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Peripheral Neuropathy

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Updated January 16, 2008

Definition: Damage to the peripheral nervous system that causes pain, numbness, tingling and/or muscle weakness in the extremities. It usually affects the feet and legs, although the hands and arms also may be affected.

Peripheral neuropathy is a result of damage to the axons or the myelin surrounding the nerves. It can be a result of diabetes or a side effect of certain medications, but is not caused by multiple sclerosis (MS). However, sensory symptoms of MS (such as parasthesias) that are caused by lesions in the central nervous system can closely resemble peripheral neuropathy.

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