What Are the Causes of Neuropathy in the Feet & Legs?

By Valerie Dansereau

Neuropathy is nerve damage. Numbness and tingling in the feet and legs usually signal neuropathy. Later symptoms include weakness and pain. There are many possible causes of neuropathy in the lower extremities.

Neuropathy is nerve damage. Numbness and tingling in the feet and legs usually signal neuropathy. Later symptoms include weakness and pain. There are many possible causes of neuropathy in the lower extremities.

The Facts

Neuropathy can be acquired or inherited. Many people who have neuropathy in the feet and legs have developed this condition as a complication of diabetes.

Heredity

Some inherited disorders cause nerve damage in the feet and legs. The most common of these is Charcot-Marie-Tooth, which causes extreme weakening and numbness of muscles in the legs and feet.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing neuropathy in the legs and feet include diabetes, alcoholism and vitamin deficiencies. Some infections, such as HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome, can lead to neuropathy.

External Factors

Neuropathy can be caused by external factors such as exposure to toxic substances. It can also be caused by physical trauma or prolonged pressure on a nerve.

Considerations

According to the Neuropathy Association, almost a third of neuropathy cases are considered idiopathic, which means the cause is unknown.

References

About the Author

Valerie Dansereau has experience writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her writing career began with writing stories for confession magazines. She has written a wide variety of online articles about health, home business, parenting and self-help. She attended Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts and has over 20 years of banking experience, including writing loan operations manuals for two banks.

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