Hot feet can have many causes, ranging from diabetic neuropathy to a rare condition called erythromelalgia. In some cases, hot feet can become painful, making it difficult to sleep at night.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what can cause hot feet, as well as strategies to keep your feet cool at night.

What can cause hot feet? 

There are many possible causes of hot or burning feet.

Nerve damage, or neuropathy, is the most common cause of hot feet. Peripheral neuropathy can affect your legs and feet, causing burning, tingling, or numbness.

Other conditions associated with hot feet include:

  • Hormonal changes. Conditions that affect hormone levels, such as an underactive thyroid, pregnancy, or menopause, can trigger hot feet.
  • Erythromelalgia. This rare condition is characterized by symptoms such as redness, burning, and pain in the feet and hands, often triggered by an increase in body temperature.
  • Athlete’s foot. Also known as tinea pedis, athletes foot is a fungal infection associated with burning, tingling, and itchiness in the feet.
  • Kidney disease. Chronic Kidney disease affects your body’s ability to filter toxins from your blood. Toxins can build up in your feet, causing excess heat.

Sometimes other factors can contribute to the sensation of hot feet at night. Your feet may feel hot if you wear socks to bed, use a heating pad or hot water bottle, or sleep under thick bedcovers.

What can you do to cool down your feet at night? 

Try these approaches and treatments to keep your feet cool at night.

1. Identify the cause of hot feet

Treating the underlying cause of your hot feet can often help alleviate symptoms. For instance, if you have diabetes, you may need to change your diet or take medication.

If excessive alcohol consumption is a factor, there are many treatments available, including rehab, therapy, and medication.

Make an appointment with your Resonance Podiatrist to talk about your symptoms and get a diagnosis for your hot feet.

2. Topical creams and ointments

A number of topical creams can help alleviate burning feet. Again, it depends on the cause of your symptoms.

If you have athlete’s foot, antifungal foot creams and other topical ointments may help clear up your symptoms.


3. Improve foot circulation

Hot feet are sometimes associated with poor circulation. To improve blood circulation in your feet, try the following:

  • Wear comfortable shoes throughout the day.
  • Wear circulation-friendly gel inserts in your shoes.
  • Take a foot bath with Epsom salts before bed.
  • Use a bed wedge to elevate your legs to the level of your heart.
  • Wear gel or compression socks throughout the day or at night.
  • Massage your feet before bed.

4. Feet-cooling techniques

Some conditions, such as erythromelalgia, have no known treatment. When the underlying cause of hot feet is unknown or untreatable, the following feet-cooling techniques can help cool down your feet at night:

  • Sleep with your feet out of the covers.
  • Place a small fan at the end of your bed.
  • Fill a hot water bottle with ice water and place it near your feet.
  • Keep a pair of socks in the fridge or freezer and put them on before going to bed.

5. Lifestyle changes

A number of conditions that cause hot feet may be linked to daily habits. Making small changes to your routine may help gradually improve the symptoms of hot feet.

Some lifestyle changes that may help include:

  • taking regular walks
  • trying to quit smoking if you currently smoke
  • eating a balanced diet
  • avoiding excess alcohol consumption

The bottom line

Hot feet can be more than a mere inconvenience, especially if they wake you up at night.

Peripheral neuropathies (nerve damage) are the most common cause of hot feet. Neuropathies have many possible causes, including diabetes, alcohol misuse, and infections. Treating the underlying cause of nerve damage can help relieve hot or burning feet.

Other ways to keep your feet cool at night include freezing your socks, using a cold pack or cold water bottle, and pointing a fan toward your feet.



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