Hot hands and feet is a hot or burning feeling in the hands and feet. This common sensation often occurs at night and ranges from mild to severe. Hands or feet may just feel warm compared to the rest of other body part in no reasons. In others, you might even notice a burning sensation in your hands and feet.
Occasionally, hot hands and feet can be accompanied by other symptoms such as “pins and needles” (paresthesia), numbness, redness, and swelling. However, usually, there are no physical signs of hot hands and feet. In many cases this condition is temporary, but certain conditions can cause this condition to become permanent.
Hot Hands and Feet Causes
Neuropathy is the leading cause behind burning hands and feet but there can also another cause for burning hands and feet include:
- Lyme disease
- Chronic kidney disease (uremia)
- Heavy metal poisoning (lead, mercury, arsenic)
- Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
- Small fiber neuropathy
- Vitamin deficiency (vitamin B12, folate, and occasionally vitamin B6)
- Alcohol abuse
- Low thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism)
- allergic reaction
- Foods high in sodium
- bacterial infection (cellulitis)
- Spinal Nerve Compression
- Nail bed and fingernail infections like paronychia.
- Menopause and related female hormone disturbances
- Amyloid polyneuropathy
- Drug side effects, including chemotherapy drugs, vitamin B6 overdose, HIV medicines, amiodarone, isoniazid, metformin, and others
- Infection of the skin caused by fungus
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) also commonly causes burning feet.
- Poor absorption of B vitamins after gastric bypass can cause neuropathy in the legs and a sensation of burning feet.
- Pregnancy: pregnant women may experience hot feet due to hormonal changes that increase body temperature.
- Lifestyle factors: improper footwear, not wearing socks etc.
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT)
- Palmar erythema: This condition also causes a splotchy red color on your palms, and sometimes even your fingers.
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- Trauma or pressure on the nerve
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Palmar-plantarerythrodysesthesia (aka hand-foot syndrome) cause by chemotherapy.
- Autoimmune problem: lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.
Hot Hands and Feet Symptoms
Burning hands and feet pain often accompanied by:
- altered sensation e.g. pins and needles or numbness
- altered balance and co-ordination
- muscle cramp
- sores or ulcers
- changes in skin color (usually blue/purple)
- decreased hair and nail growth
- redness of the foot/hands with associated swelling and burning foot/hands pain
- Discoloration of the palms and hand
- Blanching of the skin when pressure is applied on it
How to Get Diagnosis for Hot Hands and Feet
In certain people whose burning sensation is sudden, rapidly worsening, or has no explainable cause, further test may be needed to make a correct diagnosis. These tests include:
- Electromyography (EMG). A test of muscle function using recordings of electrical activity inside the muscles.
- Nerve conduction study. A nerve is stimulated, and the response in the muscle controlled by that nerve is measured.
- Laboratory tests. Sometimes, tests of blood, urine, or spinal fluid may be suggested to help diagnose the cause of burning feet. Vitamin levels can also be checked with a simple blood test.
- Nerve biopsy. This test quite rarely, a doctor may suggest cutting out a piece of nerve tissue and examining it under a microscope as a further test if there is no related condition from other test.
How to Prevent Hot Hands and Feet
Make healthy lifestyle choices
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to keep nerves healthy and get enough vitamin B-12.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid factors that may cause nerve damage
- Avoid excess alcohol
When to Visit a Doctor
Getemergency expert treatment if:
- A hot or burning sensation in the hands feet comes on suddenly.
- Hot hands and feet, or any other symptoms, arising from exposure to toxins.
- The burning sensation spreads up the legs/arm.
- There is a loss of feeling in the toes or feet.
Hot Hands and Feet Treatment
Treatment will vary depending on the specific cause of the peripheral neuropathy that causes hot hands and feet.
- Diabetes: dietary changes, oral medications, and insulin injections for people with diabetic neuropathy, to help keeping blood sugar levels in the normal range.
- Vitamin deficiency: Taking additional vitamin B12 orally or by injection.
- Alcoholism: Stopping excessive drinking to prevents ongoing nerve damage.
- Chronic kidney disease: Dialysis to help eliminate toxins causing neuropathy and burning feet symptoms.
- Erythromelalgia treatment:
- elevating your hands
- avoiding warm temperatures and hot water
- topical creams containing lidocaine
- medications such as calcium antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants, or antihistamine therapy
- Antifungalmedications: If fungal infection is causing the uncomfortable burning sensation, antifungal medication will need to be applied. In most cases, topical creams applied to the infected area to kill off the infection. In severe cases, oral antifungal added to help kill off the infectious bodies.
- Wear Proper Footwear
- Magnetic therapy – Magnetic therapy is often used to help relieve tired limbs that begin to burn and ache.
- Improve body circulation.
- Treat underlying conditions
- Hypothyroidism: Taking oral thyroid hormone help raises low thyroidlevels, often reversing neuropathy as well as burning feet symptoms.
- Fibromyalgia treatment option:
- muscle relaxant medications
- anticonvulsant medications
- antidepressant medications
- PAD (Peripheral artery disease) treatment:
- pain treatment medications, including topical medications, such as lidocaine
- anticonvulsant medication therapy
- alternative therapies, such as acupuncture
- GBS and CIDP:specialized treatmentthat may include plasma exchange (plasmapheresis)
- Immune Globulin Therapy: IVIG is an approved treatment for graft vs. host disease and ITP. These are especially used to treat different autoimmune, idiopathic and infectious diseases.
- carpal tunnel syndrome treatment options:
- avoiding positions that over flex or overextend your wrist
- wearing a hand splint to keep your hand in a neutral position
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy
- corticosteroid injections
Best Medication for Hot Hands and Feet
- amitriptyline (Elavil)
- carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- desipramine (Norpramin)
- duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- gabapentin (Neurontin)
- pregabalin (Lyrica)
- topiramate (Topamax)
- venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
- Over-the-counter medicines like Advil, Aleve, Motrin IB, and Tylenol help control pain in many people with burning feet.
- Prescription pain relievers like tramadol (Ultram) or low-dose opiates (narcotics) for severe pain.
- For burning feet caused by athlete’s foot, antifungal drugs can cure the fungal infection and relieve burning feet symptoms. Over-the-counter medicines: miconazole (Micatin) or terbinafine (Lamisil AT).
- Prescription antifungals: fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), and naftifine (Naftin).
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