Last Modified on Apr 22, 2014
Those with a "burning feet" condition experience a sudden and sometimes lasting feeling of intense heat in one or both feet. This burning feet syndrome – also known as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome – is not associated with any rash or obvious skin symptoms, but it can result in excessive sweating and foot odor as well as generalized pain in the foot.
Burning feet may sometimes be a result of B-vitamin deficiencies or other dietary inadequacy. Symptoms may also include "pins and needles" feelings, numbness, and pain that extends up even beyond the ankles - all of which are more likely to occur toward bedtime.
Burning Feet Syndrome is poorly understood but may be related to diabetes, renal conditions, hypothyroidism, arthritis, nerve damage, and alcoholism.
Home Remedies: Some have recommended soaking the feet in a warm black tea infusion, which may address potential fungal or bacterial causes of burning feet symptoms.
[YEA] 12/07/2011: Gloria from Brentwood, Ny: "Thank you Earth Clinic!! This is an awesome website! For years I had burning feet that gave my feet a very bad odor! In a tv show a Dr. said black tea infusion was the answer. And I inmediately made a 5 tea bags infusion with enough water to get my feet covered up to the ankles. I soaked my feet until the water cooled down, like 20 minutes. I did again a week later. This was 8 years ago. The Dr said tannic acid in the black tea was antibacterial and antifungal. I have recommended this a lot of people and all of them had success! I just needed two times of soaking, some of my friends did it three times, but in all cases the burning sensation and bad odor went away forever."
04/06/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca: "I am a 50 yr old African American woman with throbbing feet night and day. I've been to every specialist under the sun (pediatrists, rheumatologist, neurologist, spine surgeon, orthopaedic specialist, etc.) I've been to psychics as well. I've had my blood tested - I am not diabetic, do not have neuropathy. I don't have plantar's faciitis. I've had a bone scan, mri and plain film xray of feet and ankles, muscle function study, you name it I've had it done. When I lay down, my feet still throb. I've had myofascial release therapy, accupuncture, accupressure and reflexology. I do not have high blood pressure and my cholesteral is very good. Don't know if this helps but if I have dessert every day it affects my bladder - frequency of urination. If I have too much salt, my heart rate speeds up. Also I've been tested for metal poisoning/accumulation in my system because of previous tooth fillings, birth control pills in the 1980s, etc. Results were normal. I've had bio-compatibility testing food at a subclinical level. I layed off foods that caused a negative reaction per test results which helped other issues but not the throbbing in my feet. This is the 14th year this has been going on. It started getting bad around the 6th year. I've spent so much money trying to figure it out because some of this was not covered by insurance. Thank you for your time."Replies
04/06/2014: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Hello "Pain in Feet"
Re ... throbbing feet issue...
I realize you say everything was checked but the problem sounds like Sickle Cell; at least might be related. Different degrees and different times of onset. Distorted red blood cells are more likely to get "stuck" so one help might be Vitamin E which has been reputed to "slick down the platelets" as well doing the same in veins and arteries.
There are other symptoms you might be experiencing that could confirm SCD. Headaches, chest pains, jaundice and cold hands and feet.
Even if the problem is not red cell related; the problem might be helped by Vitamin E as it will help oxygenate extremities and clean out plaque.
Next, it NEVER hurts to add some magnesium to the system. I'd take Epsom Salts baths; even foot baths would be good.
On the E...use ONLY natural (d- alpha and NOT dl, which is synthetic). Start with 200 iu and work up to 800 IUs over three months.
Also "ginger" foot baths can help with circulation. Cut small sections of real ginger and heat in pot on stove. Pour into foot bath and add warm water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Repeat nightly for two weeks. If improved, repeat three or four times weekly. You would have just demonstrated that there is a circulation problem that must be worked on."
04/07/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Hi, I left a couple things off my post. Can I retrieve it and make corrections? Thank you."
EC: Hi, just send another post with the extra info.
04/07/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Thank you for the suggestions. I will check it out. I don't have any symptoms of SCD, but as you say it could be related. Oops I just realized I spelled podiatrist wrong in my first post! I forgot to mention I had a nerve conduction study and went to a few chiropractors too!"
04/08/2014: Happy from Up The Creek In Wv, Usa replies: "Chronically swollen feet are a symptom of mercury poisoning. I know you said someone checked your blood for mercury, but perhaps they missed it.
The proper way to check for mercury is with a DMPSA [chelater] challenge test. They have you drink some of this, then test your urine for the level of mercury in it, as chelated by the DMPSA chemical."
04/09/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Hi, my physician/insurance wouldn't do the chelation, before and after urine test, so then I had a blood test to check metal levels. A nurse here at work has an affiliation with a lab so I paid for it out-of-pocket. The chemical levels turned out normal. But, I started taking DMSA for 3 months any way to see if it made any difference but my feet kept throbbing so I stopped taking it. It's weird, my feet throb all day/night, but they only swell if it's real hot outside."
04/10/2014: Timh from Ky, Usa replies: "I have had this problem for many yrs, except the pain part is not-so-bad as I have significant nerve damage in both feet as well, resulting in predominate numbness.
Mineral, especially Epsom Salt foot baths I take daily.
For heavy metal detox you can take Ted's recommended amounts of Sodium Thiosulfate without the prescription or supervision of a dr.
Detox Foot Pads and Ionic Foot Spa will remove toxins from the soles of feet. I use both these daily/nightly."
04/10/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Thanks Timh. I will give these things a try!
I forgot to mention I already tried the Ionic foot bath and it didn't help my throbbing feet. But at least I've got the impurities out of my system due to a series of Ionic foot baths."
04/11/2014: Timh from Ky, Usa replies: "Pain: If you don't experience any relief from these current recommendations, the single "most likely" causative problem (which I have long suspected) is "Leakey Gut Syndrome". With damage to the gut, undigested large food particles enter the bloodstream and the feet are the most blood circulated body part, hence the pain."
04/16/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Dear Timh from Ky, Usa, I will definitely check out your leaky gut syndrome theory! Thank you for your time!"
04/17/2014: Timh from Ky replies: "Pain: Do update us on your results.
For healing of the intestines, first be sure to treat any infection or possibly parasitism as this damages the lining.
Second, Zinc & Vit-A are very important defense nutrients. As for actually stimulated epithelial lining regrowth, I have found a combination of DGL & Allantoin the best remedy.
From my personal history, the pain in feet began as I was stricken w/ aplastic anemia; within a few days the pain became very bad-to-intolerable. Pain meds didn't help much as I my gut was so damaged that absorption was very poor and I also had severe Candida. As a last resort to relieve the pain, I began using cold water foot baths then soon needed to add ice. My feet were burning w/ pain as the ice water quickly turned to hot water. This situation continued in severity until I needed F.B. 24/7. The 30 min trip to hospital without ice water was such severe pain as I screamed all the way. A Morphine I.V. beat the pain but I had large holes blown thru the my feet as well as damage to the bottoms or soles. Dr's said foot problem was frostbite, but from visual comparison to photos of Frostbite, well, no comparison. I somehow survived the ordeal and learned how to walk again (with help from walker or cane) about one yr later. Looking back, the only logical explanation was confirmed by heavy metal manganese poisoning. I also have immune dysfunction that may exacerbate the situation.
Hope my story helps to solve your riddle."
04/17/2014: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Hello again Pain In Feet from Cal.
I responded to your first post with my suggestions and after reading Timh's suggestions, re read your post and follow ups. Know what? I think it would help if you gave us some more symptoms. There must be some more issues or symptoms to help you narrow the scope. We're sort of "shootin in the dark." And you've had LOTS of suggestions. Could you please list OTHER issues ... maybe or maybe not related. LIKE; meds you're taking; tingling in hands; throbbing in legs; vision problems; cold hands and cold feet (not just throbbing) etc. Anything to narrow the possibilities. Throbbing legs/feet could be onset MS. I've found over the years use of AEP (DR. Adkins go to for MS) is the charm for helping that. (Just PART of the MS protocol.) But we have no reason to suspect MS unless your symptoms pointed us that direction. Please...fill in the blanks."
04/20/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Dear Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc: Thank you. The only medication I take is birth control which I've been on for many years (longer than the feet throbbing pain). I stopped taking it for a few months to see if it made any difference. No changes. I have a rapid heart rate in the high 90's up to 102 beats per minute, but when I go easy on the salt for a couple of weeks, it goes back to normal, low 80's. I get checked every year, no high cholesterol, no high blood pressure & no diabetes.
I have a slight swelling on the left calf and a slight egg-size swelling above my left ankle. Most wouldn't notice it. I can't ride a bike or recumbent bike at the gym because the next day my feet hurt worse. Xrays from chiropractors show slight fusing on 1 disc but nothing to cause any problems especially since I don't have back or leg pain. I thought the source of the problem might be in my lower back or pelvic area for 2 reasons, one when I get on the floor and door stomach exercies/crunches, my feet hurt worse the next day and also
I use a kegel exerciser you squeeze between your thighs, not for the intended reason, but because it tightens the stomach, buttocks and saddle bag thighs. Doing that exercise makes my feet hurt worse the next day, but I do it periodically because it makes my thighs smaller! My hair has been thinning for about 25 years. Blood tests show my thyroid and endocrine system a little off but nothing drastic. I've been taking natural supplements for hair loss through a holistic healer which has helped. I have allergies all year - flower pollen & mold. That's about all the symptoms I have. I'm pretty healthy. I get a cold about once a year."
04/20/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Dear Timh from Ky: Thank you. I asked my pcp if I could be tested for leaky gut syndrome and she said no because I would have acites, bloating and problems of leakage in my abdomen. Oh well, I will keep trying various suggestions to get to the bottom of the problem of my throbbing feet. I refuse to give up!"
04/20/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Dear Timh from Ky: Thank you. 3 to 4 years ago I did have to go to a gastroenterologist for breath odor. It turns out I had a high bacterial content in my stomach. He had me take a natural supplement to bring back to appropriate bacteria levels. So that problem has been solved and didn't affect my throbbing feet in any way."
04/20/2014: Timh from Ky replies: "Pain: Do consider some cleanses and detoxification methods. Here are some links: http://earthclinic.com/CURES/parasites.html. http://earthclinic.com/CURES/gallstones.html. http://earthclinic.com/CURES/colon-cleansing.html. http://earthclinic.com/CURES/detoxification.html. Open a notepad and copy & paste the best info for your cleansing.
To stimulate the body's natural detox you need to boost Glutathione by supplementing NAC, and Melatonin (before retiring). Milk Thistle herb will strengthen the liver. Brocolli Sprout Extract or I3C will boost detox also. Any antioxidant supplements will help. Almost forgot, do also consider alkalizing remedies. "
04/20/2014: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Hello Pain In Feet from California:
Given the symptoms you posted to me;
Magnesium deficiency and circulation problem. If me, I'd get on 500 mg of magnesium (any kind) and Vitamin E (natural E; d alpha tocopherol). Start with 200 iu daily and increase to 400 in four weeks; then add to 400 another 200 four weeks later.
Mag and E compliment each other. I'd get up to 1, 000 IUs daily of E. Also I'd get on arginine. (Why? You referenced heart issues and salt matters. You can consume salt if you get Mag.) The fact that you lighten up on salt and the heart is improved is conclusive (in my book) you have a mag deficiency. Other things you mentioned suggest lack of circulation is the main problem; so again I'd get on E. E will definitely help with circulation. And adding Vitamin B3, niacin would not hurt. 250 mg; will cause a slight flush; read about it on the internet."
04/20/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc: Thank you. I was wondering if I had a circulation problem too. I sent away a hair analysis last year and it tested a bunch of metals. The printout reads that my magnesium is too high. Is there a way I can improve my circulation without taking magnesium? Also I was getting the detox Ionic Foot baths last year so I think I o.k. as far as pulling out toxins."
04/20/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Dear Timh from Ky: Thank you. I did the Ionic detox foot baths last year so I'm probably o.k. as for as detoxing. That's interesting about the parasites. I'm wondering since the throbbing in my feet has gone on for so many years, if I had parasites would the problem have magnified to other areas by now? What are your thoughts?"
04/21/2014: Timh from Ky replies: "Pain: Many Naturalpathic Dr's recommend annual paracleanse regardless of symptoms, particularly if one is a pet owner.
This feet pain problem is something to do w/ toxic blood, from my perspective. My feet are very much a reflection of my liver health. This is why I recommended gallbladder cleanse and NAC/Melatonin, and Milk Thistle. I occasionally use a strong magnet therapy over my liver and afterwards my step is lighter, and my blood pressure lowers. Kidney cleanses are also recommended for blood purification.
Increase your nutrition status as well as antioxidant status thru supplementation. Dave's recommends are well advised and worthy of your efforts.
You must do some cleanses. Some methods are very taxing but some are not. Suck 3 menthol cough drops back-to-back daily for 1 wk to melt cholesterol stones (of which almost everyone, to some degree has). Take one spoon of Milled Flax Seed daily to cleanse the colon (of which almost everyone has a dirty one to some degree, especially if you are over mid-life). Garlic is a very good antiparaside and blood purifier. Cilantro/Coriander herb chelates heavy metals from the body. ACV is good for many conditions and helps almost everyone who uses it daily."
04/21/2014: Rsw from Uniontown, Oh replies: "Do you remember what the natural supplement was that successfully balanced the bacteria in your stomach? Thank you."
04/21/2014: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Hello Pain/ Feet,
RE increase circulation.
You ask is there a way to increase circulation in feet...yes...see my last post to you....It is using the Natural Vit E., a wonder for increased circulation. Try it (as I outlined) for six weeks and see if it helps. I bet it will. All I can say is the use of E is just what I'd do in your situation."
04/21/2014: Pain In Feet from Sacramento, Ca replies: "Dear Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc: Thank you, I will try the Vit E as you described to see if there is an improvement with my circulation.
Dear Rsw from Uniontown, Oh: Regarding regulating stomach bacteria, I remember taking a probiotic but can't remember the name. Sorry about that. You can find a holistic practitioner that can recommend one or you can get one at the drugstore, but it won't be all natural.
Dear Timh from KY: Thank you. I haven't heard of toxic blood. I'll start working on the cleanses."
[WORKED TEMPORARILY] 06/11/2011: Just Chillin from Vannes, France: "This is for Ted or for anyone who can help on this wonderful site. I have been having burning feet for some time, and went to a friend who does muscle testing and she discovered I had a B1 inbalance. I have been taking Thiamin pyraphosphate, the one that absorbs better for about 6 weeks or so, and when I saw her last I tested ok for it. She discovered that I had a sugar imbalance, so have been cutting out food that can raise blood sugar, great as I have lost weight too. However since I have cut down the dosage of the Thiamin phyraphosphate as per my friend, to about a third of the dose, the burning feet, and prickling legs have come back, as bad as it was before. The only thing I can think is that is is because I have reduced it, but have been told that you shouldn't stay on a supplement of one b vitamin for too long? I had a blood test back in feb/march and the glycaemic thing was 5.7 which was ok, so dont think I have a problem there. MY blood pressure is fine too. Does anyone have any thoughts on why these symptoms should return, is if food related, any help would be great as do not want to go back to the doctor, as when I first had the burning feet last September, he said it was anxiety!!!"Replies
06/11/2011: Just Chillin from Vannes, , France replies: "Sorry forgot to add that the other symptom that has returned is this kind of wowing in the ears, bit like the heartbeat, and I know heart rate is a b1 deficiency symptom. My pulse can go up a bit but after resting is usually around 80. Thanks again everyone."
06/11/2011: Ruth from London, England replies: "Wow! I didn't know anyone else has burning feet.
I had it every summer for a few years. Seemed to mostly happen in the evening, not in reaction to walking around or anything like that. I'd suddenly feel like my feet were very, very hot (sort of a hot flash for feet! ) and I'd go rinse them off in the shower.
I improved my diet considerably a year and a half ago. I don't eat anything processed at all. I cook from scratch. I cook with healthy fats (butter, coconut oil, etc. ), eat the healthiest version I can find of meat, veggies, fruit, bread, dairy. Have a look on the Weston Price website for more info.
My burning feet have disappeared entirely, along with lots of other small and large improvements in health. I couldn't tell you which dietary change made the difference to my feet.
Good luck. I hope that helps."
06/12/2011: Just Chillin from Vannes, France replies: "Hi Ruth, Thanks for coming back and so glad you are feeling better. Its nice to know of someone else that had it, as its awful. I used to get it worse in the evenings, then recently it has begun to be all the time. Did you not have a deficiency or anything similar? I am not good at ignoring things that have improved then get worse again. I do try to eat sensibly, and have recently lost weight because of it. I can't pin point what makes it worse. The only connection I can find is that I have reduced the supplement as advised."
07/04/2011: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "If it is anxiety, it is simply 500 mg of niacinamide B3. As far as burning feet it is fungus issue, the best that can deal with that is castor oil apply to the area, or to make it work better, use DMSO 80% and castor oil 20%, apply to the area. The other issue relates with circulatory issue, yes thiamine works, but the other issue is blood is too thick, or viscous, in which case vitamin E 200 I. U. Is a small dose and will gradually do it. The other is quicker, if you don't have issues about aspirin, which is 500 mg dissolved in 1 cup of water taken three times a day, for one day. Thereafter take as you need, either vitamin E, or aspirin. In some rare cases, it responds to fish oil but is not taken everyday perhaps initially every day for one week, then weekly, the take as you need. Finally if you are having prickly feeling that is more likely circulatory for sure, you take bromelain as 2000 GDU, 500 mg, dissolved in a glass of water, it may require more but over the week it should work.
10/20/2013: Ted from Toronto, Canada replies: "Vitamin B1(thiamin) is water soluable and leaves the body quickly, so you have to take more, which may become toxic to you. Try the naturally occuring fat soluable version, benfotiamine. Studies have shown that benfotiamine is even more bioavailable than the other thiamine-related compounds called allithiamines, including thiamin tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide/TTFD. Yet benfotiamine is actually less toxic than conventional thiamin supplements.
Hammes HP, Du X, Edelstein D, Taguchi T, Matsumura T, Ju Q, Lin J, Bierhaus A, Nawroth P, Hannak D, Neumaier M, Bergfeld R, Giardino I, Brownlee M. “Benfotiamine blocks three major pathways of hyperglycemic damage and prevents experimental diabetic retinopathy. ” Nat Med. 2003 Mar; 9(3): 294-9.
Koltai MZ. “Prevention of cardiac autonomic neuropathy in dogs with Benfotiamine.” In Gries FA, Federlin K. “Benfotiamine in the Therapy of Polyneuropathy. ” New York: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1998; 45-9."