Symptoms of neuropathy occur when a set of nerves become damaged or stop working correctly. The most common type is called “peripheral neuropathy” which occurs when sensory nerves coming from areas like the hands and feet malfunction. Rather than sending appropriate information about touch, temperature and motion, the nerves may begin sending confusing signals or they may stop working altogether. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may begin suddenly or may develop over time.
10 common symptoms of neuropathy include:
- Tingling or prickling sensations – Portions of your feet, legs or hands may have a “pins and needles” sensation.
- Burning or itching sensation – Patches or larger areas of your skin may feel as if they are “on fire” or itch severely.
- Numbness – Your toes or fingers, soles of feet or palms or larger areas may go “numb”.
- Feeling of coldness – Your feet, legs or hands may feel like they are cold even if the actual skin temperature is normal
- Unnoticed injuries – if an injury occurs or develops on the foot or other affected area, a lack of sensation may prevent you from noticing. Injuries that are not treated may become more severe.
- Extreme sensitivity – Areas of your skin may become oddly sensitive to even the slightest touch. This is known as “paresthesia”.
- Shooting pains – You may experience shooting pains in the affected area or nearby. These pains may “come and go” and may range from mild to severe.
- Loss of balance – Because your nerves are not sending the right signals, it may be difficult for your body to tell “where” it is in space, resulting in loss of balance.
- Abnormal gait – When sensory nerves are not functioning, coordination is much more difficult and the “gait” or normal walking pattern may become unsteady or irregular.
- Difficulty sleeping – Because of your other symptoms of neuropathy, you may have difficulty sleeping. Pain, tingling, or other sensations may make it hard to fall asleep or may wake ypu up during the night.
Symptoms of neuropathy may begin suddenly or may develop over time. Certain symptoms may also appear to get better, only to begin again in the same or a different area. You should be aware that neuropathy may also affect your emotional well-being and should discuss all of your neuropathy symptoms with your doctor.