The other name of burning feet syndrome is Grierson-Gopalan syndrome. In this condition, a painful burning sensation is felt in the soles of the feet. The pain could be accompanied by some more discomforting symptoms like tingling, numbness, redness and swelling. Sometimes, the soles are warm to the touch. The severity of these symptoms often vary from mild to severe. Those who are suffering from severe burning feet syndrome often describe the feeling as their foot is on fire. It is more commonly found in adults who are in the age group of 50 years and above. A typical characteristic of this syndrome is that its symptoms are more severe at night. Some people complain that they get it only at night.
What Causes Burning Feet Syndrome?
Burning feet syndrome often results from a number of underlying medical conditions. The causes can be as varied as nerve damage, internal organ damage to nutritional deficiency. Besides, a few external factors can trigger this problem too. Some of the major causes are listed below:
- Fungal infection on feet also known as athlete's foot as sportsmen are more prone to it. The fungi responsible for causing this infection grow well in dark and damp environment that prevails inside the shoes.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome caused when the tibial nerve that runs from the leg to the foot gets entrapped at the back of the foot.
- Deficiency of niacin or vitamin B3. It develops over a period of time due to lack of vitamin rich foods in the daily diet.
- Diabetic patients are highly susceptible to burning feet syndrome. This is because an uncontrolled blood sugar level causes extensive damage to the nerves located in the feet.
- People with other medical disorders such as hypothyroidism, liver failure, kidney damage, rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of getting this syndrome.
- Those who are undergoing chemotherapy experience this problem quite often.
- Excessive intake of alcohol over a prolonged period of time.
- Some people experience a burning sensation when they wear shoes for long hours. It happens due to wearing of shoes and socks that do not provide adequate ventilation to the feet.
- Nerve inflammation in feet caused due to wearing of ill fitted shoes.
- An allergic reaction on the feet due to exposure to the dyes, chemicals or materials used in shoes or shocks.
- Obesity, as excessive body weight puts too much of pressure on the feet.
Medical reasons for the occurrence of this syndrome are diagnosed with the help of an x-ray, MRI scan and blood tests. Then the treatment is based upon that particular underlying cause. A diabetic patient is advised to control his glucose level in the blood with medicines and a diet. Fungal infection on the foot is treated with topical antifungal creams. Deficiency of vitamin B-complex is countered with the help of a suitable dose of vitamin supplements. These patients are also advised to eat fresh leafy vegetables, whole grain, milk, yogurts, egg yolk, etc. which are rich sources of niacin.
Adequate amount of rest should be given to the feet to reduce nerve inflammation. A burning pain in the feet can be controlled with pain relieving medicines. A good foot massage can bring about marked improvement in the condition. When it is simply a case of tired feet, then resting the foot in an elevated position and soaking the foot in a solution of cold water and apple cider vinegar will ease off the tension from the feet. Use of well-fitted leather shoes and cotton socks is highly recommended as it allows the feet to breathe easily.
If you have burning feet once in a while simply because the feet are tired, then resting the feet and a cold foot bath is enough to give you relief. It is also important that you change your shoes and socks more frequently. However, despite all these measures, if it persists, then seek medical help without any delay.