This site is intended for healthcare professionals
Login | Register (NOW FREE)

Medical search

burning feet syndrome (BFS)

FREE subscriptions for doctors and students... click here
You have 3 open access pages.

  • burning feet syndrome (BFS) is characterised by a sensation of burning and heaviness in the feet and lower extremities
    • Grierson was, in 1826, was the earliest to document the symptom of burning feet. However a detailed description was given by Gopalan in 1946, hence, BFS is also known as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome

  • no specific aetiology for BFS - often is idiopathic

  • may be associated with nutritional/endocrine causes e.g.
    • vitamin B deficiency
    • diabetes mellitus
    • renal failure (dialysis patients)
    • hypothyroidism

  • most common in those over 50 years; although can occur in any age group
    • symptoms characterised by a burning sensation, heaviness, numbness, or a dull ache in the feet
      • burning is usually limited to the soles of the feet but may ascend to involve the dorsum, ankles or lower legs
        • arms and palms of the hands are spared
        • sometimes a patient may complain of 'pins and needles' or tingling in the lower extremities
        • symptoms show worsening at night and a day time improvement
    • on examination, there is a paucity of objective signs

  • investigations
    • first line investigations include FBC, ESR, U+Es, B12, TFTs, fasting glucose

  • treatment
    • specific measures
      • depend on the cause
    • general measures
      • wearing open and comfortable shoes, particularly those with arch supports, and wearing cotton socks is helpful (1)
      • symptomatic relief can be brought about by soaking the feet in cold water (not ice cold) for around 15 minutes
      • avoidance of feet exposure to heat
      • pharmacological therapies include tricyclic antidepressants and membrane stabilising agents (such as carbamazepine or gabapentin)


  1. Makkar RP et al. Burning feet syndrome. A clinical review. Aust Fam Physician. 2003 Dec;32(12):1006-9.


The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Copyright 2016 Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ®. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ® receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence. GPnotebook stores small data files on your computer called cookies so that we can recognise you and provide you with the best service. If you do not want to receive cookies please do not use GPnotebook.