Neuropathy, Peripheral

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Neuropathy, Peripheral is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Peripheral neuropathy is an umbrella term that denotes a disorder of, or damage to, the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system consists of all the motor and sensory nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body (i.e., the nerves outside the central nervous system). The symptoms and physical findings associated with peripheral neuropathies vary greatly from case to case and may be extremely complex.

More than 100 different peripheral neuropathies are recognized, each with a distinguishing set of symptoms, development path, and prognosis. Disorders affecting only one nerve are described as a mononeuropathies while disorders affecting more than one nerve are called polyneuropathies. If two nerves affecting different parts of the body are involved, the disorder is described as a mononeuritis multiplex.

In some cases, symptoms emerge abruptly, progress rapidly, and are slow to subside. Some chronic forms emerge only gradually and progress slowly. Some chronic forms appear to be resolved but are subject to relapses. Most often, symptoms such as pain, tingling, and/or muscle weakness start in both of the feet (bilateral) and progress up the legs. This is usually followed by symptoms in the hands that progress up the arms.

Supporting Organizations

Center for Peripheral Neuropathy

University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773)702-5659
Fax: (773)702-5577

Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy

485 Half Day Road
Suite 200
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Tel: (847)883-9942
Fax: (847)883-9960
Tel: (877)833-9942

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424

Neuropathy Association

60 East 42nd Street
Suite 942
New York, NY 10165
Tel: (212)692-0662
Fax: (212)692-0668

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  4/25/2008
Copyright  2005 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.