Do your feet itch all the time? It can be maddening, no doubt. While it can happen any time during the night or day, it’s especially frustrating (and potentially embarrassing) when you’re in public. After all, it would be pretty awkward to take off your shoe and scratch your foot at the local coffee shop, during a meeting or on a date.
Good news: there’s a solution to itchy feet. But first, you need to know why it’s happening in the first place.
Here are a few of the more common reasons why your feet itch all the time:
1. Athlete’s Foot
This is probably the most common culprit behind itchy feet. Also known as “Tinea Pedia,” athlete’s foot occurs due to a fungus. This fungus usually attacks between the toes, but it can develop anywhere on the foot. Your shoes are a perfect breeding ground. They create a moist, dark environment where fungi thrive.
But there are other places that are perfect for the development of athlete’s foot. Swimming pools, locker rooms and showers are just a few of them. In fact, the reason the condition is called “athlete’s foot” is because athletes frequent these environments. Symptoms include peeling skin, swelling, and burning and itching between the toes. This itching will usually worsen as the infection spreads.
What you might not know is that the fungus that causes athlete’s foot can spread. Not only can it move to other parts of the foot, but other parts of the body as well.1 This usually happens when someone scratches the infected area and then touches somewhere else on the body.
How to Deal With It
Athlete’s foot can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications. But there are some cases where a person will need to see a podiatrist. If, for example, the infection hasn’t responded to treatment after two weeks, go to a doctor. He or she will perform an examination to determine whether or not you actually have athlete’s foot. If you do, the doctor will probably recommend some sort of anti-fungal medicine. Some of these medicines are topical, while others need to be taken orally.
The best way to prevent this problem is to always practice good hygiene. Wash your feet with soap and water every day and take the time to thoroughly dry. It will be particularly important to dry between your toes. Always wear shower shoes whenever you’re in a public shower. You should also use talcum powder to reduce perspiration.
In addition, you should wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe whenever possible. If you workout, change your socks and shoes once you’re finished. You should also make sure you rotate your shoes often so that moisture doesn’t build up. If you’re dealing with the condition currently, try these DIY natural athlete’s foot fixes.
If you develop blisters on the soles of your feet that itch, you might have dyshidrotic eczema. The blisters usually last between 2-4 weeks.
While the exact cause of this condition is unclear, it could be related to hay fever and other types of seasonal allergies. You might be more prone to a breakout during the spring. But many experts believe that stress also plays a role in causing dyshidrotic eczema.2
How to fix it
There are several things that could put you at a higher risk for the condition. For example, you might be more likely to develop dyshidrotic eczema if your feet are moist on a regular basis. You could also be at a higher risk if you are exposed to substances such as nickel, cobalt or chromium.
If your condition doesn’t clear up after a couple of weeks, you should consider going to a doctor. He or she will determine the right course of action depending on the severity for the problem. Your doctor might prescribe an ointment or cream for a mild case. If the problem is severe, you may need to use antibiotics.
3. Contact Dermatitis
This is a type of rash that can really make your feet itch. There are two types. The first is known as “irritant contact dermatitis.” It occurs when a toxic substance touches the skin. The second is “allergic contact dermatitis,” caused by an allergic reaction to something. The substance doesn’t need to be toxic.
Exposure to poison ivy or poison oak will usually result in a case of contact dermatitis. But there are many other substances that can cause an outbreak.
These include the following:
· Nail care products
· Skin care products
· Adhesive tape
· Chemicals or glues found in footwear
The rash associated with this condition is usually elevated. It also typically oozes pus. Burning and itching are common symptoms. Treatment will usually start with the application of a cold water compress. Once the rash has dried, your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream for about two or three weeks. If the rash is extremely large, however, you might need to take an oral steroid.3
The best way to avoid this problem is to stay away from the substance that caused it. That’s why it will be so important to tell your doctor all of the places you’ve recently been. That way, he or she will have a better chance of pinpointing the substance that caused the condition.
One Last Note
The good news is that whatever’s causing your feet to itch all the time, it can usually be treated successfully…and swiftly. In many instances, you can find an over-the-counter product that will bring you relief. If it’s not solved with drugstore creams, see your doctor. Whatever you do, try to avoid the temptation of scratching your feet, because that could make the problem worse. And try a few DIY footcare remedies.
For more foot health tips, keep reading here: