One of the most annoying problems I see in my patients is itchy feet. It's tough to concentrate on other things when all you can think about is stopping the itch. While bug bites and dry skin are quite common causes of itchy skin, other less obvious conditions can also cause be the source of this problem. If you've already tried some treatments on your own but you're still plagued by itchy skin, make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City in Seattle to get this problem resolved.
Athlete's foot is caused by a fungus that's usually found between the toes. The reason it's called athlete's foot is because you can easily pick up the fungus in gym locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools. In addition, the inside of athlete's shoes are dark and humid the perfect environment for fungus to grow. Don't put off getting this treated since it can spread to the bottom of your feet and to your toenails. Toenail fungus in particular can be very hard to treat. Although over-the-counter remedies can help for a mild case of athlete's foot, more persistent cases will need a prescription from a podiatrist.
Fortunately in the Northwest we aren't plagued by the same bug infestation as our more humid counterparts elsewhere in the country. But that doesn't mean you'll never get a bug bite on your foot. Topical Benadryl can help reduce the itching. Avoid scratching to prevent infection.
If you do develop redness and swelling later on, it's important to been seen by your podiatrist particularly if you are diabetic or have poor circulation.
Many people have allergic reactions to natural allergens such as poison oak or chemical allergens such as clothing dyes, adhesives found in bandages, soaps, detergents, rubber in shoes, and fragrance. These allergies aren't always apparent since it can take many days for the reaction to occur. In addition to itching, you may also experience redness, heat, and swelling. An over-the-counter steroid can help but if the condition keeps coming back it's important to eliminate the potential culprit.
Diabetes and Dry Skin
Dry feet are very common in people with diabetes and can make your feet itch. When dry skin cracks or breaks down, wounds often develop which can take a long time to heal. To prevent dry skin from developing we recommend using a really good moisturizer and gel socks. To treat very dry skin we recommend a moisturizer with urea.
Sometimes itchy skin on the feet can be a sign of a hereditary condition called eczema. People with eczema have an over-reactive immune system. The eczema is triggered by a substance outside or inside the body and this causes the inflammation that leads to pain and itching. To prevent a flare-up of itchy skin daily treatment through bathing, applying moisturizers during the day, taking prescription medications, and avoiding triggers are recommended. Application of cold compresses and OTC corticosteroids can also help with mild itch.
Kidney or Liver Disease/Underactive Thyroid
Sometimes itchy feet can be the result of an underlying disease state such as kidney or liver disease or an underactive thyroid. If you have undiagnosed itching that lasts more than two weeks or is interfering with your sleep, make an appointment to see your primary care physician to get it checked out.
Itching accompanied by burning, soreness, and red patches is very likely psoriasis. The symptoms are due to rapid turnover of skin cells. Treatment focuses on preventing this rapid turnover of cells. Psoriasis can affect toenails by causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. The nails can also loosen and separate from the nail bed. In some severe cases the nails crumble. The true cause is unknown but many experts say it's related to an overactive immune system.
Triggers of psoriasis are infections, injury to the skin, stress, smoking, heavy drinking, Vitamin D deficiency, and certain medications. Psoriasis is also a hereditary condition. To reduce symptoms of psoriasis, patients need to avoid their triggers and follow treatment recommendations which include creams and ointments, light therapy, and in severe cases oral or injected medications.
If you're been suffering from itchy feet for over two weeks, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.