What the Feet?! Itchy Feet Causes and Treatments
There are many different conditions that can cause itchy feet. While occasional itchiness is not something to be worried about, an itch that does not get better overtime may require treatment. Here are some of the possible causes of itchy feet:
Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nervous system, which extends throughout the body. Nerve damage can cause itchiness, numbness, and pain in some areas of the body including the feet.
Dry skin can cause itching and some of the risk factors include age, dry climate, regular exposure to water (frequent hand washing), and swimming in chlorinated pool water.
Psoriasis is a condition characterized by sore, scaly, red skin. It can affect any part of the body including the feet and it can be extremely itchy and painful. This condition occurs when the immune system attacks the healthy skin cells, which then speeds up their production process.
Eczema or atopic dermatitis, is a condition that causes a very dry and very itchy skin. According tot he National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a combination of environmental and genetic factors seemed to be the causes of this condition. Dyshidrotic eczema in particular, occurs on the sides and soles of the feet, causing deep and itchy blisters. One remedy for the itch is by soaking the feet in cold water or applying cold compress to the area. Severe cases may require over-the counter solutions.
This fungal skin disease usually develops between the toes, but it can also affect other parts of the feet. The fungi thrive in warm, moist, dark conditions such as the inside of your shoes. When these fungi grow more, they can cause athlete’s foot.
A hookworm is a parasite that lives in human intestines. People can get hookworm by walking barefoot where the larvae are present. According to the CDC, a person may experience itchiness in the spot where the larvae entered their body.
Just like hookworm infections, scabies occurs when very small mites burrow into a person’s skin. The only difference is that with scabies, the mites burrow into the skin and lay their eggs causing an itchy rash. This condition is contagious, and can occur anywhere on the body.
This long-term condition affects insulin resistance and how the body changes food into energy. This can mean that the blood sugar levels are too high. It can also cause diabetic neuropathy, which leads to tingling, itchiness, and numbness, especially in the feet. Poor circulation due to diabetes can also cause itchiness.
Burns, after they have healed, can cause lasting damage and itching. A research published in 2013 showed that more than 90% of participants reported itching after and during the healing process of a burn.
Types of Itch
Pruritus is the medical term for itchiness. It can be put into four categories: cutaneous, which is an itch that results from a problem in or on the skin; systemic, which is itchiness due to a generalized issue throughout the body; neuropathic or an itch that comes from the nerves; and psychogenic which means that the itching results from a psychological issue.
Follow these tips to ease itchy skin caused by any of the conditions mentioned above:
- Apply cold, wet cloths or ice packs on the itchy area
- Make an oatmeal bath by grinding 1 cup of oatmeal into powder and adding it to warm bathwater
- Moisturize regularly
- Apply prescribed menthol or calamine to the affected area. This provides a cooling sensation
- Avoid scratching to reduce the likelihood of infection
- Wear socks that are hypoallergenic or organic to prevent further irritation