What Are the Causes of Red Itchy Feet?

A bottle of calamine lotion, which can help with red, itchy feet.
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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
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Red itchy feet can be caused by a number of things, including shoes and socks. Athlete's foot is another fairly common cause of irritated and itchy feet. This uncomfortable condition can also be caused by contact dermatitis, as well as eczema or psoriasis. In children, red itchy feet can also be caused by a condition known as juvenile plantar dermatosis.

A person's socks or shoes might be the cause of his red itchy feet. Some materials trap moisture against the skin. When footwear is worn for too long, the prolonged exposure to sweat, oil, and dry skin can cause redness and itching.

Cotton and wool socks are not usually recommended, especially if a person's feet will be sweating for a long period of time, since they can absorb moisture and hold it against the skin. Socks made from some synthetic materials, on the other hand, are usually better at removing moisture from the skin. Mesh shoes are also typically recommended, since they allow the feet to breathe.

Athlete's foot is a very common foot problem, particularly for athletes. This condition, scientifically known as Tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the foot. The fungus thrives in dark moist areas, making the feet perfect breeding grounds. Along with red itchy feet, a person with athlete's foot may also experience burning and scaling of the feet. It can usually be prevented by allowing the feet to breathe and keeping them dry.

Contact dermatitis is another common cause of red itchy feet. This occurs when an irritating substance gets on the skin of the feet. It can happen when a person is allergic to a particular brand of laundry detergent, for instance, but the rest of his body would also most likely be afflicted as well.

One of the most common examples of contact dermatitis is poison ivy. A majority of people have some negative reaction when they come in contact with the sap of poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Someone who walks around outside in bare feet or in sandals might come in contact with these plants. Along with red itchy feet, he may also develop blisters. Calamine lotion, which can be purchased over the counter, is often used to help heal a poison ivy rash.

Eczema and psoriasis can also cause red itchy feet. These chronic skin conditions often cause inflammation, itching, and scaling. These two conditions can often be somewhat difficult to tell apart, especially on the feet. People who suspect that they have either eczema or psoriasis are urged to seek the help of a medical professional, such as a dermatologist.

Juvenile plantar dermatosis is sometimes known colloquially as sweaty sock syndrome. Along with red itchy feet, sweaty sock syndrome may also cause scaling and pain. It typically only develops on the bottoms of the feet of children who have not yet reached puberty. It is more common in males, and it usually disappears after puberty.

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