Fighting the Itch: Skin Conditions That Cause Itchy Feet
While itchy feet can cause significant discomfort, the good news is that many skin conditions that prompt uncomfortable symptoms are easily treatable with topical creams and simple lifestyle changes. However, medical conditions such as diabetes, liver disease and lymphoma can also cause itching feet, so it is always important for individuals with unexplained or persistent itching symptoms to seek medical attention.
Tinea pedis is a fungal infection of the feet, commonly referred to as athlete's foot. Additional symptoms of athlete's foot include inflamed skin between the toes, blisters and a "powdery" appearance of the heels. The fungi that cause athlete's foot infections thrive in moist, warm settings such as locker rooms and pool areas.
Individuals who wear non-breathable socks and tennis shoes that cause the feet to sweat can also develop athlete's foot. The condition is commonly treated with topical antifungal medications. Individuals can often prevent athlete's foot infections by wearing waterproof flip-flops or sandals in public locker rooms and pool areas, and by applying powder to the feet to absorb moisture when wearing shoes.
Dry skin is a common condition that can occur anywhere on the body, including the feet. While dry skin on the feet can develop at any time, it tends to be more common during the winter months and during periods of dry weather. In addition to itchiness, individuals with dry skin of the feet may also have cracked or peeling skin. In many cases, dry skin can be relieved by applying over-the-counter moisturizers to the affected areas, but it is always best for individuals who suffer from chronically dry feet to consult with a physician to determine whether an underlying medical condition is causing the symptoms.
Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs when the skin comes in contact with chemical irritants such as detergents and adhesives, or substances that cause allergic reactions such as poison ivy or poison oak. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include severe itching, inflammation and painful blisters. Contact dermatitis can often be relieved by avoiding contact with the offending chemicals or substances, and treating the affected areas with calamine lotions or hydrocortisone creams.
Itchy feet can be caused by a variety of factors that range from minor skin irritations to serious medical conditions. Depending on the underlying cause of the vexing affliction, symptoms that can accompany itching feet include numbness and tingling, peeling skin, inflammation and pain. Learning about the various conditions that cause itchy feet and consulting with a medical professional if symptoms persist can help to ensure a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.