Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Author: Standiford Helm II, MD
    Standiford Helm II, MD

    Dr. Helm has been practicing interventional pain management since 1982. Dr. Helm is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology with subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine and of the American Board of Pain Medicine. Dr. Helm is a Fellow of Interventional Pain Practice (FIPP), the only certifying agency which tests the ability to perform interventional pain procedures. Dr. Helm is also an examiner for FIPP.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Slideshow

Quick GuideDiabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: Exercises to Improve Diabetes Nerve Pain

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: Exercises to Improve Diabetes Nerve Pain

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy somewhat depend on the cause. Typically, peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves of sensation. As a result, patients affected by peripheral neuropathy develop pain, burning, or tingling in the distribution of the affected nerves. Most commonly this is in the feet and/or hands. This can cause tingling, numbness, and/or burning in the toes or fingers.

When shingles causes peripheral neuropathy, the particular nerve affected causes a very localized burning and itching sensation. This could be, for examples, in the side of the chest, the face, the buttock, etc.

How is peripheral neuropathy diagnosed?

Because peripheral neuropathy has so many causes and so many presentations, the first step to diagnosis is performing a thorough medical history and physical examination. Certain tests done during the physical exam, including vibration and monofilament testing, are very accurate in diagnosing certain types of peripheral neuropathy, such as large fiber peripheral neuropathy seen with diabetes. Blood tests for exposure to toxins and electrodiagnostic studies, such as nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyelography (EMG) are also very useful, although these tests will not help with the diagnosis of small fiber neuropathy. Either skin biopsies or quantitative sudomotor axon reflex testing (QSART) are occasionally used to help diagnose small fiber neuropathy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/28/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Diabetes Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Peripheral Neuropathy - Experience

    Please describe your experience with peripheral neuropathy.

    Post View 70 Comments
  • Peripheral Neuropathy - Symptoms

    What were the symptoms of your peripheral neuropathy?

    Post View 77 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors