A burning tingling sensation on the bottom of the feet or involving the toes is often a symptom of peripheral neuropathy. This condition describes an abnormality of the nerve endings that are found in the feet. All nerves begin in the central nervous system which is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord. The nerve endings in the feet begin in the lower portion of the spinal cord.
Neuropathy can occur for many different reasons. One of the most common reasons is due to poor blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Nerves and nerve endings are very sensitive to blood sugar levels and levels too high cause damage to the nerve endings. Other causes of nerve damage include a deficiency of vitamin B12, an excess of vitamin B6 and even elevated levels of mercury in the blood and tissues. Sometimes genetics are the cause of neuropathy and multiple family members will have the same symptoms. Sometimes damage from a bulging or damaged disc in the lumbar area of the low back can cause a neuropathy in the feet.
When possible it is important to determine the cause of the neuropathy. Often times however the damage is done and not reversible. But the symptoms can sometimes be improved either with correcting the deficiency if it is diet related, or reducing the nerve irritation if it is a low back disc issue. And sometimes medication can help improve the symptoms.
While many neuropathies cause abnormal sensations in the feet in some cases people lose all the feeling in their feet. These people could step on a metal thumb tack and not feel any pain. It is important to know as much about your neuropathy as possible to help address the symptoms, prevent it from getting worse and help prevent unnecessary skin ulcerations.