Motor neuropathy occurs if damage affects the motor nerves which control movement. Motor nerves carry impulses from the central nervous system to muscles, with electrical impulses passing along these nerves to stimulate muscle movement.

Diabetes is a common cause of motor neuropathy, with uncontrolled high blood sugar levels leading to the nerve damage.

The parts of the body most likely to be affected by motor neuropathy are the legs, arms, hands and feet. This is also the case with sensory neuropathy.

The body’s ability to co-ordinate movement can be affected by motor neuropathy, especially when walking. The foot condition known as Charcot foot can develop from walking with motor neuropathy.

Symptoms of motor neuropathy

The symptoms of motor neuropathy may include:

  • Muscle twitching and cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle wasting, where muscle tissue is lost due to inactivity
  • Failure to control co-ordination
  • Muscle paralysis

The lack of muscle control from motor neuropathy can also leave you susceptible to falling and suffering injuries. Ensuring your home is cleared of loose objects or obstacles blocking pathways will reduce your chances of tripping over.

Complications of motor neuropathy

Charcot foot is a complication of motor neuropathy that results in deformation of the foot. This develops due to pressure being applied to the foot through regular walking.

Motor neuropathy affects walking due to muscle weakness and a loss of co-ordination, which can result in unbalanced pressure being put on the ankle.

This difference in walking may not be noticed by people with motor neuropathy, with pain sensitivity often reduced in neuropathy patients.

Sprains, bone dislocations and fractures can all occur from this pressure being exerted during walking for a prolonged period of time.