Q: What causes a burning sensation in legs when lying down?


Burning legs can result from a number of causes, including damage to nerves in the legs from exposure to extreme heat or cold or to toxic substances. Burning sensation in legs might also result from a circulation problem that impairs blood flow to the legs, a leg injury, or intense exercise.

Other possible causes of burning legs:

  • Meralgia paresthetica, which is pain in the outer thigh due to nerve compression
  • Chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or diabetic neuropathy
  • Peripheral artery disease, which is a narrowing or blockage of arteries which limits blood flow to extremities.
  • Peripheral neuropathy caused by damage to the peripheral nerves that relay signals between the body and the brain and spinal cord

Was this helpful?
  1. Peripheral neuropathy. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  2. NINDS paresthesia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
  3. Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
  4. Burning thigh pain (meralgia paresthetica). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
  5. Tierney LM Jr., Saint S, Whooley MA (Eds.) Current Essentials of Medicine (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.
  6. Collins RD. Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care, 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Williams, 2012.
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