Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder of nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. It primarily affects the feet and in some instances, the hands as well. It causes a wide variety of symptoms including pain, burning tingling numbness and electric shock sensations. Peripheral neuropathy’s course is variable: it can start slowly and gradually progress or in other cases it can literally appear over night. Peripheral neuropathy can also adversely affect a person’s balance-causing instability when walking. There are some cases whereby neuropathy symptoms can completely resolve-but these instances are quite rare. On occasion, if a specific nerve is injured, the nerve may be able regenerate with restoration of feeling and movement. I have seen patients who have sustained injury to the peroneal nerve(the nerve that is prominent in the knee region), gain complete sensation and movement of the foot and ankle. Nerve entrapments(nerves that are bound in scar tissue), such as carpal or tunnel syndrome are often “treatable” by physical therapy, custom- fitting wrist or ankle brace or surgery. Still in other cases when a patient develops medication- induced neuropathy, especially from chemotherapy, complete reversal of symptoms may occur.
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