Most people with peripheral neuropathy complain about the unrelenting sensations of numbness, pain, and burning that they feel. The intensity of these feelings can vary greatly–from mildly annoying to agonizing and disabling.
Peripheral neuropathy decreases the ability of the feet and legs to be protected from injury. People with peripheral neuropathy are less able to react to an injury on their feet and legs because they can not feel that something is wrong. A minor problem, such as an ingrowing toenail or a wound caused by stepping on a sharp object such as a piece of glass, may go unnoticed and, if left untreated, quickly become a more serious problem. Minor wounds may rapidly become infected and the infection may progress to the bone, a very serious medical condition called osteomyelitis. In some cases, osteomyelitis requires the infected bone to be surgically removed.
Peripheral neuropathy can cause balance problems and muscular weakness in the feet and legs leading to falls. It is also a leading cause of erectile dysfunction, heart problems, and digestive system problems–to name a few.