Causes of Burning Feet and How to Treat Them

Causes, Prevention, and Treatment for Hot Feet

Cooling Feet on Ice
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Do your feet burn? Burning feet can have several different causes, from simple problems with socks and shoes to more serious medical concerns. People with burning feet are looking for ways to prevent and treat the problem.

Hot Shoes and Insoles Causing Burning Feet

You may simply be wearing shoes and insoles that don't breathe. Without air circulation around your feet, they can get hot and sweaty.

  • Choose mesh shoes instead of full leather shoes so there is more air circulation around your foot.
  • Some insoles can make feet feel hot, even in airy mesh shoes. Buy new insoles or swap them with insoles from another pair of shoes to see if they are the culprit.

Shoe Allergies

You may be having a shoe allergy, a sensitivity to the fabric, adhesives, dyes or leather tanning chemicals in your shoes.

  • Note whether your symptoms only happen when you wear a specific pair or shoes
  • Try different kinds and brands of shoes. The chemicals used in production are different for leather compared to fabric. Different brands use different production methods.
  • More: Shoe Allergies and Solutions

Hot Socks

Cotton is a natural fiber, but cotton is not good for walking socks as it holds sweat and keeps the foot wet. Use socks made of Cool-Max and other artificial fibers that wick sweat away from the feet and cool them down. While many people love wool socks, especially itch-free wool, try a different fiber if you are experiencing burning feet.

You could also be sensitive to fabric or dyes in socks, and to different laundry products.Try using a different laundry product.
More: What to Look for in Walking Socks

Athlete's Foot

With athlete's foot, the burning is limited to the area of the fungal infection. Usually, it will also be itchy, red, scaling, or cracking.

Good foot care is the key to battling athlete's foot. The fungus likes to grow in damp places, so change your shoes frequently to allow them to dry out between wearings. Wash and dry your feet after walking. There are various powders and remedies to treat athlete's foot.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Now we enter the scarier territory. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves, in this case, the nerves to your feet. Burning is one symptom of peripheral neuropathy, but it can also be a "pins and needles" sensation, numbness, tickling or tingling.

  • Exercise such as walking is good for peripheral neuropathy as it improves circulation to the feet. Massaging the feet also increases circulation.

Help for Burning Feet

  • After walking, immediately change out of your shoes and socks, allowing the shoes to dry.
  • Soak your feet in cool water - do not use ice.
  • Try pain relievers such as aspirin or acetaminophen.
  • Try changes in your shoes, socks, and insoles.
  • Rotate your shoes and socks, both between walking sessions and during the day.
  • See your doctor for a check-up and mention the problem as well as any tingling, numbness, etc. in hands or other areas.

Next: Don't Ignore Numb Toes


Athlete's foot. American Podiatric Medical Association.

Matthys E, Zahir A, Ehrlich A. "Shoe allergic contact dermatitis." Dermatitis. 2014 Jul-Aug;25(4):163-71. doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000049.

Peripheral Neuropathy. American Podiatric Medical Association.

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