Sometimes when you walk barefoot in certain shoes, the bottom of your feet can feel as if they are on fire. Friction and irritation can cause such a feeling for a while. When the sensation becomes a recurring or constant problem, however, and doesn’t seem to get better, it’s time to call in the foot fire brigade. Atlantic Foot and Ankle Associates can diagnose the cause of your burning feet and find the best way to bring you some relief.
No Hunk of Burning Love
Many conditions can make your feet burn in pain, but despite the old Elvis song, love isn’t one of them. Most often the discomfort is caused by neuropathy, a type of nerve damage most often associated with diabetes. This condition usually shows up first at the farthest reaches of your nervous system—your feet. Because the nerves are damaged, they send garbled signals to your brain. Your feet can feel as if they are hot and painful when there is basically nothing wrong. They can also feel numb or tingly, or not signal pain at all, even when there is an injury.
Other conditions can also cause neuropathy, including kidney disease, alcohol abuse, lack of Vitamin B12, drug side effects, diseases like Lyme and HIV/AIDs, and even high blood pressure. Then there are the conditions that don’t involve nerve damage but still cause burning feet, like athlete’s foot and peripheral artery disease.
Sleuthing Out the Cause
You will need help to determine what exactly is causing those hot, uncomfortable sensations in your feet. A simple finger prick may be able to tell us if you have diabetes, and then a neuropathy diagnosis is fairly easy. If the situation is more complex, many tests can help pinpoint the problem, such as an EMG, where probes measure the electrical activity in your muscles, or a nerve conduction study to measure their transmit capabilities. Lab tests of your blood or urine can look for vitamin levels and evidences of kidney or circulation problems.
If neuropathy is the cause, the treatment is aimed at stopping any further nerve damage. This means strict control of your blood sugar levels with dietary changes, medications, exercise, and possibly insulin injections. Vitamin supplementation can help with a deficiency, and cutting out alcohol can allow your nerves to heal again. Dialysis for kidney problems, and hormone therapy for low thyroid levels can also help reduce your symptoms. In addition, there are several medications that can be prescribed for neuropathy, others to treat athlete’s foot, and we may have you take over-the-counter pain relievers to address your pain.
Self-care for Burning Feet, and When to Get Help
You can try some home remedies for your painful feet. Try switching to shoes that are more comfortable and have sufficient cushioning under your sole. Take the weight off your feet and elevate them above your heart to reduce swelling. Try a cool-water foot bath to soothe them and soak away the discomfort.
If the pain continues, increases in intensity, or spreads to your legs, don’t wait to give Atlantic Foot and Ankle Associates a call. Reach our Daytona Beach office at (386) 274-3336, the Edgewater location at (386) 957-4818, our Orange City office at (386) 775-2281, Palm Coast at (386) 586-7373, and Port Orange at (386) 788-6333. Diabetic foot care is one of our specialties, and we can guide you in choosing the treatment methods that will work best for you.
Photo Credit: artur84