August 20, 2013

Burning feet painful neuropathy

‘Burning feet’ is a symptom that we podiatrists hear with great regularity. Often other terms are used in conjunction with this – ‘stabbing’, ‘shooting’, ‘pins and needles’ and so forth.

Anyone with some medical training will immediately recognise these symptoms as being suggestive of neurological pain.

One of the most common neurological disorders affecting feet is peripheral neuropathy. This is a broad term encompassing a range of disorders that can cause symptoms ranging from numbness (anaesthesia), through to altered sensation (paraesthesia), and pain (hyperaesthesia, allodynia).

When our patients complain of pain, rather than numbness, they are considered to have painful peripheral neuropathy.

In order to try and manage these symptoms, it is critical that we investigate why this problem is occurring. There are several common causes, including; vitamin B12 deficiency, uncontrolled diabetes, hypothyroidism, tarsal tunnel syndrome, referred spinal nerve root compression, and a long list of other possibilities.

When necessary, we will typically work with your GP and/or medical specialists to sort through the range of possible causes, and where possible try to address these first.

If the symptoms persist, then there are a range of treatment that can be useful. These range from topical treatments (eg capsciacin cream), through to strong medications such as pregabalin and gabapentin.


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