Why Are My Feet Hot: Causes and Treatments

Why Are My Feet Hot: Causes and Treatments

The most common cause of burning sensation in the feet is nerve damage, usually associated with diabetes, but there are other possible causes as well.
Burning in the feet can cause mild to severe pain, which can be either intermittent or constant. You might experience hot, tingling, prickly, or numb feet. Oftentimes, the pain is worse at night. The underlying cause will determine the best course of treatment for burning feet.
Keep reading to learn more about the causes of burning sensations in the feet and when you should seek help.

7 Causes of Hot Feet

Numerous conditions can cause burning feet. To get treated, you must identify the underlying cause. Some causes, such as a foot fungus like an athlete’s foot or shoes that are too tight, can be remedied easily. The cause may not always be known.

1. Diabetic Neuropathy

Years of uncontrolled high blood sugar can gradually damage your blood vessels and nerves. Low blood sugar slows down the nerves’ ability to transmit signals. Numerous body parts, including the feet, may experience altered sensations as a result. Additionally, high blood sugar weakens the walls of the blood vessels that feed and oxygenate the nerves.

Nerve damage can occur throughout your body. Your risk for neuropathy increases if you:

  • have obesity
  • have high blood pressure
  • smoke cigarettes
  • drink alcohol

There are various types of neuropathy, but peripheral neuropathy is the most prevalent and most likely to affect the feet and legs. About one-third to one-halfTrusted Source of people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy, according to Diabetes, kidney, and digestive diseases are all studied by the National Institute.

Your feet might start to burn if you have peripheral neuropathy. Less frequently, it can affect the arms and hands. Additional symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • a feeling like you’re wearing a tight sock
  • sharp, stabbing pains
  • weakness or heavy feeling in your legs or arms
  • excessive sweating

If you experience any neuropathy symptoms, it’s critical to visit your doctor. Controlling your blood sugar can stop or delay nerve damage.

2. Small Fiber Neuropathy

A painful neuropathy known as “small fiber neuropathy” frequently causes burning pain in the feet. Additionally, there might be short-lived pain and a loss of feeling in the feet. It happens as a result of the loss of the myelin sheath, which covers and shields nerve fibers.

More general symptoms can also occur, such as:

  • fatigue
  • problems with thinking and focusing
  • headache
  • bone and muscle pain

Risk factors include:

  • hereditary features
  • exposure to toxins, including alcohol and some vaccines
  • infections, such as Lyme disease, HIV, and hepatitis C
  • diseases involving the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • diabetes and other diseases relating to metabolism

3. Alcohol Use

Alcoholic neuropathy is a different type of nerve damage that is more common in heavy drinkers. It can cause pain, tingling, and weakness in the feet.

People may also notice:

  • muscle weakness
  • problems with gait
  • burning pain
  • hypersensitivity to pain

Treatment entails abstaining from alcohol use and maintaining a nutritious diet that includes plenty of B vitamins and other essential nutrients. These methods can lessen the severity of symptoms and, in some cases, even repair the harm.

Why Are My Feet Hot: Causes and Treatments

4. Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT)

A genetic neurological condition, CMT. It has an impact on the nerves that manage muscle movement. Because the illness is progressive, symptoms progressively get worse over time.

The hands and feet may become weak or paralyzed early on as a symptom. It’s possible that they’ll struggle to lift their foot or they’ll start to walk with high steps. Muscle atrophy, or mass loss in the muscles, could occur over time.

There can also be cramping pain, which can be mild to extremely painful.

CMT is named after the three doctors who first described it in 1886Trusted Source. Other names for it are peroneal muscular atrophy and hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy.

5. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) occurs in a limb, most commonly after an injury or surgery. The signaling from the brain and spine is affected due to nerve damage.

Symptoms include:

  • burning pain
  • tingling
  • hypersensitivity to a pain trigger
  • swelling
  • changes in skin color or texture

Over 90%Trusted Source of cases develop after a nerve injury or trauma. CRPS does not necessarily develop in every person who sustains an injury, though. This suggests genetic factors may also play a role.

6. Erythromelalgia

A relatively uncommon condition called erythromelalgia causes painful, hot, and red feet without having a known cause. Everybody has a different level of disease severity.

Pain can worsen after:

  • exercise
  • walking
  • standing
  • exposure to heat

7. Nutritional Deficiencies

Feet that feel like they are on fire can be brought on by a diet lacking in certain B vitamins.

A third of American POWs in the Pacific during World War II are thought to have had burning feet syndrome, which is brought on by malnutrition.

In today’s population, especially among older people, nerve damage may stem from deficiencies in:

  • vitamin B-12
  • vitamin B-6
  • vitamin B-9 (folate)

Burning feet and issues with muscle coordination can result from vitamin B deficiency.

Lack of vitamin B can also result in anemia, a deficiency in healthy red blood cells. Fatigue, lightheadedness, and breathing difficulties are some additional signs of vitamin deficiency anemia.


Utilize these strategies and remedies to keep your feet comfortable at night.

1. Vitamins and Supplements

Supplements may be able to help treat the underlying condition if you have hot feet, depending on the cause.

Some supplements known to help with nerve damage in the feet include:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid. The antioxidant in question could enhance nerve performance. On the other hand, it can have negative effects and isn’t always appropriate for diabetics.
  • Amino acids. In people with diabetes or who are undergoing chemotherapy, certain amino acid supplements, such as L-carnitine, may help ease the symptoms of nerve damage. These supplements, however, may have unwanted effects.
  • Roots and herbs. A root known as turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may ease nerve pain. Numbness, tingling, and weakness are some of the symptoms of nerve damage that may be helped by the herb evening primrose oil.
  • Vitamins. Taking a vitamin B or iron supplement may be helpful if your hot feet are the result of a nutritional deficiency.

Always talk with your doctor before taking a new supplement. Supplements may have negative side effects or interact negatively with any medications you’re taking.

Why Are My Feet Hot: Causes and Treatments

2. Medication

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen can help with mild to moderate hot feet.

Other medications that may help target conditions and symptoms associated with hot feet include:

  • antibiotics
  • anticonvulsants
  • antidepressants

3. Topical Creams and Ointments

Many topical creams are effective at reducing burning feet. Once more, it depends on what’s causing your symptoms.

Antifungal foot creams and other topical ointments may help with athlete’s foot symptoms.

There is also capsaicin cream. A substance found in hot peppers is present in it. According to a 2014 studyTrusted Source, capsaicin cream may help with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Although current research is lacking, a 2002 case reportTrusted Source suggests that patches and creams containing lidocaine could be helpful in the case of erythromelalgia.

4.. Nerve Stimulation Therapies

The symptoms of damaged nerves, such as tingling, burning, and pain, can be treated with nerve stimulation therapies.

Using electrodes to deliver a gentle electric current to the affected area is a common procedure known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

Other nerve stimulation therapies include:

  • magnetic field therapy
  • laser therapy
  • light therapy


Being awakened by hot feet at night is more than just an inconvenience. Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) is the most common cause of hot feet. Diabetes, alcoholism, and infection are just a few of the many potential causes of neuropathy. Treating the underlying cause of nerve damage can help relieve hot or burning feet. Other ways to keep your feet cool at night include freezing your socks, using a cold water bag or cold water bottle, and pointing a fan at your feet.

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