Burning feet are frustrating – just ask a large number of our patients! They can make it difficult to get to sleep at night, concentrate on reading or other tasks, and alongside the burning can come pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
So why can your feet feel like they’re on fire? Today, our foot experts at Sole Motion Podiatry in Point Cook share the common causes we see of burning feet.
Your shoes and socks act as a second skin for your feet during the day, so it’s no surprise that they can irritate the skin and cause hot, burning feelings. This may be from rubbing against your feet creating red, warm patches or from trapping moisture inside the shoes and socks which can irritate and damage the skin. Try and avoid socks made of synthetic materials where possible.
Specifically, a Morton’s neuroma has popped up likely between the third and fourth, or the second and third metatarsals (long bones around your forefoot). This means that the lining around the nerve has become irritated and swollen. A good way to test this is to squeeze your feet from the sides (from the inside and outside of the foot, not from the top and bottom). If this produces notable pain, and perhaps some shooting sensations or any tingling, it could be a neuroma. Don’t worry – just book an appointment with our team.
Athlete’s foot is a leading cause of itchy, burning skin, especially at the soles of the feet and in-between the toes. You’ll be able to recognise Athlete’s foot by other signs like bubbly, blistery skin and redness, just like you can see here. Sometimes, it may be a bacterial infection that’s taken hold to produce similar symptoms – and sometimes it’s both.
Hint: Often, when bacteria is involved, you’ll also notice your feet are more pungent too.
Nerves run all throughout our bodies – from our spine, down our legs and into our feet. They go through numerous tunnels and in tight spaces, and can sometimes become trapped and compressed if something is reducing the space they have – like if you have some swelling in the area. This creates feelings of burning, tingling, numbness, pins and needles and more. We call these ‘neural’ symptoms.
Nerves are amazing things, and problems like sciatica or pinching in our lower back can quickly travel to other parts of the body, including our feet, to produce symptoms. If you suffer from lower back pain, it may be related.
Diabetes affects the nerves in our feet and legs – and the nerve damage and resulting neuropathy tend to worsen over time. Many people with diabetes will experience the array of neural symptoms we mentioned earlier, including burning. You may also experience the opposite – the complete absence of any feeling in the feet.
To better understand how diabetes affects your feet and nerves, click here.
Or any alcohol at any time of the year for that matter. Prolonged alcohol consumption can cause nerve damage, and hence the burning feelings.
When you’re on your feet at work, you’re engaging so many muscles and tissues step after step, with little rest. So at the end of a long shift or a day on the tools, you may get some minor swelling and tenderness in the feet, that bring with them feelings of warmth. We call this mechanical overload.
The good news here is that we can often help reduce the strain on your feet, and so help ease these feelings, using custom foot orthotics to better support your muscles and ligaments. We often find that tradies, nurses, retail workers and those that feel like they never slow down at work get significant relief.
Other causes of burning feet include:
The best way to manage burning feet is to have a proper diagnosis of the cause, and start addressing or managing the causes. Our podiatry team helps with a number of these causes including neuromas, nerve entrapments and compressions, mechanical overload, Athlete’s foot, shoe and sock problems, diabetes and more.
We’ve helped thousands of residents in the Point Cook community – and we’d love to help you too. Book your appointment online here or call us on 1300 FX FEET.