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Peripheral Neuropathy

AMBULATORY CARE:

Peripheral neuropathy

is a condition that affects nerves in your arms, legs, hands, or feet. It also may affect your organs, such as your lungs, stomach, bladder, or genitals. Peripheral neuropathy can affect the nerves that allow you to move or to feel objects. It also may affect nerves that control your body functions, such as digestion or urination. This condition may go away on its own, or you may always have it.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Pain or tingling in your legs, feet, arms, or hands that may feel sharp, stabbing, or burning
  • Trouble walking or keeping your balance
  • Weakness or difficulty holding things
  • Loss of your sense of touch or numbness
  • Bruising easily
  • Trouble controlling your bladder or bowels or having sex

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You cannot walk at all.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You fall.

Call your doctor or neurologist if:

  • Your pain is severe.
  • You cannot control your bladder.
  • You have trouble having sex.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may help relieve your pain and help you function in your daily activities. Treatment of the condition causing the peripheral neuropathy may improve your symptoms. You may need the following:

  • Medicines may be given to help decrease nerve pain.
  • Physical and occupational therapists may help you exercise your arms, legs, and hands. They may teach you new ways to do things at home.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) stimulates your nerves and may decrease your pain. Wires are attached to pads. The pads are attached to your skin. The wires send a mild current through your nerves. Do not have TENS if you have a pacemaker or are pregnant.
  • A brace or splint helps support or hold an affected area still.

Manage peripheral neuropathy:

  • Go to physical or occupational therapy as directed. Physical and occupational therapists may help you exercise your arms, legs, and hands. They may teach you new ways to do things at home.
  • Wear a brace or splint, if directed. You may need a device that supports or holds a body part still. For example, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may need to wear a wrist brace.
  • Prevent falls. Move with care and stand up slowly. Wear shoes that support your feet, and do not go barefoot. Ask about walking aids, such as a cane or walker. You may want to install railings or nonslip pads in your home, especially in the bathroom. Ask for more information on how to avoid falls.
    Fall Prevention for Adults
  • Check your skin daily. Sores can form where your skin makes contact with chairs, beds, or other body parts. They also can form under splints. Keep your skin clean, and check your skin daily for sores.
  • Exercise as directed. Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Physical activity may increase your balance and strength and may decrease your pain. It is best to start exercising slowly and do more as you get stronger.
    Hispanic Family Walking for Exercise

Follow up with your doctor or neurologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Peripheral Neuropathy (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.