Burning/tingling feet are a common complaint in a podiatry office.  Patients rarely have any sense of why they are experiencing burning so I thought I would discuss, very quickly, the basic concept of burning feet because it can be caused by a myriad of problems:

  • Neuropathy – Injury to a nerve or loss of nerve function are common causes of burning and tingling in the feet.  Often, this type of nerve pain is experienced more at rest and with feet bare than when being active and wearing shoes.  Many patients begin to have difficulty falling asleep due to their nerve pain and this can impact their quality of living.  Proper assessment of nerve changes should be performed first and then there many treatment options to reduce the symptoms.  Topical creams, oral medications, padding of the foot and surgery are just a few of the more common.   Patient’s with a history of back problems, sciatica, diabetes and alcoholism often fall into this category.
  • Circulatory- Loss of arterial circulation in the legs often leads to burning in the feet.  Typically starting with burning while walking (intermittent claudication) patients will sit down and wait for the burning pain to pass and the return to their walk. This can progress to burning pain in the feet while trying to fall asleep (rest pain).  A vascular examination can quickly determine if arterial circulation is the cause of your burning and Dr. Sowell has invested in the SensiLase non-invasive vascular testing system to quickly determine if blood flow is the problem.
  • Nerve impingements- There are many anatomical situations in the foot where a nerve can get entrapped by the surrounding anatomy and begin to burn.  Typically these conditions are worse when walking and when wearing shoes but the effects of the injury done while working may be experienced when resting if the injury is progressed.  A thorough understanding of anatomy and how it functions (biomechanics) is required to properly treat any nerve entrapment or injury.

Burning in the feet is not normal and anyone experiencing this pain should seek help.  These conditions typically persist and progress.  Ignoring them will not help them resolve and the effects of treatment can be dramatic.  Consider calling Dr. Sowell for a consultation and hopefully he can help reduce your pain.

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