Grierson-Gopalan syndrome is also known as burning feet syndrome and, as its latter name suggests, it is a condition in which patients feel as if their feet were burning. Aside from this, they also feel pain.
The burning feet syndrome causes vasomotor changes in the feet. This means that the blood vessels in the feet change their diameter which results in excessive sweating and increased pain when the vessels constrict. This causes reduced delivery of oxygen to the tissues and increased amounts of acids which result in – pain.
Burning feet also come with hyperesthesia, which is an increase in sensitivity to various forms of stimuli. This also increases the feeling of pain, since even the slightest stimulus can cause abnormal pain sensation.
What are the symptoms of burning feet/Grierson-Gopalan?
The name is pretty self explanatory. The most common symptom is the feeling of burning soles and feet which can range from mild to severe and either be a minor nuisance, or a seriously hampering condition.
However, as you will see in the section about the causes of the burning feet syndrome, there is more to it. Simply put, that kind of a number of causes is bound to produce a variety of symptoms. Aside from the hot feet symptom, patients can also feel tingling, dull pain, heaviness or numbness in their feet.
Having painful feet and hands at the same time is less common, as hands are usually spared, but some patients have reported such occurrence. It is not clear if there is a different reason for this.
Despite the hot feet symptom being the most prominent one and soles being the most affected, the feeling can spread to ankles and lower legs area. It rarely goes beyond that.
Nighttime is when the heated feet symptoms are the worst and most patients experience the sensation of burning feet at night only. Even if it keeps them awake during the night, they usually feel improvement as the morning approaches. There is no apparent reason and some physicians suggest that this might be so due to the amount of rest that the feet get while the patients are in bed.
Vast majority of patients are women aged between 20 and 40. This is why you can find this condition under the term hot woman feet. However, unlike conditions such as AMPS where more than 80% of patients are pre-adolescent or adolescent girls, the burning feet syndrome is a widely spread condition affecting almost anyone.
What causes hot hands and feet at night?
The causes are not completely clear yet. However, many of the patients have reported that their family members also experienced the same condition, which may suggest that the syndrome can be inherited.
However, it goes well past that. Here is a quick overview of the wide variety of causes that can result in the burning feet syndrome:
The condition is often connected to vitamin deficiency. The burning feet syndrome vitamin deficiency usually stands for the reduced amounts of vitamins B3, B5 and B6.
Nerves are most often affected during the burning feet syndrome. One of the most common problems is the constriction of the foot nerve in the tarsal tunnel. Other forms of pressures to the nerves and different types of neuropathy are also common causes, as is obesity since it creates additional pressure on the soles and feet. There are also some diseases which lead to the burning feeling in the feet and they include rheumatic arthritis and even diabetes, since the elevated levels of sugar in the body can cause nerve damage in the feet which then result in the burning sensation and pain.
Other conditions which can lead to the burning feet syndrome are thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism (thyroid which is underactive), renal failure or any chronic kidney disease (often present with dialysis patients), liver failure, but also chronic alcohol use, exposure to toxins, athlete’s foot fungal infections…
Chemotherapy is another common cause of the burning feet syndrome as is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease which is a term for several different hereditary disorders which can affect the nerves in arms and legs.
The list doesn’t end there. Complex regional pain syndrome (which is a disease that includes chronic pain caused by a dysfunctional nervous system) and HIV/AIDS and many other diseases include the burning feet syndrome to their list of adverse symptoms.
What is the treatment for burning feet/Grierson-Gopalan
Having in mind the sheer variety of medical issues and conditions that lead to the burning feet syndrome, the treatment options also vary greatly.
They can range from simple changes such as wearing shoes which are open and comfortable and which feature good arch supports or soaking feet in cold but not freezing water for about 20 minutes a day to treatment of serious diseases and getting rid of the burning feeling in your feet in this way.
Patients are also sometimes prescribed triclyclic antidepressants and membrane stabilizers.
We have already mentioned that vitamin B deficiency can cause the burning feet syndrome. The vitamins in question are B3, B5 and/or B6, so vitamin B supplementation can solve the burning feet issue completely, provided that the mentioned deficiency is the source of the problem. Due to the way it is generated, vitamin B is often lacking in the human body, with estimates going even to 50% of the population when it comes to B12. Also, absorption of vitamin B can be an issue. This is why the mentioned B3, B5 and B6 should always be taken with a B complex. This is so because various different kinds of vitamin B are used for metabolizing each other, so taking just one of them can make patients deficient in the others. If the vitamin B deficiency is the cause of the burning feet syndrome, proper supplementation can resolve the issue completely and also improve other health aspects.
Patients who experience cramps along with the burning feet sensation have seen significant improvement after magnesium supplementation.
Many patients have turned to herbal remedies such as Siberian ginseng, licorice and astragalus, but their effects do depend on the source of the problem.
Reducing stress, spending time in nature, doing yoga, meditation or any other form of relaxing, as well as having foot massages have all led to relieving the symptoms, of course provided that the cause does not lie in another disease which needs a different kind of treatment.
Speaking of which, the list of the diseases that are accompanied by the burning feet syndrome is very long, as you have seen in the section about the causes. If they are the cause, treating them will inevitably bring improvement.
However, there is a way patients can put many of the diseases under one treatment option and even combine it with the others. This treatment option for the burning feet syndrome is palmitoylethanolamide (PEA).
It is a fatty acid that can be found in the body naturally. It is produced when the body needs to deal with pain, inflammation or any kind of cell and tissue recovery, so adding it as a supplement or applying it as a topical cream naturally increases the body’s ability to protect itself.
These pain managing and anti-inflammatory properties are already enough to make PEA a good option for the burning feet syndrome, but there is more.
Pain is controlled by PEA through the endocannabinoid system and control of iNOS, COX-2 and the influx of neutrophils. This means that applying PEA cream on the feet can relieve the symptoms very quickly. This neuropathy cream can do wonders for the burning feet. On the other hand, taking PEA capsules as a supplement, or even better, liposomal PEA increases the levels of palmitoylethanolamide in the body overall and thus supports general improvement.
However, its effects on the endocannabinoid system mean that peaCURE can also be used to deal with many of the diseases which cause the burning feet syndrome. For example, nerve damage benefits are among the ones that are most recognized features of PEA.
Moreover, several medical studies and numerous reports from patients reported improvements coming from the use of palmitoylethanolamide for diabetes patients. This is understandable when we have in mind that PEA relieves diabetic pain, but also that it affects the secretion of incretin and insulin by binding to one of its target receptors – GPR119.
PEA also affects PPAR-alpha and CB1 receptors which are present in the kidney and liver, which means that it is beneficial for the patients experiencing failure of either of these organs. These failures and other chronic liver and kidney diseases, as explained previously, often come with the burning feet syndrome.
Despite all these benefits regarding PEA and the burning feet syndrome, probably the widest benefits come from PEA’s effects against literally any kind of peripheral neuropathy. Nerve damage is most often the primary reason for the burning feet syndrome and dealing with peripheral neuropathy resolves vast majority of these issues.