Signs & symptoms of small fiber neuropathy

Updated February 21, 2017

Small fibre neuropathy is damage to nerve endings in the outer layers of skin. The disease normally presents itself in later stages of life. Causes of small fibre neuropathy may include the effect of diabetes on nerve passageways, heredity and autoimmune disorders. Treatment involves treating the disease such as diabetes or by prescribing medications to decrease pain.

Tingling And Numbness

Fingers and toes are normally the first to experience small fibre neuropathy. The nerve fibres at the end of your extremities experience the beginnings of damage, and you may feel tingling in these areas. Blood circulation continues to decrease, resulting in damage and numbness. You touch something hot or cold and cannot feel any sensation or you do not experience how hot or how cold the item is. You may not experience pain when cutting a finger or stepping on a piece of glass. Grasping items with your fingers become difficult as you can no longer feel what you are touching. Standing and walking is also difficult and you may lose your balance because of non-feeling in your toes.


Small fibre neuropathy results in weakness in your muscles. Legs, arms, hands and feet feel weak and unable to lift ordinary objects or walk short distances without sitting down and resting. You may feel lightheaded or faint from low blood pressure. Weakness in muscles in the bladder may result in the leakage of urine or difficulty emptying the bladder completely. Men may find they cannot achieve an erection because of muscle weakness.


Small fibre neuropathy patients describe pain that feels like stinging, stabbing, burning, aching or shock-like pains that run through a part of the body. These pains may occur anywhere in the body, including arms, legs, back, head and face. Clothes feel uncomfortable against the skin and wearing socks and shoes results in intense pain in the feet.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms from small fibre neuropathy may include excessive sweating, constipation, bloating, diarrhoea, hair loss or thinning of the hair and brittle nails.

Ask your doctor about treatment for pain and other symptoms of small fibre neuropathy.

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Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.