Burning feet is known as erythromelalgia in medical terminology. It is actually a syndrome that may be caused due to a number of reasons. The causes of this condition can range from local and minor to serious issues. However, usually, the condition is treatable. Another name given to this syndrome is Grierson-Gopalan syndrome. The most common symptom of burning feet is burning sensation in the feet, which often occurs in the night. This condition often causes the person to stay awake all through the night.
Burning feet is basically a circulatory disorder. It causes sudden burning and reddening sensations in the feet of the individuals suffering from it. In some cases, the burning and pain can be intense, but in some patients it can resemble just a mild irritation. The mild irritation does not usually impair the quality of life. Feet burning at night is often seen in people over the age of 50, but it does not mean that it does not occur in people of younger age groups. It is more commonly seen in women as compared to men. In case of a severe manifestation of this problem, the feet can appear swollen and feel hot to touch. The burning is often limited to the sole of the feet, but in some cases it can also affect the lower legs and the ankles. In rare cases people also complain about pin and needles sensation in the lower extremities of the body.
What are the Causes
This is a common problem faced by people with diabetes, because of nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), which can develop as a result of diabetes. Another cause of burning sensation in feet at night, is mechanical overload. It is observed that feet aches and burns at the end of a long day, are often seen in people, who have been on their feet, all day long. It is also seen in overweight people, due to the weight of the body. People who have hot and sweaty feet, are known to suffer from itchy and burning feet at night. This cause can also be related to mechanical overload problem.
Deficiency of Vitamin B, especially thiamine, can cause feet burning at night. Blood disorders can also give rise to burning feet problem. The other common cause of burning feet is chronic alcoholism. Heavy metal poisoning can also give rise to this problem.
A trauma can be followed by reflex sympathetic dystrophy and cause hot burning feet especially at night. Localized burning sensation can also be due to fungal infections. In some cases, chemical substances present in shoes and socks also give rise to this problem. If a patient suffers from arthritis and develops tarsal tunnel syndrome or peripheral nerve entrapment, he is also likely to suffer from burning feet.
The first important step in treating this condition, is to wear open and comfortable shoes. The shoes should be the kinds that will lend good support to the arches of the feet. Using cotton socks proves to be helpful in treating this condition.
Soaking the feet in cold water for about 15 minutes will bring temporary relief from the burning sensation. At the same time, it is recommended to avoid the exposure of your feet to heat, as it can aggravate the problem.
If the burning feet are caused by a deficiency of vitamins, then inclusion of vitamin supplements in your diet can bring about relief from the problem. If burning feet are caused due to mechanical overload problem, good fitting shoes with good support for the feet, will help in eliminating the problem. At the same time, standing for a prolonged period should be avoided. There are some cooling ointments, that are available, which can help to reduce the burning sensation temporarily.
In case you notice that your burning feet, has become a chronic problem, you will have to seek advice from your health care professional. To eliminate the pain caused due to the chronic problem, the health care professional may prescribe some painkillers to reduce the pain.