extra sensitive to light touch or temperature changes.

Neuropathy may be caused by a complication of a chronic disease such as diabetes, virus or bacterial infections, or physical injury. A ruptured disk with pressure on the spinal nerve may also lead to the problem. Certain vitamin deficiencies may also lead to it. It may also be caused by exposure to certain drugs or chemicals.

Home care

  • Tell the healthcare provider about all medicines you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbs. Ask if any of the medicines may be causing your problems. Don't make any changes to prescription medicines without talking to your healthcare provider first.

  • You may be prescribed medicines to help relieve the tingling feeling or for pain. Take all medicines as directed.

  • A numb hand or foot may be more prone to injury. To help protect it:

    • Always use oven mitts.

    • Test water with an unaffected hand or foot.

    • Use caution when trimming nails. File sharp areas.

    • Wear shoes that fit well to avoid pressure points, blisters, and ulcers.

    • Inspect your hands and feet carefully (including the soles of your feet and between your toes) at least once a week. If you see red areas, sores, or other problems, tell your healthcare provider.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your doctor or as advised by our staff. You may need further testing or evaluation.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • Redness, swelling, cracking, or ulcer on any numb area, especially the feet

  • New symptoms of numbness or muscle weakness numbness

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

  • Slurred speech, confusion, or trouble speaking, walking, or seeing

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