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What are the causes of burning sensation in lower leg?

Updated July 19, 2017

To have a burning sensation in your legs can be quite debilitating. People often feel a partial numbness or a pins and needles type of sensation along with the burning. Symptoms can start out as a tingling feeling, then turn into numbness. According to Wrong Diagnosis, "any type of tingling, burning or numbness is usually a symptom related to a sensory nerve being damaged, diseased or injured."

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There are a multitude of causes for a burning sensation in your lower leg. Some of those causes are diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, sciatica, peripheral neuropathy, deep vein thrombosis, sunburn, chemical burn, leg injury and many more.


According to Wrong Diagnosis, diabetes is "a general term for a variety of different metabolic disorders that affect the ability of the body to process and use sugar properly." Many diabetics are afflicted with diabetic neuropathies, which affect the nerves of the body. It typically affects the legs and feet, but can affect the arms as well. Those afflicted with diabetic neuropathy will experience pain, numbness and a burning sensation.

Vitamin deficiencies

Vitamin B12 is important for proper functioning of the nervous system and brain. When a person's body is B12 deficient, the person will experience symptoms, such as diarrhoea, loss of appetite, dizziness and a tingling or burning sensation in the hands, feet and legs. According to Lab Tests Online, "a deficiency in B12 can also result in varying degrees of neuropathy, nerve damage that can cause tingling and numbness in the patient's hands and feet, and mental changes that range from confusion and irritability to severe dementia."


Sciatica occurs when there is an undue amount of pressure on the sciatic nerve. According to Wrong Diagnosis, the sciatic nerve is "the main nerve that branches off of the spinal cord and continues down into the thighs, legs, ankles and feet." Sciatica is characterised by a shooting pain that starts at the back of the buttocks and goes down the backs of the legs. A person can experience lower back pain, buttock pain, leg pain and thigh pain. Symptoms include a burning or tingling sensation down the leg; weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot; and a constant pain on one side of the buttock.

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which the peripheral nerves are damaged. According to Wrong Diagnosis, peripheral neuropathy can result from metabolic disorders, infections, malignancy, inflammation, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, among others. Symptoms include a burning sensation, numbness, tingling or a prickling sensation that can occur in the legs and feet.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is defined as a blood clot that forms deep within the vein in the leg. While this isn't cause for alarm, the problem arises when the blood clot breaks off and travels to the heart and the pulmonary system, causing a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms of DVT include a burning sensation, redness, warmth, tenderness and swelling. Causes of DVT include inactivity and immobility, smoking, trauma to the vein, polycythemia (increased amount of red blood cells) and cancer.

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About the Author

Jennifer Sobek has been a writer since 1993, working on collegiate and professional newspapers. Her writing has appeared in the "Copperas Cove Leader Press," "Fort Lewis Ranger," "Suburban Trends" and "The Shopper News," among others. Sobek has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Rowan University.

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