Overview

Peripheral Neuropathy

Physicians at Northwestern Memorial Hospital have extensive experience diagnosing and treating peripheral neuropathy. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Illinois by U.S. News & World Report, and is at the forefront of neuropathy research and treatment.

Our multidisciplinary team of neuropathy specialists includes experts in:

  • Neurology
  • Pain management
  • Genetics
  • Hematology/oncology
  • Peripheral nerve surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Nutrition and wellness

This multidisciplinary team approach helps to ensure complete care of the patient. We are also one of few hospitals in the region with a plastic surgeon specializing in nerve surgery.

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that results from damage to the peripheral nerve system. Peripheral nerve injuries can occur through out the body and result in loss of function and chronic pain. Neuropathy can affect any of the three types of peripheral nerves:

  • Sensory nerves: These carry messages from your sensory organs (eyes, nose, etc.) to your brain
  • Motor nerves: These monitor the conscious movement of your muscles
  • Autonomic nerves: These regulate the involuntary functions of your body

Sometimes, neuropathy will only affect a single nerve. This is called mononeuropathy and can commonly affect nerves in the:

  • Wrist
  • Elbow
  • Upper arm
  • Knee
  • Leg

Occasionally, two or more isolated nerves in separate areas of the body become damaged, resulting in mononeuritis multiplex neuropathy. Most often, however, multiple peripheral nerves malfunction at the same time, a condition known as polyneuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy affects nearly than 25 million people in the U.S. Neuropathies are either inherited at birth or acquired later in life. The most common systemic cause behind peripheral neuropathy is diabetic neuropathy, which can cause chronically high blood glucose levels that damage nerves.

Northwestern Medicine Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
The Northwestern Medicine Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital was established in 2009 with support from the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy. We employ a multidisciplinary approach in which specially trained personnel provide diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitative and supportive services. Clinics are held on a weekly basis.

The board-certified neurologists at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. They diagnose and treat patients with a full range of neurological disorders, including peripheral neuropathy.