Most people don’t think much about how their feet feel. They might get a bit sore from running around all day, itchy from rough socks, or cold in chilly weather, but these sensations are understandable. It can be especially unnerving when your feet begin to feel something unusual and you can’t figure out why. Fortunately, Dr. Jeffery LaMour and our Austin podiatry practice are here to help you handle any and all concerns regarding your feet. Patients often ask us about a burning sensation in their feet. While it may seem to be a strange symptom, there are actually many potential causes for this condition. So, when your toes are tingling or your feet feel like they’re on fire, we can help. Read on to learn what it means if your feet burn.
The clearest symptom of burning feet is a warm sensation throughout any portion of the skin or muscles in your foot. This might feel very slight, as if you’re standing on a warm surface, or more extreme, as if your feet are in a flame. However, there are other, less obvious sensations that might come along with this, as well. For example, Mayo Clinic explains, “With certain conditions, burning feet may also be accompanied by a pins and needles sensation (paresthesia) or numbness, or both.” If your feet don’t feel warm, but they do prickle, sting, or lose sensation altogether, you may still be suffering from “burning feet.”
So, what is the source of this strange sensation? There are a few different reasons your feet might burn. These include:
- Exhaustion. Overusing your feet or putting too much pressure on them in a given day or week can cause swelling. As blood rushes to your feet, they might feel hot.
- Infection. If you contract a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection on the skin of your feet, your body might flow extra blood to the area, making it feel warm.
- Neuropathy. WebMD explains, “Damaged nerve fibers are more likely to become overactive and misfire. The damaged nerves send pain signals to the brain even though there is no wound.” In these cases, most of the time “the leg nerves become damaged first,” and then the tingling, numb, burning sensation spreads to the feet. In addition, many people with neuropathy “complain that their feet are overly sensitive to touch (hyperesthesia).” Neuropathy is a complicated condition, which in and of itself has many possible causes, including kidney disease, alcohol abuse, thyroid issues, Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS, heavy metal poisoning, drug side effects, and more.
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). WebMD notes, “The poor circulation of blood to the feet may frequently cause pain, tingling, and burning feet, especially while walking.”
- Gastric Bypass Surgery. It may sound odd that a gastrointestinal procedure could case a foot symptom, but this just goes to show how your feet are a part of and can reflect your overall health. According to WebMD, “poor absorption of B vitamins after gastric bypass can cause neuropathy in the legs and a sensation of burning feet.”
These are some of the most prevalent causes for burning feet, but this list is by no means comprehensive. If you suffer from burning feet, we urge you to see Dr. LaMour for a consultation, diagnosis, and customized treatment plan. This symptom may be temporary and even harmless, but it could be a sign of something more severe, so it is worth taking seriously.
Our Treatment Options
The remedies for burning feet are as varied as this condition’s potential causes. If foot fatigue is the source of this sensation, Dr. LaMour can help you find better-fitting shoes, or custom fit you for orthotics to provide outstanding support for feet. If the heat in your feet is a sign of athlete’s foot, we can provide appropriate topical medication prescriptions. If a more holistic circumstance such as neuropathy, PAD, or side effects from gastric bypass surgery is the reason for your burning feet, Dr. LaMour will refer you to a specialist who can help you treat the underlying condition, and work with you throughout your recovery to ensure your feet remain healthy.
Do Your Feet Burn?
This isn’t a symptom you should ignore! To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. LaMour, contact our Austin podiatry practice today.