Updated April 22, 2014
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The skin on your feet is subject to a great deal of stress and is susceptible to a variety of conditions that cause itchiness. The temperature extremes that your feet are exposed to, thanks to shoewear plus the physical stress of bearing the weight of your body, can cause skin dryness and irritation, which are common triggers of itchiness. These extremes also leave feet vulnerable to fungal skin infections, which also cause itch. Even though scratching is a normal response and temporarily relieves an itch, it often makes the skin problem worse and can even result in a secondary bacterial infection. Some skin conditions and diseases that can cause itchy feet include:
One form of eczema that tends to occur on the tips or sides of the toes and fingers, known as dyshidrotic eczema, is intensely itchy and produces red, scaly areas of cracked skin with tiny blisters. Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema that frequently occurs in infants and children. This form of eczema may be associated with a history of allergy or asthma. Atopic dermatitis often presents as areas of thickened, scaly skin with increased depth and appearance of skin lines.
An important part of eczema treatment is the regular use of topical skin creams and ointments to re-hydrate skin, balance skin's pH, and act as a protective barrier against dryness or sweat. Topical corticosteroids may also be needed to quell inflammation.
Dockery, DPM, Gary L. and Crawford, DPM, Mary Elizabeth (Ed.). Cutaneous Disorders of the Lower Extremity. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1997. 152-153.
Richard P. Usatine, MD, and Marcela Riojas, MD. (2010) Diagnosis and Management of Contact Dermatitis. American Family Physician. 82(3):249-255.
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