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You feel burning because the nerves in your feet have been affected by your diabetes. "Painful neuropathy" is a term used to describe diabetic feet that are painful without an obvious cause. People with painful neuropathy usually describe a "pins and needles" sensation or a dull burning in the feet and legs that is more apparent at night (when there are few other things to distract you). You may also experience frequent leg cramps. Because painful neuropathy is difficult to cure once it is established, the best treatment is to prevent it by controlling your blood glucose. These nerve problems occur more frequently in men and in people who have had diabetes for many years, are tall, smoke, or have poor blood glucose control.
If you already have painful neuropathy, there are treatments available that provide some relief for about 50% of people. These treatments include the use of antidepressant medicines, certain heart medications, and creams made from chili peppers (capsaicin). These creams are rubbed on the feet to desensitize them. If you do not get relief from one of these treatments, the good news is that the pain from this neuropathy often lessens over time.