my toes are burning. what gives?
February 12, 2011 7:27 AM   Subscribe

my toes are burning. what gives?

two of my toes regularly start giving me a burning sensation after about six or seven hours working at my desk. I mostly wear sneakers and socks. this feels like the skin is hot and uncomfortable. it does not feel like there is something going on deeper inside.

I noticed I rarely have this feeling when wearing my (larger) running shoes. so at this point I'm not sure if I'm just wearing a pair of sneakers that just isn't large enough when this occurs or if this might be something worth talking to a doc to.

any thoughts? does this remind you of any infection/ailment I should investigate further?
posted by krautland to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
If it's from rubbing it's your shoes. Ditch that pair for a week or two. If it's topical then it's probably athlete's foot. A simple spray clears that up.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:37 AM on February 12, 2011

Athlete's foot would be my guess. Sometimes shoes that do not fit properly abrade your toes and let that delicious athlete's foot fungus in. I would use some Tinactin (or equivalent), and if that doesn't work, I would go to the doctor.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:38 AM on February 12, 2011

Is it only in your middle toes? It happens to me occasionally. I talked to my GP about it once and she said it's usually:
a) diabetic neuropathy (but I'm not diabetic, so that was ruled out).
b) related to a thyroid hormone levels (I don't have a thyroid and the burning was happening well before my thyroid was removed and still happens occasionally)
c) possibly caused by bunions and the start of hammertoes (I have bad bunions)
d) High uric acid levels preceding a gout attack. (I have a 1-2 gout attacks/year.).

Since it doesn't happen with your big running shoes, my vote is for developing bunions, but if you have a physical exam coming up, it couldn't hurt to get a diabetes screen and uric acid levels checked.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:18 AM on February 12, 2011

Sounds like the top of the sneaker is pressing down on one of the nerves on the top of your foot, and causing peripheral neuropathy. I wouldn't look at zebras when horses are clunking along. If your overall health is good, it's probably a simple ergonomic thing. Can you loosen the laces/velcro a bit and walk around at least once per hour?
posted by ~Sushma~ at 9:10 AM on February 12, 2011

Just to rule out the quick 'n' easy: try washing your feet when it happens, then put on clean socks. My feet do this sometimes and washing them always fixes it, so I assume it has something to do with being dirty. (For wildly inconsistent values of dirty - it's very unpredictable. *shrug*)
posted by Quietgal at 9:56 AM on February 12, 2011

I had this happen years ago, it turned out I was allergic to the lining of my boots. Try different socks and shoes.
posted by mareli at 1:49 PM on February 12, 2011

My feet burn when they're in wool socks.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:55 PM on February 12, 2011

Another quick 'n' easy approach available for athlete's foot that's manageable if you're just sitting at a desk is to slip your shoes off periodically and let your feet become completely dry and let them stay that way for a bit before putting your shoes back on. I have mitigated athelete's foot this way in the past during long-distance hikes, by taking off my shoes every time I stopped for a break.
posted by XMLicious at 3:11 PM on February 12, 2011

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