What Causes Burning Pain in the Feet?

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Burning pain in the feet is generally caused by neuropathy from diabetes or alcohol abuse, but it can also be due to hypothyroidism, Lyme disease, chronic kidney disease, vitamin deficiency, erythromelalgia, vasculitis and Guillain-Barre syndrome, according to WebMD. Other causes include hypertension, edema, sarcoidosis and heavy metal poisoning.

Peripheral artery disease can also cause a burning sensation in the feet, as can inflammation and infection caused by athlete’s foot and fungal skin infections. Chemotherapy drugs used to treat HIV can also be responsible for burning pain in the feet, notes WebMD.

When neuropathy is the cause of burning feet, the nerves in the legs are usually the first to become damaged. This damage is due to nerve fibers that misfire and are overactive, which causes them to send erroneous pain signals to the brain indicating that an injury or wound has occurred, notes WebMD. Neuropathy can cause burning pain that ranges in intensity from mild to disabling. Treatment for neuropathy generally focuses on reducing pain and preventing additional damage.

Diagnosis of neuropathy is fairly simple in diabetics but may be more complicated in other patients, according to WebMD. In non-diabetics, nerve conduction studies, electromyography and lab tests may be ordered to determine the exact cause of burning in the feet.