Are Your Burning Feet a Sign of Neuropathy or Something Benign?

An article titled The Fire Within notes that tens of thousands of Americans suffer from a little-known condition known as neuropathy. One of the first signs is a burning pain on top of the foot.

Neuropathy is not the only cause of this painful sensation. It is important to determine what is causing burning feet.

Is the pain the result of something benign like poor footwear? Is it the side-effect of a serious condition like diabetes or neuropathy? 

Read on to discover what causes burning feet, how to identify its source, and what to do if diagnosed.

Causes of Burning Feet

Finding out what causes burning feet does not always mean diagnosing a disease. Some causes are entirely benign and can be addressed with simple lifestyle changes.

Menopause increases temperature throughout the body, including the feet. Wearing poor-fitting shoes and/or walking too much during the day can leave a patient’s feet aching as well. 

Sometimes burning feet syndrome is caused by the deficiency of essential nutrients. Two of the most common culprits are vitamin D and the group of 12 B vitamins. They both contribute to nerve health.

Neuropathy is a serious condition caused by damage to the nerves. It can lead to burning pain on top of the foot as well as pain and numbness that spreads throughout the body.


As its name suggests, burning pain on top of the foot is the most common symptom of burning feet syndrome. Weakness in the limbs is another common symptom, especially if nerve damage is the cause.

The symptoms of neuropathy differ depending on what type it is. 

Mononeuropathy affects one nerve, but polyneuropathy affects every nerve. The type of damaged nerve is important as well. Motor nerves control movement, sensory nerves control sensations like touch, and autonomic nerves control automatic functions like breathing.


There are numerous ways to diagnose the cause of burning pain on top of the foot. Whether the cause is benign or the result of a more serious condition like neuropathy, it can be identified.

A simple physical examination or blood test can be enough to identify infections or injuries that cause burning feet. For more complicated conditions like neuropathy, more detailed testing may be required. These include EMG scans and nerve conduction velocity or function tests.

Skin biopsies are a new but promising method of diagnosis. Examining the skin can help doctors determine how messages move throughout the nerves.  


Lifestyle changes can be the cure for burning feet not related to a medical condition. These include drinking less alcohol, changing shoes every other day, and/or sitting more often. 

If a disease or infection is what causes burning feet, it must be managed to alleviate symptoms of both conditions. Diabetes is a common cause, and managing blood sugar can also alleviate pain. 

Supplements for peripheral neuropathy are the best cure if the cause is a vitamin deficiency. Many individuals do not get enough vitamin D from the sun or vitamin B from their diets. They may have to take supplements to replace these nutrients and alleviate symptoms.

Treatment for burning feet syndrome typically involves pain management. This is especially true of neuropathy, as major surgeries are the only other remedy for serious nerve damage.

What to Do Next

Patients must work together to determine what causes their burning feet. There are numerous potential causes. It is important to determine whether the culprit is a disease like neuropathy or something more benign.

Read our other articles and check back for more information.