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How to Identify the Symptoms of Neuropathy

An estimated 20 million people in the United States suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the normal activity of the nerves that connect the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — to the rest of the body.

Peripheral neuropathy can involve various different nerve types, including motor, sensory, and autonomic nerves. It can also be categorized by the size of the nerve fibers involved, large or small.

In the world of podiatry, most cases of peripheral neuropathy are found in the feet and develop from nerve damage caused by diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can occur in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce the insulin necessary to convert glucose into the energy that the body needs. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body is unable to use insulin properly. It has been estimated that between 60 to 70 percent of diabetics will deal with some form of neuropathy in their lifetime, compared to only a 25 to 30 percent chance for non-diabetics.

The condition can also manifest itself in the feet as a side effect from certain medications, neurological disorders, arthritis or as a result from a traumatic injury. As of today, more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified, each with its own symptoms and prognosis, and are classified according to the type of damage to the nerves have sustained.

So how do you know if you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy?

Symptoms of neuropathy vary depending on the type and location of the nerves involved. The symptoms either appear suddenly, which is called acute neuropathy, or develop slowly over time, called chronic neuropathy.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a board certified podiatrist with over 30 years of experience, sees over 500 patients a month suffering from neuropathy at his offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

According to Dr. Goldbaum, the most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy found in the feet of his patients are cramping sensations, numbing sensations, tightening, tingling or burning, and an overall decrease in sensation. A change in how the toes feel sensations often also signals that something might be wrong.

Other symptoms may also include:

  • Muscle atrophy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Feeling that you are wearing socks or gloves when you are not
  • Difficulty walking or moving your arms or legs
  • Muscle twitching
  • Skin, hair or nail changes.
  • Inability to detect changes in heat and cold

If you believe you are suffering from any of these symptoms, it is important to seek out your health care provider as soon as possible as these ailments might not only be a sign of peripheral neuropathy, but could also indicate the onset of an underlying disorder like diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472






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