Hot feet or a burning feeling are common among walkers and runners. As you walk or run, your feet will naturally warm up. Overheating is frequently caused by resolvable issues with your socks and shoes, as well as exhaustion after a lengthy workout.
Burning feet, on the other hand, might be a sign of a medical issue like an athlete’s foot or nerve damage. Being aware of these can assist you in immediately identifying remedies to alleviate any discomfort. Self-care, changing your footwear, and addressing concerns that may be treated at home should be your initial actions.
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Hot shoes and insoles
If you get hot feet when walking or jogging, it’s possible that your shoes and how you wear them are responsible. Consider the following options:
Choose cloth or mesh shoes instead of full leather shoes: You may be wearing the wrong shoes which might be made up of leather which is not a breathable material. As you are walking and running your feet will get warm and sweaty so you need to get the right shoe for you which has proper air circulation like shoes with mesh material.
Get the right size shoes for you: Your feet will get swelled when you walk or run for a long time so it’s necessary to get the right size shoe for you. If you get a small size shoe then there will not be much air circulation and also you will have more friction between your feet and the shoe. And if you get a larger shoe then also there will be more friction because your feet will move inside the shoe that will create friction.
Lubricate your feet: The use of an anti-blister/chafing product can save your feet from having blisters and sore feet. Also, this will help reduce friction.
Lace the right way: It’s possible that you’re tying your shoes too tight, restricting blood flow and aggravating the nerves at the top of your foot. One finger should be able to slide beneath the knot. Remember that when you walk or run, your feet may expand, and you may need to loosen your laces once you’ve warmed up. Lacing methods should be learned so that they are not excessively tight over sensitive places.
Choose cushioning: Overheating can be caused by fatigue on your feet after long days of walking. Longer distances may necessitate extra cushioning in your shoes. Look for shoes with decent cushioning and are built for increased mileage.
Replace your insole: Some insoles make your feet warm. Even if your shoes are made up of good material like mesh and are breathable too. So, you definitely need to replace your existing insole with the new one. And you should consider an insole of good company.
I personally use this insole which has lasted me a long time. I have tried a lot of different insoles and this one has way more cushion and support.
You can read more on whether hiking insoles are worth it or not here.
You may have sensitive skin that is allergic to fabric, dyes, adhesives, or leather chemicals in your shoes. You might face itching due to this so it’s important to choose the right pair of shoes and of a good brand so that you can enjoy your hiking without any interruption.
You can be mindful and note that if your symptoms occur only when you wear those shoes.
You can try different kinds and brands of shoes and you should also read about that shoes like what adhesive has been used, what fabric has been used, is it breathable or not, which dye has been used to colour that shoe etc.
It’s possible that the cloth next to your foot is adding to your hot feet. Take the following actions to resolve the problem:
Choose the right wool: Many people experience itching and burning when wearing wool socks. If you prefer wool, try wearing hypoallergenic wool socks to see if the problem persists. Certain mixtures can even cause allergic reactions in some people. Hikers consider merino wool to be the finest alternative.
These are the socks that I personally wear, however, you can go for any other type of hiking socks.
Avoid cotton: Cotton is a natural material, but it is ineffective for walking since it absorbs perspiration and keeps the foot damp, if not wet. Socks composed of synthetic fibres, or even better, wool, are preferable.
Be mindful: If you notice significant heat in your feet, check the socks you’re wearing. You could be allergic to other fibres or colours in the socks. You might possibly be allergic to laundry detergents and should try a new type or brand.
Years of unmanaged high blood sugar can cause your blood vessels and nerves to deteriorate. The transmission of messages from the nerves is slowed by high blood sugar. Various regions of the body, including the feet, may experience changes in feeling as a result of this. The blood vessel walls that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the nerves are also weakened by high blood sugar.
Nerve injury can develop anywhere in your body. Nerve damage, often known as neuropathy, affects 60 to 70 percent of patients with diabetes. If you do any of the following, you’re more likely to get neuropathy:
- are obese
- have high blood pressure
- smoke cigarettes
- drink alcohol
Peripheral neuropathy is the term for nerve injury in the legs and feet. The most prevalent kind of diabetic neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy. A burning sensation in your feet is a symptom of this form of neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy affects the arms and hands less commonly.
Peripheral neuropathy can also cause the following symptoms:
- numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
- a feeling like you’re wearing a tight sock
- sharp, stabbing pains
- weakness or heavy feeling in your legs or arms
- excessive sweating
Fungus on your feet
You can’t see them, but you frequently have itching between your toes, as well as skin peeling off.
The sensation of heat might be excruciating.
You’ll need to take proper care of your feet in this scenario.
For further information, talk to your doctor. However, here’s what you can do right now to avoid this issue:
Change shoes regularly and dry them in the sun: Fungi thrive in moist environments, so change your shoes often and dry them in the sun. Don’t be afraid to wash shoes every now and again, and use baking soda to get rid of odours (sprinkle a heaping spoonful of baking soda into each shoe). It should be placed in strategic locations. Turn it on for at least 12 hours, if not more. After that, dump the shoes and brush away any leftovers.)
Keep your feet clean and dry: You should always wash your feet with warm water with antiseptic in it. So that all the fungus and germs get destroyed and also dry your feet after washing them.
Visit pharmacy: There are many types of powders are available in the pharmacy store which can treat fungus and also prevent it from happening again.
The athlete’s foot is an infectious fungus that commonly affects athletes. Tinea pedis, often known as athlete’s foot, can affect the toenails and hands.
A burning, tingling, or itchy feeling between the toes or on the soles of the feet is one of the most prevalent symptoms of an athlete’s foot. You may also encounter:
- blisters on the feet that itch
- the skin between the toes or on the soles of the feet that is cracking and peeling
- the skin on the sides or soles of the feet that are dry
- foot with raw skin
- Pulling away from the nail bed or appearing discoloured, thick, and crumbly toenails
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT)
The most frequent type of hereditary nerve disease is CMT. It has an effect on the nerves that govern muscular movement. It’s a progressive illness, which means the symptoms get worse with time. Burning or pins and needles in the feet or hands are two of the initial symptoms. Clumsiness and muscular atrophy are two more signs.
CMT affects around one out of every 2,500 people in the United States. It was called after the three doctors who described it for the first time in 1886. Peroneal muscular atrophy and inherited motor and sensory neuropathy are two more names for it.
Malnutrition-related burning feet were more prevalent in the past, although it still occurs in places affected by famine or other calamities. During World War II, an estimated one-third of American POWs in the Pacific suffered from malnutrition-related burning foot syndrome.
Nerve damage in today’s population, particularly among the elderly, may be linked to deficits in:
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin B-9
- Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B deficiency can result in burning feet and issues with muscular coordination.
Vitamin B deficiency can cause anaemia, which is a lack of healthy red blood cells. Fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath are further signs of vitamin deficiency anaemia.
Small fibre sensory neuropathy (SFSN)
SFSN is a painful neuropathy that causes burning sensations in the feet. Other symptoms include numbness in the feet and discomfort in brief spurts. It occurs when the myelin sheath, which covers and protects nerve fibres, is lost. Diabetes can be a factor, even if the aetiology is unknown in most situations.
Personal care for hot feet while hiking
A few minor adjustments or tweaks to your daily routine and habits might be beneficial.
Soak your feet in cold water for a few minutes. Ice should not be used since it might harm your skin.
To discover if your shoes, socks, or insoles are contributing to the problem, try switching them out.
After the trek, change your shoes and socks and allow them to air dry instead of placing them in a gym bag. Fungus growth will be reduced as a result of this.
Alternate between at least two pairs of hiking shoes and socks (I know that carrying a second pair of hiking shoes can be heavy in your backpack).
Wearing shoes that are too worn out is not a good idea. Hiking shoes have a finite lifespan, so if you enjoy using them, replace them with the same type.
While hiking, use the correct socks, foot powder, lubricant, and cover the areas where friction occurs to avoid blisters.
Consult your doctor about the burning in your feet, as well as any tingling or numbness in your hands or other parts of your body.
You can also check out this guide which provides tips on protecting your toes while downhill hiking here.
If your feet become heated during hiking, you may be able to cool them down by switching shoes and socks.
Wash your feet with warm water with antiseptic in it. So that all the fungus and germs get destroyed and also dry your feet after washing them.
When you’re active, your feet naturally heat up and swell, and you’ll need the correct shoes and socks to assist them to release that heat.
Consult your doctor if your symptoms continue and are not related to walking.
Any indicators of an infected wound should also be addressed, especially if you are ill.