- Burning sensation in the feet is a condition when the feet become uncomfortably hot and painful.
- It mostly occurs due to an underlying disorder such as diabetes, hypothyroidism or kidney disorders or due to nerve damage either due to genetic reasons or any physical nerve damage.
- Burning feet can be treated by addressing the condition that is causing it such as diabetes or through medications as prescribed by a general physician
- Burning sensation in the feet is mainly diagnosed through physical examination, blood tests or scanning to find out the cause and extent of nerve damage
- While it may not be fully curable, it is a manageable condition and a good general physician, diabetologist or neurologist will provide you with the correct course of treatment.
- If you’re experiencing a burning sensation in the feet, you can get it checked by consulting a general physician on MFine right from the comfort of your home.
Burning sensation in feet is a symptom where the feet become uncomfortably hot and painful. Burning Sensation in Feet is a very common problem in people aged 50 years or more. It can also affect people of any age and requires a medical diagnosis, lab tests and imaging. It can be chronic in many cases too.
Burning sensation in the feet may become more intense at night but may be relieved during the day. This may be caused due to nerve damage in the legs which is also called neuropathy. Though many medical conditions may cause this disorder, diabetes remains the most common cause.
Chapter 1: What are the common causes of burning sensation in feet?
If you’re experiencing a burning pain in the feet, there are several causes which can contribute to this uncomfortable feeling. Here are some common causes of burning sensation in feet and what they actually mean:
1. Diabetic Neuropathy:
Diabetic Neuropathy is a nerve damage condition which occurs if you have diabetes. In most cases, it causes damage to the nerves in your legs and feet, which manifests as a sharp burning pain in the foot. A high blood sugar interferes with the transmission of signals from nerves, causing problems in your feet and other nerve endings. You may also experience pre-diabetic neuropathy which occurs before you are diagnosed with new-onset diabetes.
Neuropathy or nerve damage is limited not just to your feet but other parts of the body too. It can spread quite rapidly and should be checked regularly. If you’re having burning feet, it's a good idea to see a general physician to check for more severe forms of neuropathy.
You’re at a higher risk of diabetic neuropathy if you’re obese, smoke cigarettes and alcohol, have high blood pressure.
Nerve damage of the feet specifically is called Peripheral neuropathy. Common symptoms include
- Tingling in the feet
- Feeling of tightness in the feet
- Sharp jolts of pain
- Weakness in the legs
- Excess sweating
Burning sensation in the feet should not be ignored because it may indicate diabetes. If left undetected, diabetes can have serious health consequences.
You may also be referred to a neurologist for neuropathic pain.
2. Alcohol Abuse:
Drinking too much is never a good idea and alcoholic neuropathy or nerve damage induced by alcohol is just one more unpleasant consequence.
Nerve damage through alcohol abuse in many cases is irreversible, however, cutting down on drinking will certainly prevent it from getting much worse.
Here are some common symptoms:
- Burning sensation in feet and arms
- Bowel and urinary issues
- Headaches and dizziness
- Speech problems
3. Small Fiber Sensory Neuropathy:
Although the exact cause of Small Fiber Sensory Neuropathy is not known, it happens due to the loss of myelin sheath, an insulator and protective layer that covers nerves and protects them from damage. The most common symptom is a painful burning sensation in the feet and in some cases even loss of sensation and numbness.
4. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease:
CMT is a common nerve disease which is hereditary in nature. It’s quite common and is chronic, meaning it gets worse with time. If you have CMT, you will often experience sharp pain in your feet. It feels like being stung by needles. Muscle atrophy and clumsiness are other symptoms.
5. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
CRPS is nerve damage that mostly occurs after a surgery or an injury. It may also be genetic. It is characterised by burning pain in the foot, swelling and changes in skin colour.
Erythromelalgia, also known as Mitchell’s disease is a rare vascular disorder which occurs in the blood vessels of the limbs, resulting in extremely painful, red, hot burning feet. The onset is periodic and occurs commonly due to exercise, walking for long hours, standing a lot and even exposure to heat.
7. Nutrition deficiency:
A diet devoid of a balanced mix of nutrients can cause nerve damage resulting in burning sensation of the feet.
8. Kidney disease:
Diabetes and kidney diseases are closely related. When your kidney stops functioning properly either due to diabetes or any other reason, it can lead to nerve damage and burning feet. It also causes itching and swelling of the feet. Take a kidney function test on MFine to know more.
An underactive thyroid causes hormonal imbalance in your body. This can cause changes in your nervous system, leading to problems such as burning sensation in the feet. Weight gain, dry skin and fatigue are additional symptoms.
10. Infectious diseases and Athlete’s Foot:
Some common infectious diseases indicated by burning sensation in the foot include:
- Lyme’s disease
Athlete’s Foot is another infectious disease which causes itching, tingling and burning sensation in the feet, especially in between the toes. It should be looked at immediately.
These are some of the most common causes of burning sensation in feet. There are other less common causes as well, but either way, if you do experience burning feet, you must meet a general physician to get examined. You can easily do this by consulting with a general physician on MFine right from the comfort of your home!
Chapter 2: How can you diagnose burning sensation in feet?
As you now know, burning sensation in feet can be caused by several factors. Therefore, it's important to meet a general physician to figure out what exactly is causing this.
Your general physician will first conduct a physical examination to determine:
- Any structural issues in your legs and feet
- Infections (fungal)
- Red skin
- Numbness and loss of sensation
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and past injuries or accidents that may have caused nerve damage. They will also check for diabetes since it's the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. You may have to undergo a full-body test to check for blood sugar levels, thyroid levels and vitamin deficiencies. You may also have to take a kidney function test to determine if your kidneys are functioning properly or not. These are the most common diagnoses for burning sensation in feet. However, if there is some inexplicable underlying cause, here are some tests which can help doctors figure out why your feet burn:
- Electromyography (EMG) : To test muscle function by measuring the electrical impulses in your muscles. Your doctor may do this by inserting a needle or using a probe on your skin.
- Nerve conduction study: It tests how well your muscles are able to transmit impulses. Responses to nerve stimuli will be measured.
- Nerve biopsy : Is done only in extremely rare cases where all other methods have failed to reach a diagnosis
These are just some of the ways through which burning sensation in the feet is diagnosed. The next step of course if to get treatment.
With a range of expert general physicians at MFine, you have plenty of options to choose from. Just consult a general physician on MFine from home and get started on your treatment!
Chapter 3: What does burning sensation in feet treatment involve?
The treatment for burning sensation in the feet involves two approaches - Either treating the underlying cause or the symptoms. If an underlying cause such as diabetes or hypothyroidism causes burning feet, then providing treatment for these conditions will reduce the symptoms and the problem may eventually disappear too. However, if the cause is unknown, then your doctor will focus on preventing further damage and containing the damage done.
If you have diabetic neuropathy, keeping blood sugar levels low through a disciplined diet and exercise is absolutely crucial. Based on how severe it is, your diabetologist will decide the treatment ranging from lifestyle changes to medications to insulin administration.
Treatments for other conditions involve:
- Alcoholic neuropathy - Restricting alcohol consumption is of prime importance.
- Kidney disease - Kidney diseases can be quite serious and you may be required to undergo dialysis to eliminate toxins from the body. Your nephrologist is in the best position to decide on your treatment.
- Hypothyroidism - Simple tablets are taken every day on an empty stomach in the morning, depending on the dosage your doctor prescribes, will help supplement the body with deficient thyroid hormones and in minimising burning sensation in the feet
If you have any infection, you may have to do the following:
- Antifungal creams and products
- Changing shoes to more comfortable options
- Using insoles and other shoe modifying equipment
- Vitamin B supplements
For severe pain in the nerves, your doctor may recommend:
- Light therapy
- Laser therapy
- Magnetic therapy
- Electric nerve stimulation
Alternative non-allopathic treatments like acupuncture may possibly help too, although it is not prescribed as a cure.
To get treated for burning sensation in the feet, you can consult with a general physician on MFine and get medical attention immediately from the comfort of your homes.
Chapter 4: What are some home remedies for burning feet?
While these are not permanent solutions to burning feet, the home remedies for burning feet may help relieve pain temporarily.
- Massage your feet. Massages have incredible healing properties and help improve blood flow and reduce pain
- If you’re not diabetic, you can soak your feet in a bucket with Epsom salts. It helps relieve muscle soreness, muscle swelling and stress
- Include more turmeric in your diet or take turmeric supplements. Turmeric has amazing antifungal and antibacterial properties which help heal fungal infections
Burning sensation in the feet can range from mild to moderate to extremely severe, depending on underlying conditions and extent of nerve damage. In many cases, nerve damage cannot be reversed fully but it can be controlled through the right treatment.
Consult our expert general physicians at MFine to address burning sensation in the foot and get yourself treated on time!
FAQs on burning sensation in feet:
Can burning sensation in feet cause harm to the body?
Burning sensation in feet can be either mild or painful. If it's painful, it may indicate a high degree of nerve damage which can be quite harmful, leading to further complications like loss of sensation. However, through right treatment, it can be managed well.
Is the burning sensation in the feet curable?
Burning sensation in foot is not 100% curable but is completely manageable. Your general physician will diagnose for underlying conditions such as diabetes as well as recommend lifestyle changes, using foot creams or medication to manage this condition.
Can you prevent burning sensation in feet?
While it's not entirely possible to prevent burning feet, you can identify what triggers burning sensation and try minimising those activities. You can also mitigate this condition by taking medication for underlying causes such as hypothyroidism and diabetes. Reducing smoking and wearing the right footwear helps too.
How do I book an appointment with a general physician?
You just have to download the MFine app, or log onto MFine, search for a dermatologist near you and book an appointment by filling out your details. You can teleconsult with your general physician online on MFine and discuss your burning sensation in feet condition comfortably with him/her.
Is my information secure on the MFine app?
MFine takes your privacy very seriously. We provide the utmost confidentiality to all our patients. No information is exchanged between your doctor and anyone else.