Peripheral Nerve Palsies

What are Peripheral Nerve Palsies?

Peripheral nerve palsies are a type of nerve disorder that can result from trauma, injury, nerve compression, a genetic disorder, or a disease such as diabetes. Your peripheral nerves are located outside of your spinal cord and brain. Included are the nerves that extend to the limbs and many sensing organs, including your skin, eyes, ears and nose. With palsy, you experience paralysis and a loss of feeling in the affected parts of the body.

Mononeuropathy is one form of peripheral nerve palsy. It refers to any condition in which a single nerve or nerve group is damaged or dysfunctional. This damage is most commonly inflicted through bodily injury or repetitive motion, though disease can also play a role. The ability of nerve cells or nerve-cell coverings to process signals from the brain is lessened by physical impairment.

Peripheral nerve palsies are a peripheral nerve disorder that may result from trauma, injury, genetic disorder or another nerve problem, nerve compression or another disease, such as diabetes.

Types of Peripheral Nerve Palsy

There are several types of peripheral nerve palsy, including:

  • Peroneal nerve palsies affect the nerve at the top of your calf muscle, just outside the knee. Compressing or hitting this nerve may make it difficult to lift your foot.
  • Radial nerve palsies affect the radial nerve, which is on the underside of your upper arm
  • Ulnar nerve palsies affect your “funny bone,” the nerve running along your ulna bone at the elbow. Compressing or hitting this nerve may cause tingling in your fingers.

One of the most well-known peripheral nerve palsies is carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain and numbness in parts of the hand.

Carpal tunnel occurs when the median nerve passing through the carpal tunnel, a bony area of your wrist, becomes compressed and irritated.

Symptoms and Detection for Peripheral Nerve Palsies 

Numbness, tingling and paralysis are all common signs of peripheral nerve palsy. The location of those symptoms will vary, depending on which nerve has been hit or compressed.

With carpal tunnel, for example, you may notice:

  • Intermittent numbness of your index finger, radial half of your ring finger and thumb
  • Numbness at night, associated with flexing your wrists while you’re asleep

Peripheral nerve palsies are usually diagnosed during a clinical exam, and tests to measure muscle and nerve impulse function.

Treatment of Peripheral Nerve Palsies

Minor palsies may be treated with a more conservative approach, including corticosteroid injections and splinting. This may help reduce swelling and inflammation from peripheral nerve paralysis.

If this doesn’t work or stops working, surgery might be necessary for a peripheral nerve paralysis. For carpal tunnel, this might mean a carpal tunnel release, which involves a small incision on the side of your wrist to cut the traverse carpal ligament. This makes the carpal tunnel less crowded, and may relieve your symptoms.

Risk Factors for Peripheral Nerve Palsies

Factors affecting your risk of developing peripheral nerve palsy include:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Lack of vitamins in diet
  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Certain autoimmune diseases and infections
  • Repetitive motions

You can’t control all risk factors of peripheral nerve palsies, but there are some lifestyle changes you can make, such as improving your work environment and your diet and exercise regimen.

Spine and Peripheral Nerve Care at Baptist Health

There are many neurological conditions that affect your spine and peripheral nerve. They can be treated with medical neurological treatment, or with neurosurgery. 

At Baptist Health, we offer a wide range of advanced surgical treatments for neurological conditions, including:

  • Peripheral Nerve Palsies
  • Spinal Tumors
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Scoliosis
  • Spine Osteoporosis
  • Spondylolisthesis/Spondylosis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Disc Herniation

If you have any additional questions about Baptist Health’s Advanced Surgical Treatments for Nerve, Spinal, or Neurological care, contact your local Neurologist or Neurosurgeon.

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