A sensation of burning feet might occur due to a variety of medical conditions. Mostly, the chief culprit behind burning feet is neuropathy/ nerve damage arising due to one reason or the other. Let us have a look at the causes behind burning feet.
Causes behind Burning Feet:
As I said earlier, neuropathy might arise due to a lot of reasons. It might be due to any physical or mechanical damage, degeneration due to medical conditions like: uncontrolled Diabetes or substance abuse like in chronic alcoholics, vitamin deficiencies eg: Vitamin B12, leading to pernicious anemia or as a side effect of certain medications like: those used in carcinoma/ cancer treatment, Anti retroviral drugs used in treatment of HIV AIDS and for cure for Tuberculosis.
Below is a list of certain other commonly conditions that can directly or indirectly lead to neuropathy:
- Fluid overload or fluid retention in body due to chronic renal/ kidney disease or heart ailments
- Chronic high blood pressure or Hypertension
- lead, mercury or arsenic poisoning
- Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
Neuropathy leads to dysfunctional nerves which send out wrong signals to the brain to make the patient experience burning sensation and pain even in absence of any injury to feet. The patient might suffer from numbness, tingling, burning, excessive sensitivity to touch or frank pain in feet. This might vary in severity depending upon the extent of nerve damage.
Apart from neuropathy, compromised blood circulation in feet also known as angiopathy might be responsible for burning feet. This is also most often associated with Diabetes.
Fungal infection in feet is another factor responsible for burning feet. This is often called Athlete’s foot.
Treatments and Control of Symptoms of Burning Feet
The treatment of burning feet focuses on treating the underlying cause as well as providing symptomatic relief to the patient.
If the cause is suspected to be Diabetic neuropathy, then bringing the patient’s fasting and post prandal blood sugar levels under control through proper administration on oral hypoglycaemic and insulin, depending upon the case and type of diabetes remains the first line of treatment. Dietary modifications are also advocated to bring down the blood sugar. Before this, the patient might be asked to undergo several investigations like: Blood sugar examination, urine sugar examination and HbsAg.
- In case of Pernicious anaemia, Vitamin B12 supplementation is done through injections or given orally.
- Thyroid hormone investigations are done to supplement for TSH if needed.
- In case of chronic Renal diseases where the accumulated toxins are found to be responsible for burning feet, the toxins need to be eliminated.
- Stoppage of substance abuse is also necessary in alcoholics to prevent further progression of nerve damage.
- Patient might be put on certain medications that interact with nerves and neurotransmitters to normalize the sensations in feet.
- Pain killers belonging to NSAIDS or opioid family are often required too.
- Anti fungal medicals: for topical application as well as oral consumption might be administered, if the cause is found to be a fungal infection.
- You might be given Vitamin B3 supplements, too.
At Home Care/ Self Care For People Suffering From Burning Feet
- First and foremost, a patient suffering from abnormal sensation of burning feet needs to protect his feet all the time by wearing properly fitting shoes. Also, keeping your feet and shoes dry is of importance. Wear cotton docks as far as possible.
- Certain Herbal and plant based remedies like: Thyme and hawthorne and ginger etc are also trusted for treating burning feet.
Massage your feet. It helps in improving blood circulation and encouraging lymphatic drainage from feet. You may use ginger extract oil or warm olive oil / coconut for this purpose.
- Exercise your legs to improve blood circulation. Brisk walk and light jogging will do.
- Dip your feet in cool water to ease the discomfort.
- Consuming foods like: peas, beans, milk and yoghurt helps in quicker recovery.