Does true peripheral neuropathy cause numbness or pain?

Peripheral neuropathy can cause either pain or numbness. Whichever one is the main symptom, neither are pleasant. The numb feeling can start with the feeling that the socks are bunched up, although they are not. This can progress to a full and profound numb sensation in the feet and can progress up the leg. Often, the protective sensation that one feels is gone and puts the foot at risk for infection, caused by a simple splinter, or a foot ulcer. Numb feet such as these also causes significant balance issues putting these patients at risk for falls.

Pain caused by peripheral neuropathy is often quite severe. It can range from being reactive to hot and cold extremes, to constant sharp pains, to burning, to hot pokers, to any type of pain that you can imagine. Sounds horrible...it is! The constant pain often keeps people from sleeping too, which further impacts their life.

Whether painful or numb, both are presentations of peripheral neuropathy that must be addressed.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.