Hot hands and feet can refer to a warm sensation or a painful tingling in the limbs. This is often made worse at night, making it difficult to sleep, though performing physical activities can also cause this condition to appear. People 45 and older are more likely to develop hot, red or burning hands and feet than other age groups. In many cases this condition is temporary, but certain conditions can cause this condition to become permanent.
Possible Causes of Hot Hands and Feet
There are a number of conditions that can cause the hands and feet to develop an uncomfortable burning sensation. Evaluating your other symptoms will help you narrow down the cause so you can get adequate treatment.
- Erythromelalgia - This condition is known to cause a burning pain, redness or increase in temperature in the hands and feet. These symptoms will begin as a tingling or itching that will slowly progress to a painful burning sensation. Some people note occasional flares of these symptoms while others experience them all the time. This condition may occur spontaneously or as a result of a neurological disease. Doctors will attempt to note underlying causes of this condition to ensure that proper treatment can be administered.
- Carpal or Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome - These conditions are very similar in nature. Each causes pressure to build up on the joints, leading to a burning sensation in the hands and feet due to the compression on the nerves. This sensation is often described as an electric shock that radiates out from the affected joints.
- Hypothyroidism - Hypothyroidism is a condition that is caused when the thyroid is not producing enough of the necessary hormones. If this is left untreated, it can cause the joints to develop a hot or burning sensation, which can manifest itself strongly in the hands and feet.
- Kidney Dysfunction - If the kidneys are not functioning the way they should, it can lead to a burning sensation throughout the body. This is caused when the body is unable to rid itself of cell waste through the bloodstream, leading to a buildup of waste. If the cells are constantly exposed to these toxins, they can begin to break down, causing bodily damaged. If this condition is severe enough, the patient may need to begin dialysis treatments to rid themselves of this waste.
- Liver Damage - On a similar note, waste and toxins can build up in the body if the liver is not filtering them away the way it should. If toxins are allowed to build up in the bloodstream, it can cause a burning pain throughout the body which may become more severe in the limbs.
- Nerve Damage - Damage to the nerves can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation to appear. This symptom will typically begin in the limbs before spreading throughout the body. Conditions such as diabetes can cause this damage to appear. Managing these underlying conditions will be a key to eliminating your discomfort.
- Menopause - Menopause is the point in life when a woman stops having a monthly period. This causes a flux in hormone levels that can lead to unpleasant side effects throughout the body, including hot hands and feet, and a burning or tingling system in the limbs.
- Athlete's Foot - This is a fungal infection that grows between the toes and on the heel. As the infection spreads, the fungus can cause the skin to become very dry, itchy and red, leading to a stinging pain on the feet. If the infection is serious enough, this can cause blisters to appear which will weep and become crusty. This condition is worsened by wearing shoes and socks that are damp for long periods of time. Wearing clean footwear and using anti-fungal medication can help eliminate this condition.
- Alcohol Abuse - Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can cause pain in the hands and feet as the body begins to deteriorate. In many cases, eliminating alcohol intake can cause this condition to cease over time.
- Vitamin Deficiency - A diet that is low in B1, B5, B6 and B12 can cause a burning sensation to develop in the hands and feet. This is caused when the body is unable to maintain the nervous system properly. Adjusting your diet or taking supplements to increase your vitamin intake can help eliminate these symptoms.
Treatment for Hot Hands and Feet
The treatment will vary based on what appears to be causing the discomfort.
- Wear Proper Footwear - Discomfort in the feet can often be relieved by wearing proper footwear. Shoes that provide adequate arch support without being constrictive or too loose can help you eliminate a troublesome burning sensation. Wearing shoes and socks that are dry and clean is also a key to avoiding skin issues that can cause a burning sensation to appear.
- Apply Antifungal Medications - If it is discovered that a fungal infection is causing the uncomfortable burning sensation, antifungal medication will need to be applied. In most cases, topical creams such as butenafine or miconazole will be applied to the infected area to kill off the infection. In severe cases, oral antifungal medication will be added to this treatment to help kill off the infectious bodies.
- Use Magnetic Therapy - Magnetic therapy is often used to help relieve tired limbs that begin to burn and ache. Wearing shoes with magnetic soles or magnetic bracelets can help control nerve pain and provide relief for tired limbs.
- Improve Body Circulation - Increasing your medication or getting more exercise can help eliminate your discomfort by improving your circulation throughout the body.
- Treat Underlying Conditions - When a burning sensation in the limbs is a side effect of another condition such as mismanaged diabetes or hypothyroidism, you will need to work with your doctor to adjust your treatment.