Your fingertips are some of the most sensitive parts of your body, because they contain many more nerve endings as compared to other areas such as your elbows. They send information to your brain about whether something is hot or cold, sharp or smooth, soft or hard. These nerve endings are part of your nervous system and they help you understand the world around you.
The body’s nervous system is split into two parts:
The peripheral nervous system relays information between the central nervous system, and the rest of the body. In some people, nerves in the peripheral nervous system become damaged, leading to various odd sensations in the body. This is known as peripheral neuropathy, a common neurological condition that affects roughly one in three people above the age of 80 worldwide.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of peripheral nerves affected.
The condition usually starts in the feet and legs, reaching the hands and fingers only in advanced stages. Tingling, burning pain and numbness in the feet and lower limbs can have significant impact on the activities of daily living, including walking, climbing stairs and sleeping. Peripheral neuropathy in particular is often underdiagnosed because of a lack of awareness among both patients and doctors.
There are many causes of peripheral neuropathy. These include:
To read more about peripheral neuropathy, click here.
This article was published in the National Neuroscience Institute's NeusLink magazine, which covers articles about NNI updates and brain, spine, muscle and nerve conditions in English and Chinese - to read more articles, click here!