What Is Burning Feet Syndrome?

15 Mar What Is Burning Feet Syndrome?

Feel the Burn: What Is Burning Feet Syndrome?

Do your feet feel like they’re on fire? If your feet often feel hot to the touch, it’s not just your imagination.

A condition called Grierson-Gopalan syndrome, also known as burning feet syndrome can make your feet feel uncomfortably hot and painful. The symptoms are usually worse at night. Although it normally affects the soles, the syndrome can spread to the top of your feet and your ankles.

Who Is Likely To Have This Condition?

Burning feet syndrome is common among elderly people, people with uncontrolled diabetes, and people who abuse alcohol. In a few cases, it can happen to otherwise healthy people. The symptoms usually start between the ages of 20 and 40.

What Are the Symptoms of Burning Feet Syndrome?

  • Feet feel hot to the touch, especially on the soles and sides.
  • Tingling or “pins and needles” sensation.
  • Occasional stabbing pain.
  • Pain and burning are worse at night.
  • Feet feel heavy and tired.


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What Causes Burning Feet Syndrome?

The primary cause is nerve damage. Many conditions can lead to nerve damage to the feet. Here are the most common causes.

Exposure to toxins or certain medications. Working with toxic chemicals or taking chemotherapy drugs can lead to nerve damage in the feet and other parts of the body.

Peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy is the progressive loss of sensation in your toes or fingers. It is one of the most potentially dangerous symptoms of diabetes.

Almost all people with diabetes have some degree of peripheral neuropathy, and it is worse in people with uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Peripheral neuropathy can occur in people who are malnourished or abuse alcohol. It can also accompany rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.

Morton’s neuroma. This condition causes a benign tumor on the top of the toes. It makes the middle toes very sensitive to pressure. Sufferers often complain that it feels like they have a stone inside their shoes. Morton’s neuroma is common in people who wear improperly fitting shoes or women who wear high heels. Over time, it can lead to nerve damage.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder. This inherited illness is also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN) or peroneal muscular atrophy. It is a neurological condition that causes muscle weakness, nerve damage, and loss of coordination in the fingers and toes.

Is It Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot also causes a burning sensation, but the symptoms aren’t quite the same. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection caused by a virus. The symptoms include intense itching, peeling, and flaking of the skin around the toes. You can use antifungal creams or powders to get rid of athlete’s foot.


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Get Help for Burning Foot Syndrome

If your feet always feel hot for no apparent reason, contact a podiatrist. You may have nerve damage or another condition that’s causing your symptoms.

Your doctor may use a nerve conduction study, electromyography or laboratory tests to make the diagnosis. Only foot care professional can give you the right diagnosis and prescribe a treatment.

Treatment for burning foot syndrome might include:

  • Prescription medications that affect the body’s neurotransmitters, including duloxetine (Cymbalta) or pregabalin (Lyrica).
  • Pain medications.
  • Topical creams containing capsaicin.
  • Footpads or custom orthotics.
  • Instructions for self-care.

Cool Your Heels at Shuman Podiatry

If an underlying illness is causing foot problems, it’s important to get the right diagnosis. At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we use advanced diagnostics and the most innovative treatments to keep your feet happy and healthy. If you have burning feet or any other foot problem, contact us.

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