Burning feet syndrome is a set of symptoms where your feet often become uncomfortably hot and painful. Also known as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome, the condition has many potential causes. Treatment depends on the underlying causes or conditions.
Burning feet syndrome, also known as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome, is a set of symptoms in which your feet become uncomfortably hot and painful. The burning sensation may become more intense at night, with some relief occurring during the day. Symptoms may range from mild to severe. The heat and pain can be limited to the soles of your feet, but it might also affect the tops of your feet, your ankles and even your lower legs.
The most common Grierson-Gopalan syndrome symptoms include:
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
The symptoms of burning feet syndrome can result from many different conditions or diseases.
There are many possible causes of nerve pain. It may occur due to various illnesses, back injuries — which can cause slow breakdown (degenerative changes) of your spine — back surgery, use of chemotherapy drugs or other medications, or exposure to toxins.
As there aren’t any tests to objectively measure the intensity of foot pain or burning, your healthcare provider will try to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.
Your provider will ask you about your medical history, including any physical symptoms you have and medications that you’re taking. They’ll test your reflexes and examine your feet for signs of infection, injury or other issues.
Your provider may order tests to measure your blood glucose level or screen for nutritional deficiencies or endocrine disorders. They’ll usually request a complete blood count. Other lab work may include serum and urine electrolytes (magnesium, sodium, potassium, vitamin B levels and chloride).
Nerve function tests
Your provider may order electrodiagnostic tests in the case of suspected nerve damage.
Treatment for burning feet syndrome depends on the underlying causes or conditions.
There’s no way to completely prevent burning feet, but these guidelines may help to address some problems:
You should talk to a healthcare provider like a podiatrist or a neurologist if the burning or tingling sensation in your feet persists, gets worse and/or home treatment doesn’t help.
Burning feet can be a warning sign of a more serious medical condition, like diabetes mellitus, peripheral nerve damage or malnutrition. Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes can result in irreversible damage to your peripheral nerves.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If your feet won’t stop burning and you’re not sure why, there’s a good chance you have a set of symptoms referred to as burning feet syndrome. The causes of burning feet are numerous, but many times, the symptom occurs due to issues with your nerves. Luckily, there are many potential treatment options. If you’ve tried self-care and the burning still won’t go away, reach out to your healthcare provider to determine the cause and get further treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/17/2023.
Learn more about our editorial process.