It may seem like a minor irritation at first, but itchy feet can quickly drive you crazy! At Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle Clinic, we know that dry, itchy feet can be a symptom of several different disorders. It may simply be a case of Xerosis—a fancy name for extremely dry skin. Usually this can be treated by consistent application of an extra-emollient moisturizer, several times a day. If you try this for a week or two and your feet are still itchy, it’s time to schedule an appointment with our podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh to find out what’s going on. The source of your itchy feet may be one of the following:
Allergic dermatitis—this occurs when you have an allergic reaction to a particular substance. Common culprits are cosmetics or perfumes, personal hygiene products, adhesive materials, metals, fabrics, latex, rubber or plants. There are some airborne allergens that can also cause dermatitis. In addition to itching, the skin may feel like it’s burning and it can be red and warm to the touch. It may be flaky and the dermatitis can look like a rash. Treatment options include sensitive skin moisturizers, antibiotic ointments and topical steroid creams.
Irritant dermatitis—the symptoms and treatment are very similar to allergic dermatitis only this type is non-allergic. It is the result of prolonged contact with an alkaline or acidic substance. In the case of both types of dermatitis isolating the cause and avoiding exposure to it is critical.
Athlete’s foot—this is a fungal infection that is spread by direct contact with the fungus. It usually begins between the toes but can spread to the other areas on the foot. In addition to itchy and burning skin, patients with athlete’s foot can also develop blisters. The foot doctor may prescribe a topical anti-fungal cream or, if it’s an extremely bad case, an oral medication. Avoid going barefoot in damp public places, such as community pools and gym locker rooms to prevent this fungal infection.
Psoriasis—although it looks like a skin condition, psoriasis is actually an immune system problem. It is a chronic disease where new skin cells come to the surface too quickly creating thick, flaky patches of skin that become inflamed and itchy. The coloring of these skin patches can be white, red or gray. Treatment for psoriasis is more complex but topical creams and anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed.
The same itchy skin can be an indicator of a number of medical conditions, each with their own specific treatment. If you have trouble with itchy skin that doesn’t seem to be clearing up, contact either our Edmond or Norman office and put yourself on the path to relief.