Peripheral neuropathy can be classified as follows:
- Mononeuropathy – a single nerve is involved. Examples are carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar nerve palsy, radial nerve palsy, and peroneal nerve palsy. Another more common example is experiencing the sensation of ‘pins and needles’. Although, this can easily be fixed by making adjustments in the posture of the body.
- Multiple mononeuropathy – Involves two or more nerves.
- Polyneuropathy – Involves peripheral nerves in general. Common examples are diabetic neuropathy and Guillain-Barre syndrome. This form of neuropathy is the most common one and affects the legs and feet.
Peripheral nerves are referred to as nerve tissues that are not directly situated in the Brain or the Spinal cord. The basic function of these nerves is to relay messages to all parts of the body.
Neuropathy targets these nerves and may affect sensory, motor or autonomic nerves that control sensations, functions of the muscles and involuntary movements of the vital organs respectively.
Neuropathy’s common forms are inclusive of fiber, diabetic and alcoholic neuropathies while other forms like ischemic neuropathy (caused by the scarcity of blood transmission to peripheral nerves), demyelinating neuropathies (degenerative in nature) and peroneal neuropathy (affects vital nerves in the leg) are also present.
Peripheral Neuropathy interferes with the communication of the Brain and the body and results in persistent pain, causes weakness and abnormal sensations, or may result in loss of mobility. In most cases, the loss of sensation that occurs may prove to be dangerous since wounds may go unnoticed and get infected. This type of Neuropathy usually affects the lower limbs and is manifested on both sides of the body.
In the early stages, patients tend to feel numbness in the toes and a persistent pain in the feet. In some cases, a burning sensation or a sore foot may replace these. As the condition grows and spreads it starts to affect other parts of the body, and can prove to be distressing if family and friends fail to understand and support the patient.
As the peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous systems with the rest of the body, any damage to it can result in multiple symptoms. Generating awareness is necessary since most of these symptoms may pass by unnoticed. This makes the condition worse over time and prolongs the course of treatment and recovery.