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Burning feet syndrome

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Burning feet syndrome, also known as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome, is a medical condition that causes severe burning and aching of the feet.

A burning sensation in your feet may be caused by nerve damage in the legs, also called neuropathy. Although many medical conditions can cause burning feet, diabetes is the most common. Most burning feet treatments focus on preventing further nerve damage and reducing pain

Causes of Burning Feet

Most often, neuropathy is the cause of burning feet. Damaged nerve fibers are more likely to become overactive and misfire. The damaged nerves send pain signals to the brain even though there is no wound.

In most people with neuropathy, the leg nerves become damaged first. These people often have tingling and numbness in the feet as well. Many people complain that their feet are overly sensitive to touch (hyperesthesia) and can have varying degrees of burning pain. It can range from mild to disabling.

Diabetes and alcohol abuse are by far the most common causes of neuropathy in the legs. Many other conditions can cause neuropathy or a burning sensation in the feet:

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Besides neuropathy, infections and inflammation of the feet can also cause a burning sensation. The most common of these is athlete’s foot, an infection of the skin caused by fungus.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) also commonly causes burning feet. The poor circulation of blood to the feet may frequently cause pain, tingling, and burning feet, especially while walking.

Weeks or months after gastric bypass surgery, some people experience a burning feet sensation. Poor absorption of B vitamins after gastric bypass can cause neuropathy in the legs and a sensation of burning feet.

Diagnosing Burning Feet

Most people who have burning feet have a likely cause (such as diabetes) that can be identified. For these people, the diagnosis of burning feet due to neuropathy is straightforward, and additional testing is not needed.

In a few people whose burning sensation is sudden, rapidly worsening, or has no explainable cause, further testing may be needed to make a correct diagnosis. These tests may include:

Treatments for Burning Feet

The most important treatment for burning feet due to neuropathy is to stop any ongoing nerve damage. In some cases treatment of the underlying disease will improve the neuropathy and symptoms. In other situations, like a small fiber neuropathy, where no cause can be identified, the physician will focus on treating the person’s symptoms.

For people with diabetic neuropathy, treatment means keeping blood sugar levels in the normal range. This usually requires dietary changes, oral medications, and often insulin injections.

For people with other forms of neuropathy that cause burning feet, preventing further nerve damage is equally important. Specific conditions and their treatments include:

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