Foot burning sensation can be described as a hot and sensitive feeling in the feet. In most cases, it is centered around the foot areas only, but there are some rare cases wherein people experience it extending up to the ankles or calves. Research studies have found that women are more prone to this kind of burning sensation in the feet. It is more common in people who are above the age of 50. However, women in the age group of 25 to 45 can also get affected by this problem. When this condition becomes severe, then the foot starts stinging and may show up symptoms like pain, inflammation, and redness.
Some of the most commonly found causes are as follows:
Trauma: If the foot gets injured accidentally and results in a fracture of the toes, then, one can get a broken foot burning sensation. It can also happen due to a bad sprain, excessive stress on the foot due to overweight, vigorous running with ill-fitted shoes, and so on.
Nerve Problem: Neuroma is a condition wherein there is a tissue growth in the surroundings of a nerve in the foot, particularly in the area that lies in between the third and fourth toes. As the tissue irritates the nerve, it gives rise to a burning sensation on the balls of the foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is another cause of foot burning and pain and it is experienced when the nerves get compressed when it enters the foot from the ankle.
Athlete's Foot: This is a condition that arises when there is growth of a certain kind of fungi on the feet. It occurs mainly on warm and damp skin surface. Sportspersons wear shoes for a long period of time and they sweat a lot. As a result, they are at a higher risk of getting this kind of foot problem. The infected part becomes itchy and scaly and the stinging feeling can be felt in that area only.
Allergic Reaction: This can be the symptoms of allergy on the feet. Any type of allergy on the feet is caused mainly due to the shoes and socks that are being used. Some people are allergic towards the dye used in the shoe leather while others may get allergies either because of the fabric of the socks or the detergent used to wash the socks.
Diabetic Neuropathy: As the name suggests, this health problem is found in those who are diabetic only. Diabetic neuropathy occur when the nerves of the feet and legs get damaged and is caused by high levels of glucose in the blood. Other than the burning sensation, one can feel numbness and "pins and needles" sensation in the feet.
Other Causes: Circulatory problems like erythromelalgia affect the blood vessels and result in burning feeling of the feet. It is a symptom of many other underlying health problems like various forms of arthritis, kidney problems, liver problem, etc. In some people, this problem could be hereditary and in some others it may develop due to smoking, or alcoholism, or obesity.
When the condition is mild, then resting the foot in a raised position helps a lot. Even soaking the foot in cold water can soothe this condition. However, direct application of ice is not recommended. Foot burning, when accompanied by numbness and leg pain, requires immediate medical intervention. Diagnosis includes physical examination, study of medical history, laboratory tests such as X-ray, MRI, nerve conduction, and blood test. For fungal infection, antifungal ointments are prescribed.
Good foot care is also advised in this case which includes cleaning of the feet, frequent change of shoes, and use of cotton socks. If it is caused due to some serious disease, then the treatment of the disease will help to get rid of the problem. Those who are diabetic should do some exercises regularly to keep the problem in check. They can get some relief from the burning sensation by massaging the feet.
Do not delay the treatment when experiencing foot burning sensation for a long period of time, as it can have serious health consequences. Along with the treatment, one has to bring about some changes in their diet and lifestyle too. Eat plenty of fruits that are rich in vitamin C. Those who smoke should quit smoking. Intake of alcohol should be minimized. Try to give the feet rest as much as possible.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.