Burning on the soles of your feet: causes and treatments
Burning sensation of the feet is a common complaint, as it is one of the major manifestations of diabetes mellitus. It may be associated with other symptoms such as ‘pins and needles’ feeling or even numbness. However, diabetes is not the only cause of burning on the soles of the feet and this hub looks at some of the other causes for this manifestation along with several treatment methods that should help relieve this pain.
Why do we feel burning on the soles of our feet?
The reason for such burning pain over the soles is the damage caused to its sensory nerves. The condition is often referred to as ‘neuropathy’ and diabetes is the main culprit in causing this disorder. The ultimate result of such damage is the sending of false pain signals to the brain even without a wound or even a scratch in the said location. According to health experts, the damage to such nerves will initially take place at the furthest end and therefore they may also feel tingling and numbness in the same region.
What other causes can lead to burning soles of the feet?
Any disorder, which can lead to nerve damage in the periphery, could potentially lead to burning soles of the feet. These causes may interrupt metabolism of certain chemical ingredients necessary for nerve conduction and maintenance, could cause accumulation of certain toxins that may damage the nerves, may interfere with the blood circulation of the said nerves…etc. Following is a list of some of these causes although there could be other reasons for the same manifestation.
- Inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis)
- Vitamin deficiency (Vitamin B12 or Vitamin B6)
- Alcohol abuse
- Inadequate thyroid hormone production (Hypothyroidism)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Lyme disease
- Poisoning with heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury
- Vitamin B6 overdose
- Drug side effects (e.g Chemotherapy, HIV medications, Isoniazid, Amiodarone…etc.)
- Amyloid polyneuropathy
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Local infections and inflammation (e.g Athlete’s foot)
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Wearing discomforting footwear
- Preventing the soles from getting ventilated for long periods
- Excess weight bearing on the feet
How can you reduce the burning sensation of the feet?
For the simplest of causes such as being overworked, dipping the feet on salt mixed warm water for few minutes and keeping the feet elevated should relieve the symptoms largely. In some instances, wearing properly fitting comfortable shoes should also alleviate most of the burning pain. Wearing socks, which provides enough ventilation to the feet, should also help. However, for moderate to severe forms of burning feet, this may not be much of a help.
Putting a halt to the ongoing nerve damage is a must for alleviating burning sensation of the feet and therefore a proper diagnosis of the condition should be done without a delay. Thus, if the cause is diabetes, it requires the person to control his or her blood sugar through medications, dietary restrictions and through exercises.
If the underlying cause if a vitamin deficiency such as Vitamin B12, it should be replenished either through oral supplements or through injections. In hypothyroidism, the person may have to be on thyroxin tablets for a longer period. In the case of alcoholism, there should be a gradual detoxification program while heavy metal accumulation may require antidotes in the initial management.
When the underlying cause is chronic kidney disease the management would include dialysis and sometimes kidney transplant if the condition worsens to give rise to other more life threatening complications.
What are the specific medications that can be used for burning feeling of the feet?
According to WebMd, following list of drugs are useful to treat burning feeling of the soles. This list includes,
- Gabapentin (Neurontin)
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Desipramine (Norpramin)
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- Pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Topiramate (Topamax)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
What are the usual pain relievers that could help alleviate a burning pain on the feet?
In most instances, the pain medications such as Advil, Tylenol and Motrin IB should be of help with the pain while stronger medications such as Tramadol may also be needed in unresponsive cases. The practitioners may also use opiates when the pain does not respond to other types of treatments and the patient suffers extensively due to the burning feeling.
What is the treatment of choice for athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is a condition, which is the result of a fungal infection. The moist and the warm environment between the toes could be a preferred habitat for the fungi. Thus, in order to relieve the burning sensation these patients have to get rid of the fungus and medications such as terbinafine, miconazole, naftifine, itraconazole and flucanozole should help when used for several weeks at a stretch.