Why do my feet itch so much? Why does it seem to happen more in the summer time even though I'm not wearing closed in shoes? Why does it itch more some days but not others? All good questions! Let's talk a little about itchy feet.
Many people have itchy feet simply from dry skin. Their skin is drier in the summer because they are either going barefoot or wearing sandals most of the time. They also don't habitually put moisturizer on like they do in the winter time. They also may be predisposed to dry skin from underlying medical problems like diabetes, poor circulation or hypothyroidism. Luckily dry skin has a simple fix! Exfoliate your feet with a combination of a cream or lotion that contains urea or lactic acid coupled with a gentle buffer. If you do this a few times a week, it should alleviate all the itching of alligator feet.
But what if you don't simply have dry skin? Perhaps you have a fungal infection. Chronic itchy feet from an underlying tinea pedis (also known as athlete's foot fungus) is extremely common. It is more common in the summer due to increasingly sweaty feet. Fungus loves sweaty feet! Take a look at the skin on the bottom of your feet and in between your toes. Do you have a wet whitish peeling look to the skin in between your toes? This is called maceration. It happens when you toes are wet a lot or have been submerged in water for a long time; but it is also a hallmark of interdigital tinea pedis or fungus in between your toes. Check out the bottom of your feet. Does the skin have little red bumps or scaling skin in the pattern on very small circles? This is also indicative of fungus. The great thing about athlete's foot fungus is that it is easily treated with a topical medication and then decontaminating your shoes. Keep your feet clean and dry and make sure you change your socks if you sweat a lot.
So you don't think its dry skin and you don't have the hallmark signs of fungus? Another common problem is contact dermatitis. You may have contact dermatitis if you have a red, scaly, itchy rash and it is in the pattern of your new sandals or perhaps socks. You can also get contact dermatitis from a new cream or tanning lotion. Any kind of topical allergen can cause a skin reaction. I've even seen dermatitis from an ankle bracelet! Contact dermatitis is usually a new problem and a little detective work will help you find the culprit! Topical treatment with a steroid cream coupled with removing the allergen usually rapidly relieves the itchy rash. Rarely an oral steroid is needed to calm down the itching and alleviate the rash.
Other causes of itchy feet can be any kind of skin problem like eczema or psoriasis. Most people will see a telltale skin rash prior to the itching and are familiar with the symptoms they have in other area of their skin. Treatments vary depending on the underlying skin problem.
So these are the top reasons for itchy feet: chronic dry skin, tinea pedis, or a dermatitis or skin disorder. Itchy feet driving you nuts? If your detective work falls short, and your itching persists; it is time to visit your podiatrist. Skin scrapings or a biopsy can often help find the culprit and eliminate the annoying itch!