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Diabetic nerve pain center
Read on to learn more about diabetic nerve pain.
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Diabetic nerve pain center

What is diabetic nerve pain?

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (nerve disease) is a common complication in people with diabetes.1 It can result in persistent nerve pain that usually affects the feet and legs first, followed by the hands in a “stocking and glove” pattern.1 Your risk of developing painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy or diabetic nerve pain increases with age and the longer you have had diabetes.2

The underlying cause of diabetic peripheral neuropathy remains unclear.3 However, there are studies that suggest controlling blood glucose levels alone is not enough to prevent, stop, or reverse damaged nerve function.3

Factors that are likely to cause nerve damage in diabetic peripheral neuropathy include:2

High blood glucose levels



Alcohol use

Abnormal blood Fat levels


If you have diabetes and are experiencing ongoing pain, it is important to describe your symptoms to your doctor.

How common is diabetic nerve pain?

If you have diabetes and experience ongoing pain, you are not alone. Your doctor will be familiar with the types of pain associated with diabetes.

Talk to your doctor about which treatment options may be the most appropriate for you.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) affects up to 70% of people with diabetes worldwide.3

Approximately 1 in 4 people with diabetes suffer from diabetic nerve pain.4

It is estimated that 80% of people with diabetic nerve pain suffer from moderate to severe pain.5

What does diabetic nerve pain feel like?

Some people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) experience nerve pain, whilst others do not.5 Painful DPN develops slowly, beginning at the feet and legs first, followed by the hands.1

Painful DPN is often described as tingling, pins and needles, burning, freezing, stabbing, shooting, or electric shocks. This pain gets worse at night.1

Painful areas may become abnormally sensitive if you have nerve pain. For example, sensations that would usually not cause pain, such as clothes brushing against your skin or a cold draught of air, can be intensely painful experiences.6

Don’t ignore your pain

Diabetic nerve pain can largely affect your quality of life. In addition to pain, a delay in treatment or misdiagnosis of your diabetic nerve pain may lead to the development of other conditions including:1

Foot ulceration

Foot ulceration

Progressive muscle weakness

Progressive muscle weakness



Sleep disorders

Sleep disorders

Untreated diabetic peripheral neuropathy can worsen over time and lead to permanent nerve damage.7

There are specific treatments available for diabetic nerve pain. If you think you have diabetic nerve pain, make an appointment to see your doctor.

If you have pain that won’t go away, it’s important to get help.

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