My Feet are on Fire! - Burning Feet Not so Entertaining

Could we call ‘Fire’ a classic funk song? A catchy tune, you would probably recognize it for its use in recent advertisements and the FOX series Hell’s Kitchen. This song was originally performed by the Ohio Players and then by many others. Whichever artists’ version you find most entertaining, a burning pain in your feet is not.  


There are many causes for burning sensations in your feet but generally it is due to irritation of specific branches of nerves.  Irritation of a nerve can result from many different causes. Two main causes are: 


o   Mechanical: Compression of a nerve can occur with specific foot structure or use of improperly fitting shoes. 

o   Metabolic: Changes to your body, such as those that occur with excessive alcohol use or diabetes, can also cause nerves to become damaged and act improperly.


The first cause is most often related to the type and size of the shoes you wear. Unfortunately, many women’s shoes push the toes together and leave nowhere for them to go when walking forces push the toes forward. This action squeezes the metatarsal heads (aka – the longer bones behind your toes) closer together pinching the nerves between them. These compressed nerves can often grow abnormally and form a ‘Morton’s Neuroma’. In addition to squeezing the foot, shoes with an increased heel can put undue pressure on the ball of your foot and irritate the nerves there. We understand that comfortable sneakers don’t work well with dresses and that you may love your heels. The best advice we can give is to decrease the height of your heels, go for the 2 inch as opposed to the 4 or 6. If you prefer the height, then try to shop for a platform heel for increased stability and distribution of pressures. By using heels sparingly you can avoid future foot pain.


The metabolic causes of burning sensation need to be addressed through lifestyle changes and medication. Regular visits with your podiatrist are a must to delay progression of these problems. You can find more information on our FAQ’s page or our library. At Austin Foot & Ankle, you can find a lot of information on taking proper care of your feet.


Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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