What is Burning Pain in the Feet?

Updated November 21, 2016

Some people describe it as comparable to walking on hot coals. Burning feet are no laughing matter. The sensation can range from uncomfortable to downright horrible. This sensation can be an indicator that you are suffering from a serious underlying illness.

It Could Mean Nothing Or It Could Mean ...

According to the Mayo Clinic, a burning sensation in your feet may simply indicate that your feet are worn out. It can also be the result of an infection or athlete's feet, which will cause your feet to burn and itch until you get treatment. However, burning feet can also be an indicator of neuropathic (nerve) damage or diabetes, which can cause nerve damage, or exposure to toxins. If an individual has diabetes, he can develop diabetic neuropathy, which means that damage has been done to the blood vessels and, as a consequence, these vessels do not get enough nourishment and oxygen, according to


If you have a blood disorder, such as thrombocytopenia or pernicious anaemia, this can result in burning feet. A rare circulatory disorder called erythromelalgia can also cause a burning sensation, according to


Trauma to the foot, including surgery, which is called complex regional pain syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy, can make your feet burn.

Morton's Neuroma

A condition called Morton's neuroma can cause burning pain. This condition is the result of an enlarged nerve in between your third and fourth toes, according to

Fungus, Vitamin Deficiencies, Dermatitis

A fungal injection can result in burning foot pain as can alcoholism and a vitamin deficiency, primarily a shortage of vitamin B. If the nerve at the inside of the ankle joint is compressed, which is considered nerve entrapment, this can cause burning pain as can contact dermatitis, which means that you are allergic to something that you've come into contact with, such as your socks or hosiery.


If a patient complains of horrible burning and aching of the feet that are painful to the touch (hyperesthesia), elevated temperature and extreme perspiration the individual may be suffering from Grierson-Gopalan syndrome.


According to Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR, burning foot pain may be caused by arthritis. Sometimes arthritic patients develop peripheral nerve entrapment or tarsal tunnel syndrome, which causes the burning. Wei notes that it may be possible that the drugs that arthritis sufferers take may contribute to the burning sensation, which generally gets worse at night and improves during the day.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.