Burning feet is a burning sensation on the feet caused by nerve damage resulting from high diabetes levels.
Although it can be caused by other underlying health conditions and determining the cause is crucial to decide a treatment route for the condition.
Causes Of Burning Feet
There is pain in the feet along with the burning sensation, which can be continuous or interrupted depending on the severity of the condition.
Individuals suffering from burning feet can feel a variety of sensations, including prickling, tingling, or warmth. The discomfort usually intensifies at night.
Causes that can instigate a condition of burning feet.
High levels of blood glucose that have gone untreated for years can severely damage the nerves which can give rise to this condition.
Elevated blood sugar level reduces the efficiency of signal transmission among the nerves which can affect the sensation at different parts of the body, including the feet.
High levels of sugar in the blood can also impair the walls of the blood vessel that carries the blood and the vital nutrients for important metabolic functions.
An estimated 60-70% of diabetic patients suffer from nerve damage in one part of the body or the other, as stated by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.
Certain factors make a person more susceptible to nerve diseases, including obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and alcoholism.
Such nerve damage is referred to as diabetic neuropathy. For damages in the nerves of legs and feet, the term is peripheral neuropathy, and it is the most prevalent form of diabetic neuropathy.
Although less observed, in some cases the peripheral neuropathy can damage the nerve in the arms a well.
Some symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness in hands and feet, a feeling of wearing tight clothing in the arm, sharp pain, weakness, and heaviness in the arm and legs along with heavy perspiration.
If a person notices any of the signs of peripheral or diabetic neuropathy, it is advised to seek medical attention without any delay.
Small fiber sensory neuropathy is a condition characterized by loss of any feelings in the feet and sudden surges of sharp pain. It is caused by myelin sheath damage, the protective layer that shields the nerve fibers from any external damage or injury.
Although no evidence has been found, diabetes can be a contributory factor in the condition.
Heavy alcoholism is another factor that can increase the chances of developing the condition. Nerve damage caused by heavy alcohol consumption is known as alcoholic neuropathy.
Besides burning sensation in the feet, some other symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy include dizziness, impaired speech, spasm, weakness in muscles, degeneration of muscle function, and dysfunction in urinary and bowel movement.
Although most of the nerve damage cannot be repaired, quitting alcohol consumption can improve the symptoms.
Some other causes of burning feet include but are not restricted to kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, athlete’s foot, hypothyroidism, and vitamin deficiencies.
Diagnosis of burning feet:
Burning feet can be diagnosed by a doctor following certain assessments including, inspecting for any structural deformity of legs and feet, paleness or redness of the skin, presence of any fungal infection, loss of feelings, sensation, or reflexes.
A detailed account of previous medical history, ongoing medications, and the frequency of the symptoms are then noted.
Blood tests for diabetes, kidney function, thyroid hormones, HIV, vitamin deficiency, and other infections are carried out.
The doctor may prescribe some imaging tests, check for improper shoe size and enquire about any probable injury in the past.
Available treatment for burning feet
The cause behind the progression of burning feet determines the treatment option that will be adopted.
Burning feet usually have simple treatment options like wearing a comfortable shoe with a corrective insert, taking vitamin B and thyroid supplements, taking antifungal medication if it is caused by an athlete’s foot.
In case the condition is a result of diabetes level, then modifications in diet along with prescribed medicine helps in easing out the condition.
Although research is going on to devise more efficient pain therapies, at the moment, severe pain can be managed by magnetic therapy, laser therapy, light therapy, and electric nerve stimulation.
Few home remedies like taking cold water or ice bath for few minutes and taking turmeric supplements can help to manage the condition.
Dipping the feet in apple cider vinegar or Epsom salt for some time, but diabetic people should seek doctor’s advice before trying it.
Lidocaine or capsaicin-containing topical cream is an efficient solution along with foot massage that can provide momentary relief from the burning relief and the discomfort.