Warm and Burning Feeling in the Foot

You may experience warm or burning feeling in the foot due to many reasons. It is possible to resolve the issue only if you know what causes it in the first place.

Burning or warm feeling in foot can be severe or mild, but it is always quite annoying. Sometimes, the burning sensation is so severe that you cannot sleep at night. It becomes even difficult to manage things when warm sensation in foot accompanies with pins and needles sensation or numbness. Instead of burning, some people feel tingling sensation in feet, which is usually the outcome of nerve damage in the legs. The treatment options usually help limit the damage done to your nerve to reduce pain.

What Causes Warm Feeling in Foot?

A number of conditions may produce symptoms such as tingling feet or warm sensation in foot. Here's more about some common causes of experiencing it in your feet.

1. Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy involves damaged nerve fibers that sometimes misfire and cause a burning sensation. You experience pain because your damaged nerves start sending pain signals to your brain. The leg nerves are the first to experience the damage in neuropathy, which leads to tingling in the feet as well. Sometimes, it leads to hyperesthesia characterized by severe feet sensitivity. The burning pain can be mild or even disabling. Common causes of neuropathy include diabetes, alcohol abuse, Lyme disease, drug side effects, Vitamin deficiency (vitamin B12 or vitamin B6) and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

2. Diabetes

Many people experience tingling sensation in feet due to neuropathy, and neuropathy is the outcome of diabetes in most cases. Diabetic people are more likely to develop peripheral arterial disease as well. It is also difficult for a diabetic to deal with infections. All this often leads to severe foot problems, including gangrene and amputation. Treating the diabetes is the way to treat warm feeling in the foot.

3. Poor Circulation

A blood clot or a circulator disturbance may also lead to burning feet. If you're experiencing warmth in your feet and you notice spider/varicose veins or reddish spots on your ankles, a blood clot is most likely the reason why you're experiencing heat in foot. Peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs.

4. Inflammation

Any type of infection or inflammation of the feet may also cause a tingling or burning sensation. Athlete's foot is the most common foot infection with burning sensation to feet.

5. Surgery

You may experience warm or buring feeling in foot several months after gastric bypass surgery. It usually happens because the body cannot absorb B vitamins properly after gastric bypass, which may cause neuropathy in the leg.

6. Restless Leg Syndrome

The burning sensation in your feet can sometimes be a symptom of restless leg syndrome in which you feel like moving your legs, especially at night.

7. Other Causes

In addition to these causes, there can be some others as well. You may experience it due to a chronic kidney disease, small fiber neuropathy, vitamin deficiency, and HIV AIDS. This could also be due to drug side effects, including vitamin B6 overdose, chemotherapy drugs, HIV medicines, amiodarone and more. Lead or metal poisoning, edema, and hypertension are some other common causes of warm feeling in your feet.

Learn more about causes of warm hands and feet from here.

What to Do for Warm Feeling in Foot

In order to fix the problem, you need to find its root cause first. You need to identify exactly what's causing burning sensation in your feet, and then you can determine the best treatment option.

Self-Care

Sometimes, you can correct the issue through self-care. For instance, in some situations, you will find relief by resting and elevating your feet. Changing your shoes may also help a bit – you may even consider soaking your feet in cool water for relief.

Consult a Doctor

It is also a good idea to schedule an office visit if you don't seem to find any relief after weeks of self-care. You should also consult your doctor if instead of getting better, the symptoms are becoming intense with time. If the burning sensation starts spreading up into your leg, this is another situation when you should consult your doctor immediately.

Your doctor will consider your situation and may even recommend certain tests to diagnose the problem. One of the major causes of burning feet is diabetes. It is quite easy to confirm if you have diabetes or not. Similarly, the diagnosis of neuropathy, which is another common cause of burning feet, is straightforward and simple.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Care

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden burning sensation in your feet after being exposed to some type of toxin. You should go to see your doctor immediately if you find an open wound on your foot and you have diabetes as well.

Tests and Diagnosis

Your doctor may ask for specific tests if the burning sensation is sudden and getting worse quickly. Some of the most common tests include the following:

  • Electromyography (EMG): The test involves placing a probe on the skin to record electrical activity inside your muscles.
  • Nerve Conduction Study: The test helps identify the ability of your nerves to transmit signals. It involves measuring the response of the nerve after stimulation.
  • Laboratory Tests: Your doctor may suggest tests of urine, blood, or spinal fluid to diagnose the cause of burning feet. This may also involve a simple blood test to check vitamin levels in your body.
  • Nerve Biopsy: When nothing else seems to work, some doctors recommend nerve biopsy. It is only in rare cases, and it involves cutting out a small piece of nerve tissue to examine it in detail and find the exact cause of warm feeling in foot. 

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