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Complementary Medicine

What Are Some Causes and Solutions to Burning Feet?

08/29/2003

Question:

My wife has a burning sensation in both feet; occurs at random. She thinks it is related to lack of bowel movements or stress or both; she has had all the routine tests (remember this is both feet, same sensation, same time) no plantar warts, no diabetes, no nerve damage; she is 58; does not smoke and drinks wine 4-5 times week (one glass or so) feet feel hot and she describes the sensation as "about 1000 degrees hot." She tried beta blockers; she is afraid of acupuncture. Any thoughts? Ice on the feet only deadens the nerve endings for short time. Her feet are warm to the touch but definitely not "hot" or sweaty to the touch. Thanks again.

Answer:

Burning feet can be the result of nerve irritation that we call peripheral neuopathy. Conditions other than diabetes can cause this, and her physician may want to order an EMG with nerve conduction tests (if this has not already been done). Some B vitamin deficiencies can cause this, and I will often prescribe a B-complex first. If there is no answer from an EMG or relief from B-complex, she should probably see a neurologist.

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Response by:

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University