Why Do My Feet Feel Like They’re Burning At Night?

Getting spontaneous waves of burning feelings in your feet?  Burning feet are keeping you awake at night?  It can be quite alarming to feel unusual sensations moving through your feet, especially when you can’t pinpoint a specific cause or trigger. This is a concern for many of our patients, who aside from feeling burning through their feet may also feel some tingling, numbness, pins and needles, sensitivity to cold, and other altered or heightened sensations.  Feelings of burning in the feet can affect anyone, but are most common in those over 50 years. The symptoms tend to worsen at night and ease during the day – though some symptoms get worse when walking. So what could be causing your feet to feel like they’re on fire at night? Here’s a look into the top causes seen by our Auckland podiatrists.

Nerve Damage From Diabetes

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves in our feet – a condition called peripheral neuropathy. As our nerves are responsible for what we feel, when our nerves become damaged, they can send pain and burning signals to our brain – even when we’re far from any potential source of heat. You can learn more about how diabetes can affect your feet, and how to protect them, here.


Prolonged or excessive alcohol use can lead to a condition called alcoholic neuropathy. Damage to the peripheral nerves usually occurs first, due to the long distance the nerves need to travel from the spinal cord to the feet. It isn’t just the alcohol itself that can affect the nerves – malnutrition can develop as alcohol can impair the absorption of essential nutrients. Like diabetic neuropathy, a burning sensation is just one of many altered sensations that those affected can experience.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions or circumstances can also affect the nerves, even just temporarily, and result in burning sensations. These include hypothyroidism, a vitamin deficiency, kidney disease, nerve diseases like Charcot Marie Tooth, arthritis, inflammatory diseases, blood disorders, dermatitis and skin sensitivities, heavy metal poisoning, blood vessel damage (including due to smoking), and many more. It’s also not uncommon to experience burning in the feet a few weeks after bariatric surgery due to malabsorption of vitamin B after the surgery.

Infections Or Injuries

Infections and injuries can lead to burning in the feet because of the associated inflammation and swelling that they produce. When swelling in the feet or lower leg presses against and compresses a surrounding nerve, it can cause a wide range of changes in sensation in the area – including burning. The same can occur if there are changes in the space between the bones where nerves run through, like the tarsal tunnel in the ankle. Interestingly, an Athlete’s foot fungal infection can also cause itching, tingling and burning in the feet. 

Morton’s Neuroma

Having a Morton’s neuroma means that the lining around the nerve that runs down between the long bones of your feet has become irritated and swollen – and is another potential source of burning. A good way to test for a neuroma is to squeeze your feet from the sides (from the inside and outside of the foot, not from the top and bottom). If this produces notable pain, and perhaps some shooting sensations or any tingling, it could be a neuroma. Don’t worry – just book an appointment with our team.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Also referred to as peripheral vascular disease, this can be a cause of impaired blood flow that may also cause burning sensations as well as other sensation changes, which may be exacerbated by walking.

Sometimes, Further Testing Is Needed

If you feel like you can’t relate to any of the causes above, you may need further testing. Here, your podiatrist will look at any injuries or problems that may be affecting your nerves and producing your symptoms. If the pain is severe and unmanageable, we may refer you to a neurologist.

How Do I Stop My Feet From Burning?

Stopping or preventing burning sensations in the feet is done by addressing the underlying cause of the nerve irritation or damage. If it’s a specific medical condition, getting it under control, like taking thyroid medication for hypothyroidism can help manage and prevent burning in the feet. Where there’s an infection or an injury that is causing the nerve to be compressed, managing the problem through the various podiatric treatments we have available will help ease the symptoms. In some cases, like where the nerve damage is significant and permanent like it may be in diabetes, the focus must stay on preventing the symptoms from getting worse.  At home, you can may find the following to be helpful:
  • Ensuring your shoes are comfortable, supportive and not too tight
  • Soaking your feet in cold (not freezing) water for 15 minutes may give some temporary relief
  • Avoid exposing your feet to hot temperatures
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications if your feet are inflamed or swollen

Get Started With Auckland’s Leading Podiatry Team

If you’re experiencing unusual sensations in your feet – whether it’s burning or something else – and you’re unsure where to start, come in and see our experienced podiatry team here in Remuera, Auckland. We’ll help you identify the cause of the changes you’re experiencing, and can refer you for further testing if needed. If the cause is an injury or foot problem, we’ll help you manage it using our world-class treatments and services. Book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on 09 523 2333

Retirement: Looking After Your Feet So They’ll Look After You

Looking forward to a retirement filled with… anything you like? Whether you’re retired or nearing it, it’s an exciting time that many spend decades looking forward to, knowing you can plan your days on your own terms, and finally enjoy all the things you haven’t had time for previously. There’s just one thing that many people don’t plan for: when their feet or legs can’t keep up with what they want to do. In part, this is a result of the natural changes to our bodies that come with ageing. In another part, it’s the decades on our feet, expecting them to take us everywhere, day after day, with little time made to take care of them to help them do this safely. It all adds up, and the result may be that retirement can look quite different than what we’d imagined. The good news? It’s not too late to start looking after your feet. Here are four key ways to help look after your feet and legs so they can look after you through your retirement.  

1. Wear Supportive Shoes & Slippers

As your feet move along the ground, a variety of forces are transferred through your bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. One of the factors of ageing is that we have less natural protection in our feet, bones can be more prominent, and the threshold of what our feet can handle before injury occurs lessens – making us more vulnerable without the right support and protection. The role of a good shoe is to support the foot with every step, so that the impact of the forces is significantly lessened. This reduces your risk of pain and injury. Your shoes also help improve your stability at your feet and ankles, helping prevent falls and sprains. Given the thinner and more vulnerable nature of the skin in our golden years, wearing shoes outside and slippers inside also helps protect against cuts and wounds from stones, loose items on our floors, stubbing toes on the corners of tables and more.  

2. Keep Moving

It’s natural to assume that when we feel any pain, that we should be resting and taking it easy. This is likely what has caused many people to believe that in retirement, the more they rest, the healthier their body will grow and the less pain they’ll experience, if they’re currently experiencing any. The truth is quite the opposite. Staying active through retirement is an absolute must – and it’s this regular activity that will help us stay comfortable, mobile and independent. This is because physical activity helps us keep our muscles and our bones strong, so we can stay moving without restrictions. Physical activity has countless other benefits for our heart health and other illnesses, reducing the risk for diabetes and much more. The less we move, the weaker we’ll grow, and the less we’ll be able to move when we want to.  

3. Take Care Of Your Nails And Skin Around Your Feet

Caring for your nails and skin, especially before they become a problem, is an important way to help you stay active and do the things you love in your retirement. When callus is left and allowed to build up, it can quickly feel like you’re walking on a painful pebble. If nails are left unmanaged, they can grow hard, thick and painful.  If you find your feet difficult to reach and care for, or you’re unsure how to take the best care of your feet, see your podiatrist for professional help. Here at Perform Podiatry, we offer treatment for all skin and nail problems ranging from ingrown toenail to fungal nail infections to cracked heels and warts. We also offer medical pedicures for safe, hygienic foot care to give you peace of mind.  

4. Don’t Let Foot Or Leg Pain Progress Past A Niggle Or Ache

When a dull ache starts, or you experience pain, it’s your body’s warning sign that something isn’t quite right. It’s very important to listen to this sign, and a dull ache or niggle caused by a mild stress fracture or a mild muscle strain can quickly progress and worsen to a large fracture or a severe sprain or even tear in the muscle. The more severe the injury, the longer and more complex it is to manage and recover from. This takes away time from your hard-earned retirement where you’re unable to do the things you planned – and like we mentioned before, the more downtime you have, the weaker your body can grow and the more effort it takes to recover. If pain starts, we highly recommend seeing your podiatrist to help manage it and nip it at the bud. This is something we help many people with every week, with the goal of keeping them happy, mobile, active and doing the things they love. With treatment, it’s important to not just address the symptoms, but also understand why they occurred, to help prevent the problem from happening again in the future. This is an important focus for our podiatrists – we want to help you lead a long and active life without pain, as opposed to seeing us a few times a year for the same pain coming back and needing treatment.  

Want To Stay Active Through Your Retirement?

If your feet or legs are holding you back from the goal of staying active through your retirement, then our podiatry team here in Remuera, Auckland, are here to help. We’re proud to help thousands of people every year look after their foot health. We’d love for you to join us. Book your appointment by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book online.

Preventing Falls With Podiatry

Having a fall, whether it’s in our own home or when we’re out and about, can change our lives entirely. The injury we sustain from a fall can affect our ability to not only walk and move but stay independent – it might mean we have to stop living independently within our home and instead move into a care facility.  Here in New Zealand, according to ACC, approximately 30% to 60% of those aged over 65 years will have a fall every year – with up to 20% of these ending up in hospital with a broken bone – a figure that only increases in likelihood with age, with those aged above 85 years having the greatest risk. Once you have a fall, at any age, the risk of you having another fall increases greatly. Aside from the physical pain and restrictions, falls can take a significant toll on your mental health, with fear and anxiety over another fall becoming more prevalent and with less confidence when it comes to movement. Together, this leads to a hesitation to participate in physical activity and social events – and the less we move, the harder it becomes.

How do podiatrists help with falls?

As podiatrists focus on the function, movement and stability of the feet and legs, we help by:
  • Identifying the characteristics of your feet and legs, as well as your footwear, that make you more vulnerable to falling
  • Diagnosing any problems in the feet and legs that may be causing you to change the way you walk, or walk in a less-than-optimal way, that may increase your falls risk
  • Treating or managing the problems we identify to reduce your falls risk
  • Putting additional measures in place to improve your stability on your feet, or make walking easier and more comfortable
  • Assess your footwear to ensure it isn’t contributing to your falls risk and is instead helping you walk comfortably and safely

Footwear: Does it really matter?

The shoes you wear on a regular basis, or lack thereof, can play a large role in your falls risk. There are a number of things our patients never think of until we discuss it with them – like the weight of their shoes. When your shoes are heavy and clunky, it can weigh your foot down, especially when you may already have some weakness in the muscles in your feet and legs. This can make you more likely to catch the bottom of your shoe on the ground, making you more likely to trip and fall. Another feature is how much your shoe allows your foot to roll around from side-to-side. A good shoe should keep your foot steady and stable, whereas flimsy shoes will let your feet naturally roll from side to side, tiring the muscles in your feet and legs and making you more vulnerable to injuries – especially ankle sprains. While this may not be as obvious inside your home, the moment you go out for a walk and start walking over uneven ground, it can cause a big problem.

What happens when we fall?

When we fall, the big risk is that we have an injury like a fracture (broken bone). This is much more likely the older we get, given that the prevalence of osteoporosis (weak, fragile bones), as well as medical conditions like arthritis, are much higher, putting us at risk. Whether it’s an injured muscle, tendon or a broken bone, we’ll need to recover from our injury, which will see us either changing the way we walk and move (which can lead to a series of other pains and problems), or staying immobile in a cast, walker or moonboot for a period. When we’re immobilised, we stop using the surrounding muscles, causing them to weaken. This makes recovery and healthy movement even harder, and can be very stressful on our bodies – especially as we grow older. While we do help our patients recover from such injuries at all ages, we always believe that prevention is better than treatment, which is where falls prevention comes in.

Let’s prevent those falls

If you’re worried about falls – or about a family member having their first or another fall – bring them in to see our experienced podiatry team. We’ll go through a falls assessment and discuss the best ways to help them prevent falls and stay comfortable and mobile on their feet. Book your appointment online here or call us on (09) 523 2333.

Why podiatry appointment is a fantastic gift for Father’s Day!

Oh, dads. They’re fantastic. They’ve put up with us through our childhood and teenage years (and as parents raising small children, we appreciate this so much more!). They’ve worked hard for us and our families. They’ve finished the food off our plates when we couldn’t (or wouldn’t). They’ve told many a dad joke and embarrassed us in front of our friends. For many of us, they’ve now stepped seamlessly into the grandad role too. This weekend, we have the opportunity to celebrate them maybe a little more than we already do, and perhaps with a gift. We thought we’d suggest an idea that’s a little different from the regular ties, socks and shavers – and tell you exactly WHY it’s a perfect choice.

Gift idea: An appointment with a Podiatrist

We know, a Podiatrist is only for “old people”, right?  Wrong. Podiatrists treat not only older adults but also kids, athletes, anyone wanting to walk or run better, and anyone with any problem with their feet and legs – from an injury to having tired, achy legs at the end of the day. We have a myriad of knowledge about everything foot and leg related, and use it to improve your quality of life (we do all this here at Perform Podiatry, you’ll want to check with your local podiatrist that they offer an extensive range of services too).

So, what can a Podiatrist offer that will genuinely be helpful to and appreciated by dad?

Let us start with just three things. 1. Simply and painlessly removing the hard skin (callous) and corns that have built up from years of chasing around after you and working hard Yep, with excess pressure to the feet (and for many of our dads, their increasing weight), comes the development of hard, dry skin known as callous. This builds up as a direct response of how much walking dad does, and can quickly move from being barely noticeable, to uncomfortable, to painful. When there is an exact spot of pressure in a particular area of the foot, a corn can form and quickly become painful when stepped on. We safely, effectively and painlessly remove this dry, dead skin and dad will immediately feel a difference when he puts his feet down. 2. Help fix any pains or injuries that he swears “are just fine” and “will fix themselves” Yep, undoubtedly you will have heard that one before – just like we do on a regular basis! When it comes to foot and leg injuries, the rest and care needed for healing is much harder to achieve on your own because you’re constantly using the bones and muscles of the feet and legs everytime you walk. More importantly, the more you keep walking on an injury, the more likely it is for that injury to worsen and the longer your recovery will be. So trust us when we say that you’ll be doing dad a world of good both now and in the future if you let us help him properly take care of any pains or injuries, even if they’ve been there for a while. 3. Help him feel more comfortable throughout the day and less tired at the end of the day This is a problem not just for dads, but men and women of all ages – particularly if they spend long hours on their feet or have a condition that makes it less comfortable to walk – like arthritis. In these cases, we conduct a thorough assessment of dads feet and figure out the causes of his end-of-day achiness or general discomfort. We then have a variety of tools in the box to help with this both now and in the years to come. Even when it comes to arthritis where joints have degenerated from years of damage (osteoarthritis) or inflammatory symptoms and changes (rheumatoid arthritis), we’re able to reduce the daily pain by improving comfort through customised orthotic devices. For many patients, being able to reduce their pain by even 30% (this varies and can be more or less depending on the person) has a significantly positive impact on their quality of lives and their physical activities. Whatever is going on with dad’s feet and legs, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to help – and you know what they say about health being the greatest gift! If you’d like to know more about our services or the ways we can help, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 09 523 2333 to chat with one of our friendly team. And however you end up spending your Sunday, we hope that it’s fantastic and filled with love!   –  The Perform Podiatry team

Arthritis: How we can improve your comfort and relive your pain

Arthritis – it can be painful, frustrating and limiting for many New Zealanders. In fact, almost 50% of those aged over 60 years, and almost all over 80 years old, are affected by osteoarthritis arthritis in New Zealand. Yep, that means that if you haven’t already, you and your family members have a high chance of developing arthritis as we age! Often, arthritis is perceived to have limited treatment options because of its degenerative and irreversible nature. The truth is that while you can’t reverse the damage from osteoarthritis, we definitely have tools to help ease your pain and improve your comfort! But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis describes the wearing down of the cartilage that covers the ends of our bones at the joints. Cartilage typically functions to help absorb shock, acting as a rubbery cushion, as well as creating a slippery surface for bones to move smoothly and efficiently past one another. As the cartilage is worn down, bones start to rub against one another. This causes pain and limits our ability to easily (and painlessly) move our joints and perform our everyday tasks.

What causes arthritis?

The term ‘wear and tear’ that is often associated with osteoarthritis refers to the loads that we put on the joints during our lifetime that cause them to wear down. This being said, any repetitive activity or action that overloads and stresses the joints can contribute to the development and progression of osteoarthritis. For example, this may be from our work, or may be as a result of increased weight (or both). Other contributing factors can include previous injury to our joints or bones, or infections. While osteoarthritis isn’t typically hereditary, it can run in families.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of osteoarthritis progress and worsen over time, meaning you’ll likely start off with a twinge or mild discomfort in a joint. While not all changes to the joints are symptomatic, symptoms that present can include:
  • Painful at the joints which may be exacerbated by use
  • Swelling and redness
  • Limited movement at joints
  • Creaking in the joints
  • Changes to the bone/joint shape (including irregular bony growth at the joints)
  • Weakened muscles surrounding the joints

How is it treated and what can you start doing today to ease the pain?

While the damage from osteoarthritis can’t be reversed or treated completely, they can be managed so you can feel more comfortable, have less pain, and generally move better. Our team specialise in custom-designed orthotics that will take pressure away from the painful joints and alter the way your foot and joints function. By changing your foot biomechanics and redistributing pressure, painful symptoms can be relieved or lessened, meaning that walking and performing daily activities can become a lot more comfortable. It also means that with the progression of your symptoms can be slowed by reducing the stress on the joints of your feet. We’ll also assess your footwear, talk about low-impact exercises to give you back strength and mobility to your joints, and discuss your regular activities and how they’re impacting on your symptoms and progression of arthritis. For more information or to book an appointment, give us a call on 09 523 2333, and we’ll be happy to help!