The skin on your feet is subject to great amounts of stress in a variety of conditions. When these conditions are combined with the physical stress of supporting your body’s weight, skin dryness and irritation may result. The use of shoes and the environments you walk on can leave feet vulnerable to fungal skin infections that also cause itchiness. Scratching is a normal response to provide temporary relief, but it can also make the skin condition worse and may result in bacterial infection. Some common conditions and disease that can cause itchy feet include:
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection and is medically known as tinea pedis. The key symptoms of tinea pedis include red, scaly, and itchy skin. Athlete’s foot can occur on the sole of the foot as a widespread rash or can stay between the toes. In extreme conditions, athlete’s foot causes a red, inflamed rash with blisters. These blisters can be scratched open, leading to further irritation. Athlete’s foot is best treated with anti-fungal cream.
This is a red, itchy, and often blistering rash formed after skin has an allergic reaction. Common causes of contact dermatitis include glues or chemicals found in shoes, neomycin found in antibiotic ointments, poison ivy, tape, or perfumes and other chemicals used in skin and nail care products. In addition to removing the cause of the rash, contact dermatitis is treated with corticosteroids or creams and lotions to soothe skin.
Eczema is a rash that looks and feels like athlete’s foot. Eczema can be a small, circular area of thick, scaly skin or as larger, less noticeable areas of dryness. Common causes of eczema include skin irritation from under and overexposure to moisture or excessive heat. This skin condition can vary from itchy, red, scaly areas of cracked skin with tiny blisters (dystrophic eczema) to areas of thickened scaly skin (atopic dermatitis). An important part of treatment is the regular use of creams and ointments to rehydrate skin, balance skin’s pH, and protect the skin.
Dry skin is a common cause of itchy skin. It can occur due to other medical conditions such as those stated above or because of external conditions such as low humidity or weight-bearing stress on the skin. Dry skin is also associated with aging, a diet deficient in certain vitamins, and the use of harsh skin cleansers. Dry skin tends to worsen in winter and is best treated with regular use of creams and lotions.