Ask a Foot Care Expert: What’s Up With All of This Intense Itching?

Ask a Foot Care Expert: What’s Up With All of This Intense Itching?When the majority of Americans hear that someone has itchy feet and ankles, thoughts of tinea pedis tend to immediately come to mind. Although it is often one of the chief causes of intense itchy, it by far, isn’t the only one. There are actually many conditions that may be behind the intense itching and home foot care may not be enough to solve the problem. Here’s a look at just some of the other podiatry issues that could be spurring on a person’s overwhelming need to scratch:

Xerotic Eczema

If the temperatures have already started to dip and relative humidity is low, a person’s feet could show signs of xerotic eczema. It could also be caused by dehydration, malnutrition, allergic reactions to soap and taking too many hot showers in the winter months. In addition to the itching, people affected by the condition may experience redness, scaling, peeling and cracked skin too. Foot care may involve the use of washing powders, non-steroidal creams, steroidal creams, medicated oils and other thick emollients.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

If a person has many of the symptoms mentioned above but their feet and ankles also happen to be covered with clusters of little blisters, it could be dyshidrotic eczema instead. Although both genders have the potential to develop the skin problem, it tends to affect women more often than not. Podiatrists frequently attribute its cause to seasonal allergies. Therefore, it typically shows up on the feet and ankles during the spring, summer and fall. Treatment for the condition involves many of the foot care products used to resolve xerotic eczema.

Scabies

Itchy feet and ankles may be caused by scabies mites as well. It is one of those podiatry problems that require professional care. Sometimes it is accompanied by crusty patches of skin, rashes, blisters and discolored lines that run near those items. Foot care to kill off the mites tends to last a month and requires the use of prescription medications. So anyone that feels he or she may be suffering from the condition should contact a Kirkwood podiatrist right away.

Athlete’s Foot Treatment: Fight the Fungus

Treatment for Athlete's FootAthlete’s foot is a fungus that, despite its name, really has nothing to do with being an athlete. While a hot, damp athletic locker room IS the perfect environment for this fungus, it doesn’t discriminate and can thrive anywhere with the right conditions. Unfortunately, when you have athlete’s foot on your skin, it becomes itchy, dry, and sometimes raw.

Luckily, there are many options for athlete’s foot treatment you can use.

Medication – You have probably seen all the commercials that make bold promises. Sure, many of these promises have yet to be delivered, but when it comes to treating athlete’s foot, the commercials are pretty accurate. The over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, if used as prescribed, can get your feet back in great shape. Creams are generally the best option.

Alternative Treatments – While OTC options are effective, you may choose not to use them. You can generally get rid of athlete’s foot by soaking your feet in a vinegar/water solution for about half an hour. Mix about 2 quarts of water with one cup of vinegar for your foot bath.

Saltwater can treat the fungus, too. Add one teaspoon of salt per cup of water to a large basin. Allow your feet to soak for 10 minutes.

Iodine – If there are cracks on your feet, a bacterial infection may have already set in. Make a mixture of warm water and iodine to soak your feet in. Soak daily for 20 to 30 minutes to get rid of or prevent any infections on your feet.

Shoes – Do your best to keep your shoes clean. Kill any fungus that may be living in them with a powder made for fighting fungus or an antibacterial or anti-fungal spray.

Environment – Take your feet out of the dark, damp, fungus-loving environment as often as you can. You can do this by taking off your socks and shoes whenever you get the chance.

A Podiatrist’s Attention – If you find the symptoms getting worse or not improving after a couple weeks, it is likely that you need professional care. Other signs you should watch for are pus, oozing, or extreme cracking as these are all signs that you need the attention of a St. Louis podiatrist right away.

Most cases of athlete’s foot can be treated with persistence and time. Just because symptoms go away, doesn’t mean the fungus is gone. Continue treatment for six weeks to completely eliminate the problem.

Importance of Effectively Treating Athlete’s Foot

Treatment for Athlete's FootIrritating, bothersome, completely of no use, and even painful at times… no, I’m not talking about the United States House of Congress, I’m talking about the itching and burning medical condition known as tinea pedis, or more commonly, Athlete’s Foot.

Athlete’s foot usually begins with some form of perspiration happening between the toes while a person is wearing especially tight fitting shoes and socks. It is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with contaminated flooring, towels, and even clothing. It is indeed a fairly common foot problem, but it can range in its form of severity, from mild to quite problematic when skin between the toes may actually peel and crack. Therefore, it’s important enough if you have the condition, to know some of the most effective forms of athlete’s foot treatment as follows:

  • Prevention – You can in fact, take steps to prevent athlete’s foot infection from ever happening in the first place. A good place to start is by making sure that you are wearing appropriately sized shoes that leave plenty of room for your toes to breathe. Wearing sandals in publicly shared shower areas will help to prevent contamination. Lastly, using some brand of talcum powder to keep your feet dry will prevent that moisture between the toes from starting an infection.
  • Over-the-Counter – Various lotions, creams, and sprays can do a solid job of minimizing itching and burning, while effectively treating athlete’s foot as well. A healthy assortment of these can be found in most pharmacies.
  • Prescription – If your case of athlete’s foot ranges more towards the severe end of the problematic scale, then your Missouri podiatrist would be well advised to give you a prescription medication to alleviate symptoms and remove the infection. As with most medications of this type, you should stay on the medication until your foot doctor tells you to stop. Prematurely stopping the treatment could result in not completely ridding yourself of the infection and experiencing a more extended case of the condition.

Unfortunately, athlete’s foot is one of those conditions that has a high likelihood of returning. You can minimize the risk of this happening by using all the previously mentioned preventative measures throughout your life and following your podiatrist’s orders carefully.