Itchy feet can be extremely irritating and embarrassing – especially if you feel the need to scratch when you’re around others!
If your feet itch occasionally, then it’s probably not something to be overly worried about.
However, itchy feet should be a cause for concern if you notice other accompanying symptoms or if the itch is chronic in nature and it does not improve with time or treatment.
Common Underlying Factors for Itchy Feet
If you suffer from chronic itchy feet or if you notice any of the following symptoms and conditions, then I would recommend that you consult with a podiatrist or your health provider without any delay.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which your peripheral nervous system suffers damage. Common symptoms of nerve damage include:
You might feel these sensations not just in your feet, but also in other parts of your body.
Psoriasis presents via scaly, sore, and red skin rash. It is a common skin ailment which can impact not just your feet, but any part of your body. In addition to being extremely itchy, psoriasis can also cause pain.
Itchiness can also be caused by dry skin. Common factors that can lead to itchiness from dry skin include the following:
- Old age.
- Exposure to dry climate.
- Excessive exposure to water.
- Chlorinated water in swimming pools.
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal skin infection that can cause extreme itchiness and burning sensations. While the infection usually develops between the toes, it can also impact other parts of the feet. Common symptoms include:
- A burning, itchy, or stinging sensation between the toes or at the bottom of your feet.
- Unusually thick and discolored toenails.
- Toenails that are pulled away from the nailbed.
- Itchy blisters.
- Dry skin that is peeling or raw skin between your toes and at the sides and soles of your feet.
Related Article – How to Prevent Athlete’s Foot – Symptoms, Risk, and Treatment
Eczema is a skin condition which presents via very itchy and dry skin. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema can affect any part of your body – including your feet. It is generally believed that eczema is caused due to environmental as well as genetic factors.
Dyshidrotic eczema is a condition in which the sides and soles of the feet can develop very small fluid-filled itchy blisters. In addition to the feet, Dyshidrotic eczema can appear on the sides of the fingers and the palms.
Another common reason for your feet to itch is when you suffer from skin allergies. Skin allergies can happen due to conditions like psoriasis or eczema or from irritation caused when you encounter substances such as pollen, certain chemicals, or things you may have an allergy to.
Scabies is a condition which can lead to extreme itchiness and is caused by small burrowing mites which can enter the skin anywhere on your body – including the feet. Scabies is a contagious skin infection which means you can contract the condition if you come into contact with someone who has it.
Diabetes is a serious and chronic health condition which impacts a person’s insulin resistance. One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is diabetic neuropathy – a condition which can lead to numbness, tingling sensations, and itchiness in the feet.
People suffering from diabetes can also experience poor circulation due to poor blood flow to the lower extremities.
Another danger of diabetes is that it impacts the body’s immune system – in fact, the risk of contracting bacterial and fungal infections is higher among diabetics.
Related Article – I have Diabetes. Do I need a Podiatrist?
Common Treatment Options for Itchy Skin
Some common home treatment options include the following:
- Application of a cold, wet cloth or using ice packs on the itchy spot(s).
- Regular use of moisturizers.
- Use of topical anesthetics/OTC products.
- Application of calamine or menthol which can help soothe the itchiness and offer a cooling sensation.
If none of the above-mentioned options provide relief, or if your itching worsens or spreads, consult with a podiatrist or your healthcare provider at the earliest.