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What Causes Itching Feet?

Athlete's foot can cause itching.
An antifungal cream may be used to treat athlete's foot.
Poorly fitting shoes may cause itchy feet.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Itching feet can be associated with infections, skin irritation, and disorders of the skin and blood vessels. As a diagnostic clue on its own, itching is not very helpful, but often it is accompanied with redness, lesions, and other signs that may be helpful for finding a diagnosis. A general practitioner is usually the first stop for a person with itching feet, and if a referral to a specialist like a podiatrist or a dermatologist is needed, it can be provided after an initial patient evaluation.

Foot infections can include fungal infections, with athlete's foot being the most common, along with bacterial and parasitic infections. In a condition called pitted keratolysis, bacteria infect the skin and a strong odor usually develops. Cellulitis is another potential cause. People who go barefoot outdoors can get scabies, as well as infections with worms and fleas known to penetrate the feet. Someone with itching feet because of an infection will usually notice redness, swelling, a bad smell, and pitting or cracking in the feet.

In phenomenon called sweaty sock syndrome, young people, usually children, develop itchy areas of redness and irritation on the soles of the feet for unknown reasons. Itching feet can also be caused by dermatitis, as well as psoriasis. These conditions can cause redness, blisters, and bumps, along with the itching. They are sometimes painful, especially if they are left untreated for an extended period of time.

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In a condition called acroangiodermatitis, the blood vessels inside the feet grow excessively, interrupting blood supply to the feet and causing itching. Another potential cause of itching feet is nerve damage, also known as peripheral neuropathy. When the nerves to the feet are injured, strange signals about sensations may be sent to the brain, and some people experience itching in their feet even though there is no physiological cause.

Treatments for itching feet vary, depending on the underlying cause. Treating the source of the itching should help resolve the problem. If the itching is unbearable, some patients find it helpful to slap the feet, which relieves itching without damaging the skin like repeated scratching does. Topical creams can also help; sometimes reliving dryness with moisturizer, for example, will significantly cut down on itching. Keeping the feet clean and dry is also usually helpful. Doctors may prescribe medications for some patients, especially if the itching appears to be cutting into sleep or is causing extreme distress.

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donasmrs
Post 3

@turkay1-- Sweaty feet is usually the cause of this syndrome. You need to keep your feet clean and dry. Change your socks often and only use 100% cotton socks to absorb moisture. You might want to use foot powder if your feet tend to get very sweaty.

You can also use an anti-itch cream with antihistamine to relieve the itching. If the itching doesn't go away though, you should see a doctor because you might have a different problem, like an infection that requires another kind of treatment.

fify
Post 2

Diabetes causes itchy, tingly and burning feet because diabetes causes nerve damage in the long run. That's why older people who have had diabetes for many years have to be careful and seek treatment when they have these symptoms.

My grandmother has neuropathy and she has to visit the doctor often to make sure that the circulation in her feet and legs are okay. She has medication and special diabetic socks that she uses when she gets itchy, tingly feet.

candyquilt
Post 1

What's the treatment for sweaty sock syndrome? I think I might have this because I have no other symptoms aside from itching.

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