MS Burning Feet and Hands Could Be Erythromelalgia

MS Burning Feet and Hands Could Be Erythromelalgia

Faith of the Mustard Seed
is a rare and painful multiple sclerosis (MS) symptom that I (and others with MS) experience. Almost every night my feet have a tight, swollen feeling accompanied by a terribly hot, burning sensation. It is usually cool to the touch but can feel hot at certain times when a small area of my feet turns bright red.

I have found that elevating my feet and having my husband massage a cooling lotion on them can help alleviate some of the pain. Taking a leg cramp pill that has magnesium or a cannabis edible will help ease the discomfort.

I have always felt my bouts with erythromelalgia have something to do with a vascular problem. I suspected this because when my feet get that tight feeling, I notice there is a raised vein on the top of my foot.

It looks as if my theory was supported in an article titled,”Erythromelalgia as a manifestation of autonomic nervous system involvement in multiple sclerosis,” published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. The article states, “Erythromelalgia is a rare condition characterized by burning pain, erythema and increased temperature of the hands or the feet.” Although the cause of erythromelalgia is not fully known, it is thought to be a “peripheral vascular dysfunction that leads to simultaneous tissue hypoxia.”

The U.K.’s National Health Services (NHS) also believe that the cause for erythromelalgia is unknown. However, they suggest that it could be genetics, having an abnormal amount of blood cells, damage to the peripheral nervous system, multiple sclerosis, or an autoimmune disorder. It could also be the result of taking drugs like verapamil or nifedipine.

According to NHS, some of the treatments for erythromelalgia are cooling of the skin, elevating the problem area, and staying in a cool environment. There are certain drugs that can be prescribed as well. Some triggers listed are increased body temperature, exercise, warm socks, gloves or tight shoes, dehydration, drinking alcohol, or eating spicy food.

It is good to know there are different treatment options out there for erythromelalgia. If you are experiencing this problem the best course of action is to be checked out by your doctor and to discuss which treatment option works best for you.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


    • Vaj says:

      Hello, I have had this for ages, the “burning feet sensation” , worse when i had socks on whole day or visited countries with hot climates. Always worse at night< i have been on "Gebapatin tablets" now almost a year and believe me i dont have the problem at all. Good luck.

    • michelle brenner says:

      I wake up during the night with severe burning pain in my heel It is unreal and will try some of the over counter cooling gels or coconut oil

  1. Ember says:

    I have had this since 2015, I’m not diagnosed with MS but it’s high on the suspect list with all my other symptoms, in the midst of testing now.
    I have red palms and bottoms of my feet, sting and burn, tight feeling and my toes are stiff like a board most of the time. I’m unable to walk most days because of it.
    Thanks for your post

  2. Rachael Curtiss says:

    I experience the flushed warm swollen feet when it’s late spring, summer time. My toes are usually always cold though. Although I agree bad circulation is involved I don’t think my issues are erythromelalgia. Winters have been more of a problem. Painful feet and hands. So painful. Problem with the feet feels like neuropathy. Anyway. I suffer from Reynauds Syndrome. Another possible symptom of MS.

    • Debi Wilson says:

      That’s interesting Rachael, thanks for sharing what your symptoms are. I have a different experience and have the symptoms year round. It seems to be another mystery like a lot of things to do with MS! Best wishes to you! Debi

  3. Virginia Smalley says:

    Tonight my left leg is terribly engorged red angry and the ball of my feet feel as if they are scorching yet when i touch the feet do not feel particularly hot. I had my leg checked for thrombosis two days ago there was none. I am taking an antibiotic but day four and leg is huge very sore and I feel over whelmed by this new occurrence. Interestingly yes I have intermittent cramp in calf muscles and hot pain to ankles. I was relieved to read I am not alone and following every ones advice I shall speak to Doc again tomorrow.

  4. Kathi Peterson says:

    I had back surgery 4 years ago and have had problems with on going pain and spasms. The doctor prescribed gabapentin, which caused my leg to swell. It was extremely painful. I quit taking the gabapentin, the leg pain then resolved. The doctor then put me on baclofen which made my feet swell and burn terribly. I have discontinued baclofen and the burning has stopped. Always keep track of new meds and the onset of any new conditions that arise.

  5. Sally says:

    I have not been diagnosed with ME yet but I have all the symptoms. An anti-itch lotion, Sarna, really helps the terrible foot pain.

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