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What to do for tingling burning hands & feet?

Updated April 17, 2017

Tingling and burning in the hands and feet have several possible causes. If the paresthesia, or abnormal sensation, is on both sides of the body and is not relieved by rest or over-the-counter pain medications, you may want to consult a specialist. This article focuses on a few of the conditions known to cause painful, tingling and burning sensations, but there are others. Seek advice from a qualified physician any time you have a medical problem.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome results from narrowing, or stenosis, of the carpal tunnel, which encloses the median nerve, ligaments and tendons leading to the hand. People who do repetitive work with their hands are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes tingling in the blue area of the hand as pictured here and can cause radiating pain to the inner forearm. If you're experiencing this type of tingling pain in your hands, and stretching exercises don't help any more, your doctor may prescribe prednisone or lidocaine. If this is not enough, you may want to consider carpal tunnel release surgery.

Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetic Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, literally nerve disease of the extremities, usually starts with burning, tingling pain in the feet and progresses up the legs. This pain can result from traumatic injury, compression of the spinal cord, uncontrolled diabetes or other factors. If you have already seen a doctor for one of these conditions, she needs to know if you're having burning or tingling of the extremities. Get a second opinion regarding any proposed surgical treatment.

If you suspect you're diabetic and you're experiencing tingling or numbness in your feet, you need a haemoglobin A1C test. This is a test to measure your blood sugar level over a period of time; nowadays, the diagnosis of diabetes is not made on the basis of only one or two elevated blood sugar readings. If you do in fact have diabetes, you will be given medications to control your blood sugar, but if it has been uncontrolled for some time, you will likely be prescribed gabapentin specifically for the neuropathy. In the meantime, don't eat refined sugar at all, and use artificial sweeteners sparingly. Splenda is an excellent artificial sweetener for use by diabetics. It starts out as sugar and is converted in the manufacturing process, effectively removing the calories and carbohydrates.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Dearborn is a former medical transcriptionist who now publishes websites and books. She writes mostly nonfiction and computer code but has been known to write flash fiction from time to time. She lives in Buffalo, New York and enjoys traveling, reading, cooking and gardening.