Burning feet: Causes and treatments?

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Burning feet: Causes and treatments?

Question

What causes a burning sensation in the feet?

Francis
Texas

Answer

Burning feet may be a temporary problem, such as due to athlete's foot or sensitivities to fabrics or leather dyes. But when this symptom occurs over a longer period, it can indicate a more serious disorder and should be evaluated by a doctor.

One such cause of chronic burning feet is sensory peripheral neuropathy. This results from damage to the nerves that transmit sensation from the arms, hands, legs and feet to the brain. Causes of sensory peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia (pernicious anemia)

Treatment of burning feet is directed at the underlying condition, if known. To help relieve discomfort, try these tips:

  • Wear socks made of cotton — which allows your feet to "breathe" — rather than synthetic fabrics.
  • Avoid standing for long periods.
  • Take a pain reliever when needed.
  • Bathe your feet in cool water.

Last Updated: 01/18/2007
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