Reducing the Irritation: Common Causes and Treatments for Itchy Feet

May 7th 2016

Dry skin, winter weather, too much scrubbing or an environmental irritant can sometimes cause itchy feet. Consult with your doctor if your itchy feet do not go away after a few days of normal treatments that include anti-dryness lotions.


Uncontrolled diabetes could lead to eruptive xanthomatosis on your feet, a condition marked by yellow bumps on the skin, redness surrounding the bumps and high cholesterol levels. Ointments, lotions and creams may lessen the itchy feeling. Prescription serotonin inhibitors such as cyproheptadine, ondansetron, paroxetine and pizotifen could help reduce itching so you do not scratch. However, your doctor must get your diabetes under control with diet, insulin and medicines that help control blood sugar levels.


Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, including the soles of the feet. This condition looks like patches of red skin with silver scales or bumps filled with pus. The affected area may be sore and swollen. Treatment for psoriasis include low-dose cortisone creams for mild forms of the condition. Severe psoriasis may require corticosteroids or topical retinoids to slow the production of skin cells. Coal tar creams reduce scaling, itching and inflammation.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a contagious fungal infection marked by stinging, itching and raw skin on the feet. Over-the-counter sprays and creams can treat this infection. Chronic cases of athlete's foot may require prescription medications.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves in the feet become damaged or destroyed. Your feet may feel sensations of tingling, numbness or weakness combined with sweating. Conditions that cause peripheral neuropathy include kidney disorders, hypothyroidism and certain vitamin deficiencies. Over-the-counter pain medications can lessen the effects of peripheral neuropathy. Doctors may prescribe tramadol, corticosteroid injections, mexiletine or alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. Anti-itch medications and topical steroid creams may help with this disorder.


Scabies are caused by a tiny, eight-legged bug that lays eggs on human skin. This condition is more common in infants and children than in adults. Scabies may appear as tiny blisters, a pimply rash, sores or grayish-white burrows that look like lines. Treatment for scabies typically includes a topical cream applied to the clean body from the neck down to the toes. The lotion stays on overnight and then gets washed off in the morning. A second treatment occurs seven to 10 days after the first one.


A number of conditions, diseases and irritants can cause itchy feet. Skin conditions may cause specific itchy symptoms related to the feet, and certain diseases could cause serotonin levels to rise that make your feet itch. Medications can also make your feet itch. Treatments depend on what leads to the itchy feeling in the first place, although doctors can prescribe medicines to help treat the itchiness while you have a more serious condition.

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