The key word is “both” feet. Unfortunately, your fear of diabetes or a spinal tumor as the cause of burning and tingling is realistic.
But most causes of this symptom pair are certainly not from a tumor
Unexplained burning and tingling in either one or both feet that persists needs to be examined by a foot specialist (podiatrist) or your primary care physician, even though ultimately, the cause may warrant a referral to a different specialist (e.g., a diabetes professional).
A sensation of tingling or numbness that arises in both feet at about the same time may be simply due to a new pair of ill-fitting shoes.
If one foot is larger than the other, the new shoes of the same size can cause tingling in the larger foot.
Tingling PLUS Burning in Both Feet Has Several Possible Causes – Including that Tumor You Might Be Panicking About
Yes, it could be diabetes.
“Tingling and burning in both feet can be a sign of diabetic neuropathy (specifically, diabetic peripheral neuropathy),” says Bruce Pinker, DPM, who specializes in sports medicine, disease and surgery of the foot and ankle.
“We see this often. Numbness is often associated with it. It can be due to increased blood sugar levels.
“Sugar converts to sorbitol which attaches to nerves and can reduce nerve conduction, leading to tingling and burning.”
A blood test can determine if you have diabetes. Many people with diabetes do not know they have this disease, even though they’ve been having symptoms for a while (e.g., unexplained weight loss, increased hunger, fatigue, thirstier than usual, increased urine output).
Though type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to unhealthy lifestyle choices and obesity, keep in mind that type 1 diabetes can strike lean athletes.
“It may also be due to a nutritional deficit, such as vitamin B deficiency,” says Dr. Pinker. “In some cases, vitamin B supplementation can help resolve the condition.”
Dr. Pinker explains, “In other cases, compression on nerves in the lower back (lumbar and sacral regions) can lead to radiculopathy which can cause sciatica — pain in the lower back that translates down into the legs and feet.
“A spinal tumor can cause this, as well as herniated discs.”
An MRI can easily unveil a tumor, herniated discs or the so-called pinched nerve.
Though the problem is located at or near the spine, this doesn’t mean that the symptoms can’t “skip” past the leg and be only in the feet.
In other words, the burning and tingling, though being felt in the feet, may have their origins way higher up.
“There is a condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist, where numbness and tingling, and occasionally burning, can occur in the ankle and foot due to nerve compression in the pedal region,” says Dr. Pinker.
If this is suspected, an EMG test will be given, which measures conductivity of nerve signals.
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of burning with pain in the foot, but it does not cause tingling or numbness because it doesn’t involve irritated nerves.
Dr. Pinker is with Progressive Foot Care, which provides state-of-the-art, full diagnostic testing and treatment of the foot. He’s a professional foot and ankle health and wellness speaker who delivers many original seminars annually such as “Keep On Running.”
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.