Sensory neuropathies and ataxia

Can anyone explain the difference and/or correlation? Much of the description seems to be one in the same. Minimal proprioceptive input or output? Either way, still cannot walk correctly. But what is correct anyhow. I'm glad to get up the stairs (actually down safely)....

I started with sensory neuropathy in my feet - couldn't feel them but could still walk normally. After five years with that the ataxia kicked in and the balance and coordination were gone. Now I must use a cane or on some days a walker.

That's how mine started, too! For a while, I was diagnosed with CMT because I have the foot deformities common with this disease. Then my balance became much worse, I began having difficulty swallowing, and nystagmus took away my driving license. My doctors still list me as CMT with SCA symptoms.

Our family hasn't had problems at all until this generation. I lost a cousin several years ago to ALS (pretty certain it wasn't). Three others since then, but there's a chance that some of them bailed out when the pain became severe, None lived past 62. I'm about to turn 59! Foot pain is severe and I'm beginning to have a bit of hand pain and incoordination. Everything else is about the same, but my ALS cousin experienced pretty sudden changes toward the end..Stuck with crutches or a walker with an electric wheelchair if I go out into a crowd.

So to answer your question after a lot of rambling, from my reading, I think they can be related, but they don't necessarily have to be.


Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body… There are input signals to the cerebellum and output signals from the cerebellum. “Three fiber bundles connect the cerebellum to the brain stem. On these tracts, information runs in both directions, with all messages sent and received by the cerebellum traveling on these fibers”.

My wife’s Neurologists always tickle her feet, touch fingers and measure her reflexes to measure the feeling signals to her brain, which are perfect. Then they measure her lack of muscle control in legs, arm, mouth, etc, etc,… Which are very very bad. Very similar to MS, ALS, Parkenson’s. Because Brain scans showed no shrinkage of cerebellum we decided to investigate immunologic reasons that could be causing inflammation and deadening the neurons controlling muscle control. Ends up that she has been suffering from lyme’s disease and is now on IV antibiotics and her symptoms are starting to reverse.

thanks for sharing .. really interesting reading.


I also have dealt with numb/painful toes, feet, fingers etc for years. Recently I started taking sublingual B12 1000 mcg. it’s made a significance difference although I wasn’t taking it for that. Just a nice benefit!

From my experience peripheral neuropathy is part of the ataxia experience. I was tested and diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and I know at first hand the realization of seeing your hands and feet and knowing that there is no feeling in them is just another sign of the progression of this disease. I wake up most days with no feelings in my hands and feet. I use a cane and walker at times, but for the most, when I am in a positive place in my mind I walk around the house the best that I can without holding one. I hate the times of depression, the times of tremor in my hands showing that I can't write like I used too. But I try to exercise and maintain the positive, there are so many in worse situations in dealing with ataxia of any degree.