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What causes burning feet and sweating?

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Posted on Mon, 18 May 2015
Question: Can you suggest what might cause my symptoms. For the last 25 years or so I have suffered from burning feet. The symptoms are almost always only evident when wearing shoes. Discomfort can occur within a few minutes, although sometimes I can have relative comfort for a few hours. The soles of my feet will get very hot and red, and will be accompanied by sweating. I am sure the sweating is a secondary symptom. I have managed to reduce this to a degree with iontophoresis. It's almost certainly not an allergic reaction as I have tried every possible combination of socks and shoes - and I sometimes suffer the symptoms when wearing open sandals. It seems to be worse in any kind of smart/dress shoes. It's not weather dependent. I live in a warm climate but the problem still occurs in cold weather. Tried botox, acupuncture, checked for vitamin deficiency etc over the years. Nothing has worked. My own feeling is that it may be nerve related. I've never consulted a podiatrist or neurologist.
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Answered by Dr. Karen Steinberg (43 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Sounds like a neuropathy

Detailed Answer:
Hi, XXXXXXX thank you for using Healthcare Magic. Your problem indeed sounds nerve related. Burning pain in the feet is often due to a neuropathy, an abnormality in the nerves. Neuropathy is often associated with diabetes, but there are many other causes of neuropathy. Some types may be inherited. The sweating, burning, and redness suggest an abnormality perhaps in the nerves locally that also control the opening and closing of small blood vessels. It's possible that pressure from shoes irritates the nerves and that is why it mainly occurs then.

A neurologist would be the person to see. They are familiar with the various types of neuropathy, and would be the best specialist to figure out the cause. You should know, however, that often the cause is never determined. If a specific cause is found, that is helpful because treatment could be directed to the underlying problem.

Since your symptoms have been going on for 25 years, and you have not mentioned diabetes or another illness, I suspect it's one of the "idiopathic" types, which means you just have it and no one can determine the cause. You still however should get checked and be sure. As you said, it does not appear to be an allergic reaction.

You don't mention what if you've been treated with prescription medicine such as Neurontin or amitriptyline. There are also some newer medicines for neuropathy that may be helpful. A neurologist would be familiar with specific treatments.

So I think your best option is to consult a neurologist, get this diagnosed, and see if there are other treatments that might help. Hope this answers your query. If you have further questions, I would be happy to answer them.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Karen Steinberg

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1981

Answered : 824 Questions

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What causes burning feet and sweating?

Brief Answer: Sounds like a neuropathy Detailed Answer: Hi, XXXXXXX thank you for using Healthcare Magic. Your problem indeed sounds nerve related. Burning pain in the feet is often due to a neuropathy, an abnormality in the nerves. Neuropathy is often associated with diabetes, but there are many other causes of neuropathy. Some types may be inherited. The sweating, burning, and redness suggest an abnormality perhaps in the nerves locally that also control the opening and closing of small blood vessels. It's possible that pressure from shoes irritates the nerves and that is why it mainly occurs then. A neurologist would be the person to see. They are familiar with the various types of neuropathy, and would be the best specialist to figure out the cause. You should know, however, that often the cause is never determined. If a specific cause is found, that is helpful because treatment could be directed to the underlying problem. Since your symptoms have been going on for 25 years, and you have not mentioned diabetes or another illness, I suspect it's one of the "idiopathic" types, which means you just have it and no one can determine the cause. You still however should get checked and be sure. As you said, it does not appear to be an allergic reaction. You don't mention what if you've been treated with prescription medicine such as Neurontin or amitriptyline. There are also some newer medicines for neuropathy that may be helpful. A neurologist would be familiar with specific treatments. So I think your best option is to consult a neurologist, get this diagnosed, and see if there are other treatments that might help. Hope this answers your query. If you have further questions, I would be happy to answer them.