Itchy Feet – What could be the Cause?

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What could be causing you to have itchy feet?

Having an itch that just won’t quit can be frustrating and irritating. Therefore, those who struggle with itchy feet might often wonder why their feet remain itchy and what the possible causes could be. The good news is that itchy feet aren’t always a sign of severe health conditions, and the cause of the itch can be treated without heavy expenses.

What could cause your feet to itch?

The medical term, Pruritus, refers to a constant itch on the skin. This can affect people of all ages, and it can be found anywhere on the skin.

However, since our feet don’t get as much ventilation as the rest of our bodies do, they are more likely to suffer from Pruritus. In addition, the fact that we wear footwear most of the day that doesn’t always allow for adequate breathability contributes significantly to the odds of experiencing Pruritus.

Several factors contribute to the development of Pruritus in the feet. The most common are:

excessive moisture
overly dry skin because of a dry environment or harsh water
frequently walking without shoes
fungi on the foot
a parasite
a virus on the foot or between the toes
an infectious bacteria on the foot

Although experiencing itchy feet isn’t usually a significant cause of concern, it can indicate an underlying disease or skin condition. Therefore, it is best to consult your podiatrist if your feet remain itchy.
Which medical conditions could cause feet to be itchy?

Fortunately, most causes of itchy feet can be fixed by changing your footwear and keeping your feet clean and dry. However, there are medical conditions that can cause itchy feet. Seeing a podiatrist will be the first step to identifying possible underlying health conditions.
Diseases that could cause feet to itch?

Several medical conditions can cause an increase in the body’s neurotransmitter serotonin production. This can easily result in itchy feet. Therefore, a podiatrist will most likely prescribe a medication known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, also known as SSRI. Using this medication regularly will help alleviate the itchiness.

The following medical conditions have been known to cause itchiness on the feet:

several cancers
liver disease
kidney disease
thyroid gland disease
conditions related to diabetes mellitus

If your podiatrist suspects that the cause of your itchy feet might be related to any of the conditions above, your podiatrist will recommend the next cause of action.

Skin conditions that could cause itchy feet

Several skin conditions can result in itchy feet, with the most common being:

An allergic reaction or contact dermatitis
atopic dermatitis
old and healing scars
athlete’s foot or similar fungal infections
Reactions to bug bites
Irritation because of pest infestations

Your podiatrist will be able to identify the cause of the skin condition and prescribe suitable treatment or ointments.

Which symptoms usually accompany itchy feet?

More often than not, itchy skin on the feet leads to changes in the skin. There are several examples of changes to the skin on the foot, including:

White spotting around the foot and toes
Blisters around the itchy area
Swelling around the itchy area
Itchy areas might crack and split
Red rashes around the itchy areas
Experiencing plaques on the foot that are scale-like and dry

Although it is most common for itchy feet to show one or a few of the symptoms mentioned above, people can experience itchy feet without any changes to the skin. However, it is still advised that they see their podiatrist if the itchiness continues.

When should you see your podiatrist?

When you first experience some itchiness on your feet, you might want to consider making some changes at home to see if there is a difference. Here are a few things you can try before you visit your podiatrist:

It might be a simple allergic reaction if you recently changed your hygiene products or your laundry detergent. Try a different brand for a day or two to see if there is any difference.
If you are taking a new medicine, it might also be a reaction to the meds. It is best to contact your doctor and inquire whether there are different alternatives.

If any of these factors are present, you need to see your podiatrist as quickly as you can:

If you have diabetes (For more information on diabetes, don’t forget to check out our blog page for more information such as on type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.)
If you are experiencing a great deal of pain along with the itchy
If you have tried making changes at home and the itchiness persists.

If your doctor suspects the itchiness is because of an underlying health condition, the following tests might be recommended:

blood tests
a skin scrape
a biopsy
a culture test

By doing these tests, your doctor will eliminate possible causes and find the root of your problem.

What are the possible treatments for itchy feet?

The best treatment will depend on the cause of your itchy feet. These are the most common treatments for itchy feet:

Antifungal creams or sprays
Prescription medications
A topical anti-itch cream

Can itchy feet be prevented?

Yes, in most cases, itchy feet can be prevented. We all need to have good habits for foot care, and decreasing our odds of having itchy feet is only one reason. By taking good care of our feet, we minimize the risk of getting a fungal infection on our feet that could result in extreme itchiness.

Here are a few things we can do to decrease our odds of suffering from itchy feet:

Dry your feet thoroughly before you put your socks and shoes on
When taking a bath or shower, make an effort to wash your feet properly. Use a mild soap and clean between the toes and under the foot, too. After washing, apply some moisturizer to your feet so that they remain well-moisturized.
When buying socks, always stick to wool or cotton socks
Choose well-ventilated shoes that will keep your feet dry
If you quickly get athlete’s foot, invest in good quality antifungal powder and put some on your socks or in your shoes once a day.


Itchy feet can be highly irritating, but fortunately, you can practice good foot care habits that will lessen your chances of dealing with itchy feet.

About Me

Founder of Well Heeled - I have a great interest in diabetes and the effect on those diagnosed as well as those around them. With over 20 years in health and social care, as a qualified social worker and as a passionate educator within the health and social care sector, I wanted to bring further information to others around diabetes and other issues.

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