Burning feet syndrome, alternatively referred to as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome, is a collection of symptoms in which the feet become excessively hot and painful. The burning feeling may intensify at night and subside during the day. The symptoms might be modest to severe. While the heat and pain may initially affect only the soles of the feet, they may spread to the tops of the feet, ankles, and even the lower legs.
Burning feet can occasionally be accompanied by symptoms such as “pins and needles” (paresthesia), numbness, redness, and edema. Generally, however, there are no visible indicators of hot feet. It may also be referred to as tingling feet or paresthesia.
Causes of Burning Feet
The most common cause of a burning sensation in the feet is nerve damage, which is frequently associated with diabetes. However, there are many probable causes.
Burning feet can cause intermittent or continuous discomfort that ranges from mild to severe. Your feet may feel hot, tingly, pins and needles, or numb. Often, the pain is worst at night.
1. Nutrient Deficiencies
Certain nutrients are required for the proper functioning of the nerves. Nerve injury and burning feet are both possible outcomes if the body is unable to absorb nutrients. Neuropathy can be exacerbated by a lack of folate, vitamin B6, or vitamin B-12.
2. Diabetic Neuropathy
This disorder is caused by nerve injury and occurs as a side effect of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Along with burning sensation, symptoms include arm, hand, leg, and foot discomfort, tingling, and numbness.
Pregnant women may suffer burning feet as a result of hormonal changes that raise the body temperature. Increased load on the feet as a result of natural weight gain and an increase in total body fluid may also contribute to pregnancy-related hot feet.
Menopause can result in hormonal changes, which can result in an increase in body temperature and hot feet. Menopause occurs in the majority of women between the ages of 45 and 55.
5. Fungal Infection
Between 15% and 25% of people develop athlete’s foot, a common fungal infection. Prompt treatment of this infection is critical since it has the potential to spread to other parts of the body and to other persons.
This condition alters the hormonal balance in the body. This can result in swelling, putting strain on your nerves. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include tiredness, weight gain, and dry skin, in addition to burning feet.
7. Exposure to Heavy Metals
When exposed to heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, or mercury, the feet and hands may experience a burning sensation. If these compounds accumulate in the body, they can reach hazardous levels, impairing nerve function.
Chemotherapy is a drug used to treat cancer. It works by destroying the body’s rapidly growing cells. However, it is possible for nerve injury to occur, resulting in burning and tingling feet and hands.
9. Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT)
This type of hereditary neuropathy can cause hot or tingly feet in some individuals. Affecting one person in every 2,500 CMT is one of the most often hereditary neurological illnesses in the United States.
This inflammatory disorder of the blood arteries can produce discomfort and tingling in the feet because blood cannot flow freely to the extremities. It may cause tissue damage.
Small clusters of inflammatory cells called granulomas form on the body during this inflammatory illness. If the skin or nerve is impacted, the feet may feel hot or burn.
12. Lifestyle factors
Inadequate footwear and prolonged standing or walking, particularly in hot weather, can result in hot or burning feet.
This uncommon condition can cause an excruciating searing sensation, elevated skin temperature, and visible redness (erythema) on the toes and soles of the feet. Additionally, the hands may be impacted.
The precise cause is unknown. Attacks may occur intermittently (flare-ups) and last several minutes to many days, or the scorching agony may be constant. Tenderness, swelling, and warmth may develop in the affected area.
Associated Symptoms of Burning Feet
The most common symptoms include:
- Sensations of heat or burning, often worsening at night
- Numbness in the feet or legs
- Sharp or stabbing pain
- Feeling of heaviness in the feet
- Dull ache in the feet
- Skin redness or excess warmth
- Prickling or tingling or a feeling of “pins and needles”
When To See The Doctor
Individuals who experience persistent burning feet, or whose burning feet are severe or accompanied by other symptoms, should consult a physician to determine the underlying reason.
Where nerve injury is the underlying cause, prompt therapy is required to halt the neuropathy’s progression.
Seek emergency medical treatment if:
- A hot or burning sensation in the feet comes on suddenly.
- Hot feet, or any other symptoms, arising from exposure to toxins.
- The burning sensation spreads up the legs.
- There is a loss of feeling in the toes or feet.
Treatment of Burning Feet
Treatment for burning feet depends on the underlying cause. These include:
- an antifungal prescription for athlete’s foot
- more comfortable shoes
- a corrective insert in your shoes
- vitamin B supplements
- thyroid supplements
If diabetes is involved, you may need to change your diet or medications. Your doctor may also prescribe drugs to help with nerve pain.
For severe nerve pain, nerve stimulation such as:
- electrical nerve stimulation
- magnetic therapy
- laser therapy
- light therapy