Burning feet syndrome also is referred to as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome. The medical condition gets its name from the burning sensation on the soles of the feet. Individuals over age 50 are the most likely population affected, and various medical conditions may contribute to the possibility of developing this syndrome. Available treatment options depend on what prompted the burning feet syndrome.
There are many possible causes of burning feet syndrome. Overuse of the ankle, causing compression of the nerves running to the feet may lead to a burning sensation. Medical conditions associated with causing burning feet syndrome include hypothyroidism, vitamin B deficiency, liver failure and kidney damage. Other medical disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, may increase the chance of developing the condition.
Wearing poor-fitting shoes, fungal infection and obesity increase the likelihood of developing burning feet syndrome. Drinking alcohol over many years also increases the chance of developing the condition.
The most common symptom of burning feet syndrome is a burning sensation on the feet. It affects the soles of the feet most often, but the sensation also may occur in the ankles or the lower leg. Numbness and tingling in the legs and feet may occur. Redness on the soles of the feet and the soles feeling warm to the touch may become bothersome. The symptoms tend to worsen at night and improve during the day.
Taking an X-ray film and MRI scans helps the doctor determine the cause of the syndrome. Blood tests also may help find the cause, especially in cases when hypothyroidism, liver damage or kidney failure is the source of burning feet syndrome.
Treatment of burning feet syndrome varies depending on the reason for the condition. The first, and often easiest, treatment is to begin wearing socks and shoes that fit well and allow the feet to breathe. Resting and elevating the feet frequently helps relieve the tension on the ankles. If a fungus is present on the feet, antibiotics or foot creams may help clear the infection and stop the burning sensation. An avoidance of alcohol is necessary. Cool water baths help relieve discomfort.