When someone experiences hot feet and sweaty feet, there’s definitely something wrong. Any sensation of fire, burning, coldness, tingling or the feeling of ants crawling on any part of the body is a characteristic of one major problem. Do you know what that problem is?
These sensations – especially hot feet are a characteristic associated with a nerve that is firing rapidly, letting your body know that there’s pressure on that nerve.
In the body, there are two types of nerves – sensory nerves, or nerves that allow you to feel and sense your environment, and motor nerves, or nerves that allow you to move your muscles.
When you have hot feet or sweaty feet, these are sensations that are felt and thus, the sensory nerves are affected. One of the common health problems that people have with their feet is called neuroma.
A neuroma occurs in the feet when the common digital nerve between the metatarsal heads is compressed. Once the nerve is compressed, it sends out distress signals for you to get help, such as burning hot feet, sweaty feet, or tingling sensations. Some experts describe neuromas as bundles of pinched nerves. Neuromas can occur in different areas of the body, and when they are located between the third and fourth toes, they are called Morton’s Neuroma.
What Does It Feel Like To Have A Neuroma?
Once you squeeze a nerve, there will be inflammation, which begins between the bones in the ball of the foot. This will cause pain.
The symptoms that result from a neuroma in the foot include:
• Pain that radiates from the ball of the foot to the toes
• Tenderness that is felt in the soft tissue between the metatarsals
• When you apply pressure to the sole of your foot and squeeze the sole and metatarsals together, you feel a click.
• Burning, sharp pain that is increased when walking
• Relief when you get a foot massage
What Causes Neuromas?
If you have bunions, flat feet or hammer toes, you are more susceptible to develop neuromas.
Any motion that squeezes and compresses the nerves in the ball of the foot will create a neuroma after time especially if it is repeated. Narrow shoes are a big offender! High heels cause the compression of the toes and are another culprit in causing neuromas.
Here are two other causes of neuroma:
1. Activities performed on the ball of the feet, such as running.
2. Certain types of dance, such as ballet. Ballerinas are notorious for problems with neuromas.
Treatment And Relief From Neuromas
The first thing to remember about neuromas is that the sooner you treat them, the better off you will be. Pinching and compressing a nerve can only go on for so long before permanent damage sets in. In the early stages, follow these guidelines:
1. Wear wide shoes! Stop squeezing those poor little toes into tight shoes!
2. Stop any activities that put pressure on the ball of your foot. This means if you’re used to running 20 miles a week, cut your mileage down to one-tenth of that or only two miles a week. Judge your results on your healing process. Did the decrease in mileage do enough to start the healing? If not, stop the running altogether.
3. Use ice and heat when the pain of hot feet becomes too painful. An ice bath might not sound very good but works very well to decrease the inflammation. It can be followed by heat.
4. Wear cushioned insoles, metatarsal pads under the neuroma, orthotic arch supports.
The cushioned insoles that may be a good choice are the Spenco Flow Cool Insoles. When you walk or run, your feet warm up, and if they get too hot, you’ll end up with sweaty feet. Spenco flow cool insoles wick away the moisture and cools the foot down, which is of benefit when you have hot feet.
Insoles may also have an antibacterial fabric covering them which would help decrease the odor from sweaty feet.
Metatarsal pads elevate the transverse metatarsal arch which relieves pressure on the neuroma. Metatarsal pads will disperse the pressure to other areas of the foot.
Correction of the longitudinal arches with orthotic arch supports is always important if you have flat feet, as well. They may also be useful as a corrective aid if your feet tend to go into excessive pronation. Pronation increases the stress on the second metatarsal and can also cause a spreading apart of the metatarsal heads that leads to neuromas.
5. Avoid high heels.
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By Dr. Donna Schwontkowski (ret. D.C.)