The feet can develop rashes and itching due to moist conditions, infectious bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, or other irritants. Irritants may be present in our surroundings and walking barefoot can sometimes lead to a rash or itchy feet. The foot can also develop itchiness when the skin is excessively dry. Foot rashes and itchiness are usually not a cause for concern but can sometimes indicate an underlying condition.
Causes of Itchy Feet
Causes of itchy feet include:
- Skin conditions: Skin conditions that cause the feet to itch include
- Athlete’s foot (fungal infection)
- Eczema or dermatitis (atopic, allergic, dyshidrotic)
- Bug bites
- Dry skin
- Skin infestations such as lice or scabies
- Diabetes: When you have diabetes, you may develop itchy feet due to:
- High blood sugar
- Poor circulation
- Nerve damage (neuropathy).
- Diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy)
- Skin conditions
- Other Diseases: Itchiness may be a sign of serious medical disease including
- Skin cancer
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease and cholestasis
- Thyroid disease
Signs and symptoms of itchy feet include:
- White spots
- Dry, scale-like plaques
To diagnose itchy feet, your doctor will discuss the signs and symptoms, check your medical history, and conduct a physical examination. Tests may be performed to check for the presence of germs, such as fungus on your skin. Other tests used to diagnose itchy feet include:
- Skin scrapings for microscopic evaluation
- Biopsy and culture
- Blood tests
The doctor will treat itchy feet according to the cause. Treatments that can reduce itchiness include
- Applying cold to the area
- Keeping the skin hydrated with moisturizers
In the case of allergic reactions, avoiding products causing the allergic reaction can help to reduce itchiness.
Treatments for itchy feet include:
- Medications such as antihistamines help relieve itching from allergic conditions, but these have sedative effects and should be used with caution.
- Ointments, lotions, and creams can be applied to help with dry skin.
- An oatmeal bath can help relieve itching and inflammation.
- A doctor-prescribed antifungal medication for chronic fungal infections.
- Topical anti-itch medication and steroid creams may be ordered.
- Specific medications for certain conditions such as skin infestation are ordered as needed.
Receiving treatment for underlying conditions such as diabetes can also help with itching.
You can help prevent itchy feet and rashes by observing proper foot care measures such as:
- Wearing shoes and socks only when the feet are completely dry
- Using well-ventilated shoes to prevent excessive moisture and fungal infections
- Using cotton or wool socks
- Washing your feet regularly with soap
- Applying moisturizer to dry skin and paying attention to the areas between your toes