If you’ve got feet, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced foot itchiness at one point or another. But when is itchiness a sign of a more serious condition? Today we’ll explore some common reasons for itchiness.
Types of Itchiness
Itchiness, or pruritus, can be categorized into four different categories:
- Systemic pruritus results from a generalized issue occurring throughout the body.
- Neuropathic pruritus is caused by a disturbance in the nerves or nervous system.
- Psychogenic pruritus is a symptom of a psychological issue.
- Cutaneous pruritus is caused by a localized issue in the skin. Most of the conditions we’ll discuss today are cutaneous and are best treated by a podiatrist.
In part characterized by dry areas of the skin, eczema may be the culprit for excessive itchiness. Dyshidrotic eczema is a form of this condition that specifically affects the feet, causing itchy blisters to appear.
A dry climate, advanced age, or excessive exposure to water (such as repeated washing or swimming) can result in dry, itchy skin. If you live in the Midwest, you may notice these symptoms in the dry winter months. Applying lotion, cream, or oil to the affected area can help.
This skin condition presents as sore, scaly skin, typically with a reddish coloring. Psoriasis occurs when someone’s immune system begins attacking their healthy skin cells, speeding up the production of new cells and producing a rash. There are specially formulated creams and lotions that can combat these effects.
This common fungal skin disease often develops between the toes, causing an itching and burning sensation within the affected area. Like most types of fungi, athlete’s foot fungi thrive in moist, dark conditions—such as the inside of your shoe. Treatment for athlete’s foot typically includes a regimen of pills and/or specialized lotions.
This long-term condition affects insulin resistance, altering how the body processes food into energy. The consequences of diabetes can include diabetic neuropathy, which may lead to tingling, numbness, or itching of the feet. Diabetes can also result in poor circulation in the extremities, which may feel like itchiness, and may increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
Some levels of itchiness may fall within the ‘acceptable’ range and may be easily resolved at home with a few applications of lotion. If this sensation persists, worsens, and becomes a distraction, it is worth it to seek out professional treatment. Our office sees many patients with itchy feet! Call us today to schedule an appointment.