What Is Diabetic Nerve Pain?

Diabetic nerve pain, or diabetic neuropathy, is a type of nerve disorder associated with diabetes, according to WebMD. The condition is characterized by numbness and pain in the legs, feet and hands. The nerve damage caused by neuropathy can lead to problems with several internal organs, including the sexual organs and heart as well as the digestive tract.

Other symptoms of diabetic nerve pain, according to Mayo Clinic, include numbness and reduced capacity to feel changes in temperature or pain, particularly in the toes and feet; burning and tingling feelings; jabbing, sharp pain that is worsened at night; sensitivity to even the lightest touch; and pain during walking. Muscle weakness and serious problems of the feet, including deformities, infections, ulcers and pain in the bones and joints can also be symptomatic of diabetic neuropathy.

When diabetic nerve damage moves into the nerves in the legs, buttocks, hips and thighs, it is known as diabetic amyotrophy, according to Mayo Clinic. This type of neuropathy usually comes with symptoms that only affect one side of the body, but that's not always the case. Symptoms include abdominal swelling, atrophied and weak thigh muscles and severe pain in the thighs, hips and buttocks.

Diabetic neuropathy is found in at least 60 percent of patients with diabetes, although in some of those cases, the patient remains asymptomatic, as cited by WebMD. The condition is more prevalent in smokers and diabetics who have had difficulty controlling their levels of blood glucose.