A burning sensation in the foot is referred to as paresthesias, and is often accompanied by a pins and needles feeling or numbness. Paresthesias can be caused by many different conditions or injuries, but is often associated with nerve damage. Circulatory issues may also cause a burning sensation in the foot. If a patient is experiencing these sensations in the foot, it is best to seek medical treatment to determine the cause and treatment before further complications develop.
Causes of Burning Sensation
People that are overweight often experience a burning sensation in the foot at the end of the day due to circulation being cut off from blood vessels and nerves in the feet. People that are not overweight may experience the same sensation after periods of intense or prolonged physical activity that puts pressure on one or both feet. Fungal infections or allergic reactions may cause a burning sensation in the foot, and should be explored if the burning sensation has begun shortly after wearing new clothing or using new soaps or detergents.
Other conditions and incidents that may cause a burning sensation in the feet include:
- Blood disorders
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Exposure to toxins
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Athlete’s foot
- Burns on the skin
- Intense cold
- Restless legs syndrome
If burning sensations in the foot are accompanied by other symptoms, it can be helpful in diagnosing the cause of the burning sensations. Burning that is accompanied by tingling and numbness may suggest nerve damage, nerve entrapment, or a pinched nerve. Signs of inflammation, such as redness, swelling, and skin that is hot to the touch may indicate infection or tissue irritation.
Diagnose Foot Conditions
Physicians will start out asking questions about footwear, daily activities, and the placement of the burning sensation being experienced in the foot or feet when attempting to formulate a diagnosis. After possible causes have been assessed, physicians will use diagnostic tests to assess the most likely causes of the burning sensation in the foot. Skin samples may be taken to diagnose or rule out skin conditions such as Athlete’s foot or eczema. Scan tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds may be used to detect or rule out bone injuries, nerve injuries, masses, or other visible causes of foot conditions. Blood tests may be taken to determine if the patient has a condition such as diabetes or gout that may be at the root of the burning sensation.
Treat Burning Sensation
Once the cause of the burning sensation in the foot has been determined, physicians can recommend a treatment method. Corrective shoes or supports can often help to relieve pressure and may be helpful for conditions caused by overuse or strain. Medication can be helpful to temporarily relieve the sensation and to treat underlying conditions which are causing burning sensations in the foot. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct bone abnormalities, tissue damage, or nerve damage that is causing a burning sensation in the foot.
“Foot Burning Sensation.” Right Diagnosis. HealthGrades, 07 May 2013. Web. 16 Mar 2014. <http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/sym/foot_burning_sensation.htm>.
Humphreys, William. “The Painful Red Foot—Inflammation or Ischaemia?.” NCBI. 318(7188).April (1999): 925-926. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115342/>.
“Restless Legs.” Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Feb 2014. Web. 16 Mar 2014. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/restlesslegs.html>.
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