There could be a variety of conditions that are causing your feet to itch. Anyone can get itchy skin, including on the feet, and figuring out how to treat it depends on what is causing the itchiness in the first place. Feet are especially prone to becoming itchy, and many situations can lead to itchy feet; such as moisture, dry environments, irritants, fungi, or other infections.
Itchy feet alone is probably not a cause for concern and can usually be cleared up with home care. However, if your feet have been itchy over a period time or seem to be getting worse, then it could be a sign that there is an underlying disease or condition that needs to be treated in order to relieve itchiness on your feet. Read this article to learn ways to prevent itchy feet, symptoms associated with itchy feet, causes of itchy feet and how to treat it.
Ways to Prevent Itchy Feet in the First Place
It is always easier to prevent than it is to treat in most cases. While some of these prevention methods could treat the underlying cause of itchy feet, it is beneficial to use these protocols to avoid irritants that may cause your feet to itch in the first place. Below are the best ways to avoid itchy feet.
When you're going out in the sun, it can be easy to forget your feet during your sunscreen regimen. If you plan on going outside, remember to use at least SPF 30 on your feet. Sunscreen will keep your feet from getting a sunburn, which can lead to dryness and itchiness.
If you do get a sunburn on your feet, it is important to keep it moisturized to keep your skin from getting worse. Even if your feet are not burned, keeping your feet moisturized with lotion can help reduce itchiness.
Let Your Skin Breathe
If you notice that your feet are only itchy when you wear certain fabrics, it may be time to give those up. Things like wool can irritate your skin on your feet and make them itchy. Wearing lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and breathable shoes should help provide some relief.
Lotions, perfumes, laundry detergent etc. can contain harsh chemicals that irritate your skin. Opt for mild or natural cleansers and lotions, especially those labeled hypoallergenic.
Avoid Hot Showers or Baths
Hot water can strip the natural oils off of your feet, leaving them itchy and irritated. Instead, use lukewarm water and limit the length of your baths or showers if possible. Once you are finished bathing, adding moisturizer afterward can also help to restore any moisture lost during the shower.
Ways to Prevent Itchy Feet in the First Place
Depending on the cause of your itchy feet, symptoms can vary. In addition to itchiness, you may also have blisters, cracked areas, rashes, redness, swelling or white spots. You could also have no other symptom other than itchy feet depending on what is causing it.
When to See a Doctor
If your symptoms do not go away with at home treatments or seem to get worse over time, schedule an appointment with your doctor to ensure there is no other underlying illness going on. Your doctor may ask which medications you're taking, if you have been around anyone with a rash, if you have been exposed to irritants, or if you have any chronic illnesses that could be causing itchy feet.
10 Causes of Itchy Feet and How to Treat Them
There are many things that could be causing your feet to itch, so knowing the other symptoms associated may help you determine what exactly is causing you discomfort. Once you know the cause, it becomes easy to treat. Below are the 10 causes of itchy feet and how to treat them.
Dry feet is a common cause of having feet that itch. If you have been using products that contain harsh chemicals or irritants, spending a lot of time in the sun, taking hot showers, or wearing itchy fabrics, it is possible that your feet are dry. Staying hydrated and avoiding anything that can strip the oils from your feet can help prevent your itchy feet from getting worse. Using moisturizer on your feet regularly can give you relief, and if they are really dry, apply moisturizer while your feet are still damp for added locked in moisture.
Athletes foot is a fungal infection and is often the cause of itchy feet. Fungus thrives in dark, damp areas such as your feet, especially if you wear fabrics or shoes that aren't breathable. It is also not uncommon to pick up athletes foot in public places where you may not be wearing shoes, such as the public pool or gym. You may notice red and cracked skin along with the itchiness and sometimes blisters are present. Using over the counter antifungal creams can usually clear it up.
Eczema can be a variety of skin problems that cause dry and itchy skin. If your itchy feet is due to eczema, it may look like a dry, red rash. If you're having a flare-up, itching it can be tempting but can actually spread the rash and make your feet itchier. Do your best not to scratch, use moisturizer, and see the doctor if the itchiness persists. Your doctor may prescribe a steroid medication to relieve the itch.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes skin cells to accumulate rapidly. These skin cells build up and cause a white, patchy area. Topical creams can usually help with the itch, but you may need to see a doctor to prescribe a stronger treatment.
You can get bug bites on any area of your body, including your feet. Mosquitos and other insect bites cause inflammation in your body. They're usually in the form of an itchy bump that may be painful in the middle. Sometimes, insect bites can cause swelling near the site. Do your best not to scratch bug bites and let them heal naturally. Medications like Benadryl may help reduce the itchiness.
Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease
Hand, foot, mouth disease is another skin condition that is very contagious. It can be spread easily from person to person or even surfaces contaminated with an infected person's feces, saliva, or respiratory secretions. Although anyone can get hand, foot, mouth disease, it is most common with younger children. Symptoms may include rashes on the hands and feet along with sores on the mouth. It usually goes away on its own within a few days.
Scabies is a contagious skin condition that is caused by microscopic mites that have burrowed into the skin. While scabies usually shows up on the arms and hands, it can affect the feet as well. Other symptoms may include rashes, sores, or crusty areas. Medicated lotions or creams can help clear up scabies, but it is possible you will need oral medication as well. If you think you have scabies, don't touch the affected areas and wash frequently to prevent spreading.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
If your feet have made contact with a chemical or irritant, you may have allergic contact dermatitis. These irritants can be found in soaps, detergents, and cosmetics. Dye in dark socks sometimes has irritants that could cause allergic contact dermatitis on feet. Try not wearing dark socks, and use anti-creams for relief.
If you have diabetes, high blood sugar can cause dry itchy skin all over the body, including the feet. Those with diabetes also have circulation problems, making them at higher risk for infections. If you think that your itchy feet are related to diabetes, talk with your doctor to determine the best plan of action. Antifungal creams may help relieve the itchiness.
Although it is rare, itchy feet could be a sign of cancer. Liver or pancreatic cancer can cause jaundice, which causes a build-up of bilirubin. Bilirubin can cause skin to become itchy, especially on feet and hands. Other cancers such as skin cancer, leukemia, or lymphoma could also cause itchiness on the feet. Talk with your doctor about any symptoms you may be having, including itchy feet, to determine the best plan of action.
Although it is usually not a cause for concern, itchy skin, especially on the feet, can be extremely irritating to deal with. Feet are vulnerable to irritations because they are often subjected to moist environments, dry environments, irritants, fungi, and infections. In order to figure out the treatment for your itchy feet, you must determine what is causing it. Different conditions may cause different symptoms, giving you clues as to what could be causing it.
Using avoidance techniques such as using sunscreen and maintaining moisture in the feet can help prevent symptoms from occurring in the first place. If you feel like you have tried everything, and symptoms persist or get worse, it is never a bad idea to call your doctor to determine the cause and determine a treatment plan accordingly.
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Alice grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in California, though she likes to visit home frequently. She graduated from a marketing specialist degree and worked at the core of outreach teams for more than 5 years.