What is the role of pinprick testing in the assessment of diabetic neuropathy?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Dianna Quan, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Testing for peripheral neuropathy begins with assessment of gross light touch and pinprick sensation. The first clinical sign that usually develops in diabetic symmetrical sensorimotor polyneuropathy is decrease or loss of vibratory and pinprick sensation over the toes. As disease progresses, the level of decreased sensation may move upward into the legs and then from the hands into the arms, a pattern often referred to as "stocking and glove" sensory loss. Very severely affected patients may lose sensation in a "shield" distribution on the chest.


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