Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage, usually in the hands and feet. The patient often experiences numbness and tingling and even a painful or burning sensation. This nerve damage can affect one nerve or multiple sites.
There are a number of causes for peripheral neuropathy, such as trauma, toxins, alcoholism, and infections. One of the most common causes is diabetes. About 50 percent of diabetics will develop peripheral neuropathy and lose sensation in their feet. Diabetes affects the small blood vessels that supply nerves and it can also cause nerve damage elsewhere, as nerves go throughout the body to all organs. These symptoms do not come on suddenly and are usually a late stage of untreated diabetes.