What Are Some Causes of Burning in the Legs?


Quick Answer

Burning pain in the thighs, meralgia paresthetica, is the result of excess pressure on nerves in the leg, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Burning legs or feet might also result from alcohol abuse or diabetes, says WebMD.

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Meralgia paresthetica occurs when trauma or swelling puts pressure on nerves in the leg, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The condition presents with pain along the outer thigh to the outer knee, typically in the form of a burning feeling. There may also be tingling or numbness. The pain is most often restricted to one leg and is sensitive to gentle, rather than firm, pressure. In some cases the pain spreads to the groin area. Injury, tight clothing and excess weight are common causes of meralgia paresthetica.

If a stressed nerve is not the cause, diabetes or alcoholism are two more common contributing factors to burning in the feet and legs, says WebMD. Burning that is restricted to the feet is often the result of a fungal infection like athlete's foot. Deficiencies, such as decreases in B-vitamins or thyroid hormones, sometimes present with burning sensations. Among the more serious potential causes of burning extremities are heavy metal toxicity, HIV or AIDS, Lyme disease, and kidney disease.

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