Burning feet – causes, symptoms and other risk factors

Burning feet

Burning feet is a condition when you are feeling that your feet are hot and painful. This condition can be found in two levels, mild or severe. There are some cases when people who are suffering from burning feet cannot sleep all night because their feet are painful a lot. In some cases this condition is accomplished with numbness, needles sensation and pins. Also this condition can be referred as parasthesia or tingling feet. This sensation is caused by nerve damage in your legs which is also known as neuropathy. It is very common condition and people from all ages can be affected from this disease. Burning feet in some cases can be chronic condition and in other cases it can pass by its own. In most cases this condition is a not reason for which you should be worried. But if the pain is not going away, then you must visit your doctor because in some cases there can be underlying condition. In the most cases the burning feet treatments are focused in the prevention of the further nerve damage and also to reduce the pain. When your nerves are damaged, then they are becoming misfire and overactive. These kinds of nerves are sending pain signal to your brain even you are not having injury or wound. When burning feet is affecting someone, then their feet are the first thing which is damaged. When people are having this condition, then they are feeling too sensitive. They cannot touch their feet to something. Those patients are also feeling numbness and tingling in their feet. Also those people are feeling pain. This pain can be mild pain or it can be disabling pain.

Causes of burning feet

This condition can happen infrequently or in some cases such as in athlete’s foot they are happening for short time because they have irritation or pain. But if your pain is not going away and you are having persistent pain, then this condition can be result from HIV, chronic alcohol use, exposure to certain toxins, symptom of nerve damage (such as peripheral neuropathy), certain B vitamin deficiencies or diabetes. In the most studies which have been done about this medical condition, the result was clear. Alcohol abuse and diabetes are taking the first place as the leading factor for the burning feet. But not also the neuropathy is cause for the burning feet but also inflammation and infections are reasons which are leading to burning feet.

In this part of the causes of burning feet the most common condition is the athlete’s foot. This skin infection is caused by the fungus. Also there is other common cause for this condition which is known as Peripheral artery disease. If this is a condition for the burning feet, then people are having poor blood flow in their feet. This is causing burning feet, pain and tingling while these people are walking. If someone has gastric bypass surgery, then they are also feeling pain and burning feet. This is a possible because they are having poor deficiency of B Vitamins after they have made this operation. Here are the causes of this condition:

  • HIV/AIDS [1]
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Chemotherapy [2]
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Lyme disease [3]
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Vitamin deficiency anemia [4]
  • Charcot – Marie – Tooth disease (this is a group of heredity disorders which are affecting the nerves in your legs and arms)
  • Chronic kidney disease [5]
  • Small fiber neuropathy
  • Diabetic neuropathy (this is nerve damage which is associated with diabetes) [6]
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (chronic pain due to a dysfunctional nervous system)
  • Vitamin deficiency (in the most cases is the Vitamin B12 deficiency and in some cases it is Vitamin B6 deficiency)
  • Amyloid polyneuropathy
  • Erythromelagia [7]
  • Hypertension [7]
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Edema or also known as fluid retention
  • Drug side effects such as metformin, HIV medicines, Vitamin VB6 oberdose, chemotherapy drugs, isoniniazid and other similar drugs
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Burning feet

If you are feeling some of these symptoms, then you should talk with your doctor about the condition of your feet. It is always better to go on doctor because you will know the right diagnose for the grade of your condition (in this case the grade of your burning feet). Your doctor will make tests to be sure in which level is your condition. When you start to feel these symptoms of burning feet, you must visit your doctor.


[1] Anastasi JK, Capili B, Chang M. HIV peripheral neuropathy and foot care management: a review of assessment and relevant guidelines. American Journal of Nursing. 2013;113(12):34-40.

[2] Palomo-Lopez P, Rodríguez-Sanz D, Becerro-de-Bengoa-Vallejo R, et al. Clinical aspects of foot health and their influence on quality of life among breast cancer survivors: a case–control study. Cancer Management and Research. 2017;9:545–51.

[3] Farrar MA, Lee MJ, Howells J, et al. Burning pain: axonal dysfunction in erythromelalgia. Pain. 2017;158(5):900–11.

[4] Boodman SG. His anemia was followed by searing foot pain. Seventeen years later, in precarious shape, a stellar athlete learned what was wrong. The Washington Post. 2020. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com

[5] Arnold R, Issar T, Krishnan AV, Pussell BA. Neurological complications in chronic kidney disease. JRSM Cardiovascular Disease. 2016;5:2048004016677687.

[6] Colloca L, Ludman T, Bouhassira D, et al. Neuropathic pain. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. 2017;3:17002.

[7] Drenth JPH, Michiels JJ, Ozsoylu S, Erythermalgia Multidiscriplinary Study Group. Acute secondary erythermalgia and hypertension in children. European Journal of Pediatrics. 1995;154:882-5.


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