Intense burning pain in the feet or hands, severe redness and elevated skin temperature are the most common symptoms of erythromelalgia, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. An individual may have symptoms in the extremities of one or both sides of her body. Exposure to heat or exercise can trigger symptoms. Consuming spicy foods or alcohol or wearing tight shoes or gloves can also cause a flare that restricts daily activities, adds Genetics Home Reference.
An individual with erythromelalgia usually experiences her first symptoms in childhood, although in less severe cases, the condition may not affect an individual until adulthood, reports Genetics Home Reference. Mild symptoms may remain stable for decades or progress gradually over time. In acute cases, symptoms can begin suddenly and spread quickly, causing severe disability in a matter of weeks, notes the National Organization for Rare Disorders. In some individuals, erythromelalgia may spread from the hands and feet into the arms and legs or move into the face and ears.
While the specific cause of erythromelalgia is not known as of 2015, experts believe problems in the constriction and dilation of the blood vessels that interfere with the flow of blood to the extremities cause it, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Erythromelalgia may exist as an independent disorder or as the result of another underlying condition. Some cases have a genetic component, while other individuals with erythromelalgia have no family history of the rare disorder, states Genetics Home Reference.