Warm sensation in the feet is very common and can be present in mild or severe form. In addition, this warm sensation in feet is accompanied by tingling or numbness in the feet. The person suffering from it cannot sleep very well at night and gets very irritated. There are few causes of this symptom of warm sensation in the feet which need to be properly identified and treated accordingly.
When there is warm sensation in the feet it may indicate that there are problems in blood circulation, nerve damage or some chronic conditions. It is observed that any type of burning, tingling or numbness is problem often associated with sensory nerve damage, injury or disease affecting the nerves.
What Does Warm Sensation in the Feet Indicate?
The following are the number of medical conditions that show symptoms of warm sensation in the feet:
- Neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy involves damaged nerves which can cause a warm sensation in the feet. This condition normally occurs in case of diabetes which is characterized by the abnormal level of sugar in the blood. This causes damage to the peripheral nerves and is experienced in the form of warm sensation in the feet. This pain may be mild or severe. It is also seen in other medical conditions such as alcohol abuse, Lyme disease, drug side effects and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Poor Blood Circulation: When there is a spider/varicose vein or reddish spot on the ankles, it is mainly due to the blood clot. This causes disturbance in the blood circulation and leads to warm sensation in the feet. Periphery artery disease is observed to have narrowed arteries which reduce blood flow to the limbs.
- Warm Sensation in the Feet Caused Due to Restless Leg Syndrome: It can cause the warm sensation in the feet which makes the legs move especially at night.
- Inflammation: Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal infection of the foot which leads to inflammation and causes warm sensation in the feet.
- Hypertension: The high blood pressure can cause warm sensation in the feet. Hypertension can also cause decreased circulation resulting in changes in skin colour, reduced pulse rate in the feet and reduced temperature in the extremities along with a burning sensation.
- Hypothyroidism: In hypothyroidism, the decrease in the secretion of thyroid hormones results in slow down of body’s metabolism. There is swelling all over the body which exerts pressure on the nerves leading to warm or burning sensation.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: In case of tarsal tunnel syndrome, there is compression of the tibial nerve when it passes through the tarsal tunnel on the inner side of the feet and ankle. This compression occurs due to tumor, swelling and cysts present at this site and results in warm sensation of the feet.
- Other Causes of Warm Sensation in the Feet: The warm sensation or the burning sensation in the feet can also be caused due to chronic kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, Morton’s Neuroma, Vasculitis, side effects due to certain drugs and metal poisoning.
Other Symptoms Associated with Warm Sensation in the Feet
The following additional symptoms along with warm sensation in feet indicate of a warning sign that there is some serious underlying medical condition:
- Tingling sensation
- Pain in the feet
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Changes in the sensation
- Impaired coordination.
How is the Cause of Warm Sensation in Feet Diagnosed?
- The doctor performs physical examination and analyzes the recorded medical history.
- X-rays, CT-scan, MRI-scan are used to rule out injuries, nerve entrapment, soft tissue masses and trauma.
- Nerve tests as Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction study are performed to check the transmission capacity of the nerves.
- Skin samples are taken to check the skin condition such asathlete’s foot which causes skin to burn.
- Laboratory tests of blood, urine and spinal fluid are done to check for diabetes, vitamin levels and arthritis.
Treatment for Warm Sensation in the Feet
The doctor checks the cause of warm sensation in the feet and makes an appropriate treatment plan. The things to be done at home which will help reduce pain are:
- Selecting proper footwear
- Wearing cotton made socks for reducing sweating
- Having insoles or inserts in the shoes
- Feet should be thoroughly cleaned with cool water every day
- Creams and ointments must be applied to soothe the pain
- Increased Vitamin B12 intake
- Prolonged resting of the feet
- Reduction in alcohol consumption
- Proper medications to be ingested
In rare cases, it becomes a necessity to perform surgery to treat warm sensation in the feet when none of the above mentioned home remedies work or when there is nerve damage.
Prevention of Warm Sensation in Feet
It is always good to prevent the medical disorder from occurring by taking proper precaution:
- The socks, shoes, should be changed frequently.
- One must perform leg stretching exercises regularly.
- The socks, shoes and feet should be allowed to dry.
- Although there are various treatments available, self care is the best treatment option for warm sensation in the feet.
The warm feeling is a very common complaint which is mostly encountered in age above 50 years. It is very an important clinical symptom of a number of underlying medical conditions. Hence, it should not be ignored. It is essential to seek immediate medical aid for proper treatment and to avoid problems in future.
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Peripheral Neuropathy https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352061
- American Diabetes Association. (2021). Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications/neuropathy/peripheral-neuropathy
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2021). Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Restless-Legs-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet