If you experience tingling, weakness or stabbing pain in your hands or feet, you may be among the 2%–3% of the population with peripheral neuropathy.
“It’s a condition that affects the peripheral nerves of the body,” explains Dr. Michelle Mauermann, a Mayo Clinic neurologist. Those are the nerves that exit the spinal cord and go to the rest of the body. Peripheral neuropathy happens when those nerves are damaged. Some patients experience decreased sensation or numbness in their hands and feet.
“They can also have what we call positive sensory symptoms, so things like prickling and tingling, or burning or electrical shocklike sensations,” says Dr. Mauermann.
Muscle weakness, balance issues, and abnormalities in blood pressure or pulse also can be symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, which can be brought on by a number of reasons ― the most common being diabetes.
Dr. Mauermann says positive sensory symptoms can be treated. In some cases, it’s possible to halt or reverse the neuropathy.