Don’t blow off that burning in your feet. This can mean a life-threatening condition.

Don’t assume that feet don’t show symptoms of serious disease.

“Burning feeling in the feet can be an indication of neuropathy (nerve damage),” says Bob Thompson, certified pedorthist, executive director of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health (

A pedorthist is a medical professional who specializes in designing footwear and devices to alleviate foot pain.

“Since this is a serious condition, anyone who experiences a burning or tingling sensation in the feet should see a physician immediately,” continues Thompson.

“Neuropathy is most commonly associated with longstanding cases of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.”

Perhaps you’ve heard the term diabetes neuropathy, and maybe you’ve even seen print magazine ads for medications to alleviate the symptoms, which are often depicted as a burning pins and needles sensation.

Neuropathy, which as mentioned can cause a burning in the feet, has other causes besides diabetes.

These are, says Thompson, “nerve injuries (especially in the lower back), pressure on the spinal nerves from a herniated disc, lack of blood flow to the feet, often because of artery problems, multiple sclerosis, seizures, strokes or transient ischemic attacks, and a number of other systemic issues.”

If you’ve been experiencing burning in the feet that clearly doesn’t seem related to recent excessive activity such as trail running, an all-day hike, an extra strenuous step aerobics class, plyometric (jumping) drills or first-time inline skating, make an appointment to see a doctor.

“If the burning sensation is located between the toes or is accompanied by itching, it is likely due to athlete’s foot,” says Thompson.

“Feet may also burn as a result of alcoholism, Charcot Marie Tooth (a nerve disorder), or certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

“Burning in the feet is also often associated with certain chemotherapy drugs.”

bob thompsonRobert Thompson is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of preventive foot health and soft tissue injury prevention.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Africa Studio Foot Pain