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Do You Have Hypothyroidism From Your Burning Feet?

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By Janik Sundstrom
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Published August 17, 2022.

A person seated on a bench, with their legs pulled up, holding both of their feet with their hands.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of the thyroxine hormone. This can lead to symptoms that include feeling cold, weight gain, dry skin, fatigue, and burning feet in severe cases. However, there are a host of conditions in the body that can cause burning feet.

It's advisable to discuss your symptoms with a medical professional as an under-active thyroid may not be the only cause. Kidney disease, uncontrolled diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, excessive use of alcohol, and athlete's foot, among others, can cause the sensation of burning feet.

What is Burning Feet Syndrome?

Burning feet syndrome, or Grierson-Goplan syndrome, describes the occurrence of a painful, burning sensation in the feet. The cause of burning feet is often nerve tissue damage (neuropathy) in the feet. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can cause a reduction in mobility in some cases. The burning sensation is often worse at night. There are home remedies for burning feet you can consider, including insoles and custom orthotics.

Hypothyroidism Warning Signs Via Your Feet

There are a host of signs and symptoms that occur in your feet as a result of hypothyroidism.

  • Dry, flaky skin that may crack This is usually seen around the heel area and is often the first sign of hypothyroidism.
  • Cramps and pain Pain and cramps may occur in the feet due to the muscular and nerve structure in the feet and lower leg being compromised.
  • Tingling sensation This has been linked to the damage to the sheath surrounding the nerve, causing it to be stimulated easily. The tingling sensation occurs initially at night and may progress to the entire day.
  • Cold sensation This occurs due to damaged nerve fibers within the feet, giving off a sensation that the feet are feeling cold. Damaged nerve fibers make the body unable to discern apparent temperature very well.
  • Soles that appear to have a yellowish or orange tinge Without the presence of the hormones released from the thyroid, the body has a reduced ability to convert beta-carotene in the body, therefore leaving a yellowish or orange look to the feet.
  • Skin infections The thyroid and the hormones it releases regulate the skin. Due to the nature of the feet and their usage, the feet may be a common area for skin and nail infections to arise if the thyroid is less active.
  • Health and growth of nails The thyroid plays an important role in the growth and health of nails. An under-active thyroid can alter the color and thickness of nails, thereby causing the nails to become brittle and susceptible to breaking.
  • Ridges forming on the length of the toenail Longitudinal ridges occurring along the length of the nails is a common sign seen in people with an under-active thyroid.

If you notice these signs and symptoms potentially associated with an under-active thyroid, it is advised to seek medical help. Other associated symptoms that occur in the rest of the body include: generalized fatigue, a slow heart rate, sensitivity to the cold, a puffy face, and constipation.

Seek medical advice

Once a medical professional has identified and diagnosed the cause of your burning or tingling feet at night, they will address the various factors that may be influencing the condition. They will issue medication to treat the underlying cause as well as pain medication, and conservative management strategies in an effort to help you reduce the symptoms.

In summary

It is therefore vital to understand what the cause of the burning sensation or tingling in your feet is. As burning feet is a symptom of various conditions (not necessarily just hypothyroidism), the correct underlying cause must be identified for it to be managed effectively and to prevent it from getting progressively worse over time. This article provides symptoms you can look out for, but be aware of the risks of self-diagnosis. It's best to seek medical advice.