Toenail Pain [Toenail Fungus, Ingrown Toenails, Discolored Toenails]
How to Stop Itchy Feet at Night [Feet & Hands, After a Shower & More]
Why are my feet itchy? We address the most common causes of itchy hands and feet at night, itchy blisters on feet & how to stop itchy feet!
Table of Contents
How to stop itchy feet & home remedies video:
This video is specifically for Athlete’s foot & thick dry skin, but it can apply to many of the skin problems we talk about in this article.
Why are my feet itchy & how to stop itchy feet video summary:
- We will show you how to get rid of Athlete’s foot fungus fast!
- This guide will show you athlete’s foot fungus home remedy and home treatment options.
- These include powders, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, Listerine, and Vick’s vapor rub.
- These are scientifically proven treatment options to get rid of your severe athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and bad athlete’s foot.
- So even if it is between the toes, the top of the foot, in a mocassin distribution, or on your heel. So get rid of your foot fungus!
What are Itchy feet?
A condition in which an irritating sensation in the skin of feet compels a person to scratch the feet. The medical term for this sensation is called Pruritus. It can be acute or chronic.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Itchy feet?
Various sensations described by patients are:
- An insect crawling on the skin.
These sensations play as triggering factors for scratching the skin. Due to scratching, the following changes in the skin can develop:
- Dry and scaly patches
- Intense scratching breaks the continuity of skin, which may cause bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
What are the types of itch?
Itching can be divided into 4 types:
- Cutaneous: when itching is due to a problem confined only to the skin
- Systemic: when itchiness is due to a generalized disorder
- Neuropathic: when itching is due to the involvement of the nervous system
- Psychogenic: when itching is due to psychological causes.
Itchiness can be:
- Localized: an only specific area of the body is involved)
- Generalized: It can occur anywhere on the body
What are my feet so itchy?
Itching can involve any part of the body, but feet are most susceptible as the skin of feet is thick and devoid of oil-secreting glands.
- Itchiness is triggered by dryness and irritation
- Foot-wears that cause excess sweat and moisture
- Exposure to stress such as weight-bearing of the whole body
- Direct contact with irritants when walking barefoot
- Extremes of temperature
- Infections by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites
What are the causes of itchy feet?
- The skin of the Feet is thick and devoid of oil-producing glands. Hence it is more prone to becoming dry.
- Risk factors for developing dry skin include:
- Old Age
- Extremes of temperature
- Excessive contact with water( frequently washing hands and foot or taking a shower)
- Swimming in chlorinated water.
- When skin becomes dry due to any of the above factors, it causes irritation and itching. Scratches break the natural barrier of skin against harmful organisms, making it easy for bacteria, viruses, or fungus to invade the skin and cause infections.
- The best treatment for this cause is to moisturize the feet regularly with lotions, creams, or alcohol-free oil and avoid factors that cause dryness or loss of skin moisture.
Feet are prone to injuries. In response to injury, the tissue starts healing. When the skin cells and nerve endings began to repair, these nerve endings may trigger itchiness around or on the scab or wound.
Irritants/ Contact dermatitis:
- Any foreign substance that comes in contact with the human body produces a reaction in the body leading to rash, hives, burning, stinging, itching or irritation. It forms red itchy, or blistering rashes.
- Irritants can be medicines such as statins, ACE inhibitors, morphine, neomycin, etc., or chemicals such as adhesive glues, tapes, perfumes, poison ivy.
- To find which specific allergen is the cause, a patch test can be done.
- It is treated by avoiding allergens, creams, and lotion to soothe the skin, antihistamines, and steroids.
- In psoriasis, the body’s immune system starts attacking its own cell, which results in an increased cellular turn over causing scaling and redness all over the body, mostly on extensor surfaces. It can also include feet and toes.
- It Is excruciating and causes itching and scaling. Patches of red skin, bumps, and scales are present. Joints can also become swollen and stiff.
- It is treated topically with creams or lotions containing tar, salicylic acid, or steroids.
Eczema or Atopic dermatitis:
- Eczema can occur anywhere on the body, but Dyshidrotic dermatitis appears on the tip & sides of toes and fingers & soles of the feet.
- It is characterized by the presence of red, scaly, or cracked skin and clear blister formation.
- The cause of eczema is still unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role. Females are twice affected as men.
- It is characterized by the formation of red scaly patches and itchy blisters. It may be triggered by:
- Dry skin
- Excess sweat
- Excess heat
- Loss of Humidity
- Applying a cold compress can soothe the skin. If it worsens, the doctor may prescribe topical medications to prevent dryness and promote skin hydration. Steroids are also a treatment option.
- Candida or molds mostly cause a fungal infection of the foot.
- It occurs due to excess sweating. The fungus survives in the moisture, warmth, and dark environment between the toes.
- It can cause scaly rash, itching, burning, and stinging sensation on feet and between the toes.
- Anti-fungal medications that may be topical or systemic are used to treat this condition.
Insect bites and Parasites:
- Due to insect bites (such as scabies), parasite infestation (hookworm while walking barefoot on the ground), or a mosquito bite, etc., may cause redness, bumps, and itching.
- In scabies, itch mite called Sarcoptes Scabiei gets into the top layer of skin and forms pits and burrows into the skin, laying eggs. It can spread through skin-to-skin contact.
- It causes intense itching, especially at night on the forearm, elbows, armpits, umbilicus, around genitals, and webbing between fingers. Children experience a rash on the head, face, neck, palms, and soles of the foot.
- When the weather is cold, wet, and chilly, blood vessels in the extremities constrict to avoid heat loss from the body. But if feet are quickly warmed, the permeability of blood vessels increases, and blood leaks into the tissue causing chilblains.
- It causes itching, redness, and swelling.
- It is usually treated with calamine lotion.
- In summers, foot-wears are usually open, or people go barefoot out in the sun. This increases the exposure of skin to the sun. Furthermore, while using sunscreen, feet are neglected most of the time, further increasing the risk.
- Excessive exposure to the sun may lead to sunburns characterized by redness, irritation, and itching.
- The treatment includes reduced exposure to skin, sunscreen application before going out in the sun, and calamine lotion to relieve itchiness.
- Burns can cause severe damage to the affected body part. Once the skin starts repairing and even after healing, itchiness can occur.
- Any liver disease that obstructs bile flow ( cholestasis) or liver failure can cause accumulation of bile in the body, which causes itchiness.
- It is treated with cholestyramine or Calamine lotion.
- In chronic kidney diseases, such as kidney failure or end-stage-renal-disease, toxins, mainly urea, accumulate in the body instead of getting removed in the urine. These toxins accumulated in the human body cause intense itching.
- When uncontrolled diabetes disturbs kidney function, called Diabetic nephropathy causing itching, fatigue, swelling in the eyes, hands, ankles, & feet, and difficulty regulating blood pressure.
- Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, and Graves’ disease can cause dryness of the skin and may cause itching and scaling over the body.
- In diabetes, high blood sugar levels impair the function of blood vessels (peripheral artery disease), including those that supply vital nutrients to nerves. This leads to nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy.
- It causes tingling, numbness, burning, or itchiness of extremities.
- Other nerve disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, shingles, can cause itchiness over hands and feet.
- Treatment includes modifying lifestyle and diet to control blood sugar levels and seek help from a doctor.
- Estrogen helps the body to retain its natural moisture and starts to decline during menopause and peri-menopause
- This causes dryness, itching, bumps, or rashes on the skin.
- Hormonal changes during menopause can cause a range of skin complaints, including hot flashes, sweating, and itchiness.
- Obstruction to bile flow from the liver during pregnancy is called Pruritis Gravidarum.
- It causes stasis of bile salts in the body which is responsible for itchy palms and feet.
- In anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, or other mental illnesses patient feels the urge to scratch skin
- Leukemias, lymphomas, gall bladder cancer, and liver cancer may cause an itching sensation
Why do my feet itch at night?
In medical terms, Itching at night is called nocturnal Pruritis. It may be due to a natural cause or a severe medical condition that can be severe enough to disturb sleep.
Certain people feel itchy at night due to some natural causes, which may be:
1-Temperature regulation: Body’s temperature and blood flow increase in the evening, warming the skin, which may cause itchiness
2-Chemical substances: inflammatory substances such as cytokines which are proteins and regulate the inflammatory response, are released more at night, which cause itching
3-Hormonal fluctuations: At night, the production of corticosteroids that reduce inflammation can cause itching.
4-Dryness: Water loss through skin increase at night during winters, which causes itching
5-Pregnancy: itching during pregnancy occurs due to obstruction to bile flow; bile salts accumulate in the body, which worsens at night, causing itchiness
1-Contact with allergens: Some people are allergic to certain chemicals, food, soaps, fragrances, etc., which may cause itching.
2-Systemic disorders: involving liver, kidney, or thyroid.
4-Insect bites such as scabies, the bed bug, etc
Why are my feet Itchy After Shower?
- The medical term for this condition is called Xerosis cutis. Exposing skin to hot water for a long time depletes the moisture leading to dryness.
- Feet are more prone to itchiness as they already are devoid of natural oil-secreting glands.
- Treatment includes:
- limiting exposure to water by reducing shower duration and frequency
- Use lukewarm water for bathing.
- Use essential oil( peppermint, lavender, chamomile, tea-tree, etc.)diluted in carrier oils (almond oil) in the bathing water to prevent dryness.
- Pat dry the skin after taking a bath.
- Avoid using a towel as it strips off the skin moisture.
- Moisturize the skin when it is slightly wet as it will lock the moisture into the skin. Use a hypoallergenic .moisturizer
- If the soap contains harsh chemicals that deplete the skin of moisture, or if some soap residue is left on the skin or when the skin is sensitive to certain chemicals contained in the soap may cause rash and itching
- Treatment includes:
- Use hypoallergenic soap that comes with moisturizing properties
- If itching occurs, use cooling agents such as menthol or calamine lotion
- Anti-itch creams such as pramoxine which is an anesthetic and helps relieve itching
- A rare medical condition in which exposure to water activates the body’s sensory system, causing intense itching, stinging, or burning without any visible skin manifestations.
- Symptoms began immediately on coming in contact with water and may last for a few hours.
How to diagnose itchy feet?
Itching is diagnosed by examining the skin. The doctor may examine it under dermatoscopy, skin scrape may be ordered, or skin culture and biopsy might be done to find the causative factor. Blood tests are also done to rule out infectious causes.
What is the Treatment of itchy feet?
Mostly itching is not a serious medical ailment and settles with time. Still, if it is worsening with time, accompanies blister formation, and disturbs sleep and daily life activities, then medical treatment is required.
Many times, itchy feet can be treated at home by lifestyle changes or trying home-remedies:
- Applying icepacks or wet/ cold compress to the itchy area may temporarily soothe the skin and relieve itchiness.
- Regularly moisturize the skin with an alcohol-free moisturizer or apply oil.
- The application of menthol or calamine provides a cooling sensation and decreases the urge to scratch the skin.
- Oatmeal bath by mixing 1 cup of powdered oatmeal into warm bathing water
- Soaking feet in water with 1/4th cup of apple cider vinegar.
- Use an air humidifier at night to keep the skin moisturized and prevent dryness.
- Topical anesthetics containing pramoxine.
- Avoid stress as it causes anxiety which in turn triggers itch. Itching further aggravates the anxiety, and this cycle continues.
- Stress can also be relieved by yoga, meditation, or muscle relaxing exercises.
When to See a Doctor?
Most of the time, itchy feet relieve with home remedies and after adopting preventive measures.
Sometimes, it isn’t relieved due to an underlying medical condition, and medical help is required. Following are a few conditions in which seeking medical is mandatory:
- Itching that doesn’t settle on its own and is worsening with time.
- Itching that doesn’t settle after trying home remedies.
- Itching lasting for a longer period(for a week or two) with regular flare-ups.
- Itching affecting the larger area of the body.
- Itching intense enough to disturb normal life activities.
- It is associated with rash, swelling, fever or pain(infection), or weight loss.
- Itching around menopause.
- Itching in a person with diabetes.
- Itching accompanying a skin disorder.
- Itching when you are also diagnosed with a systemic disorder.
- If after taking a medicine, Itching starts accompanied by swelling of face, difficulty in breathing, unconsciousness, cold and clammy skin, then immediately ask for medical help as this is a deadly allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Which doctor should I see for itchy foot treatment?
A doctor, dermatologist, or podiatrist can treat itchy feet. Still, if itchiness is specifically involving feet, then a podiatrist is the doctor of choice as podiatrists are uniquely qualified among all other healthcare professionals in treating different foot conditions.
Itchy Feet Hospital Treatment:
A doctor treats itching feet depending upon the underlying cause. Following are the treatment options:
The best creams for itchy feet are:
- Topical lotions such as calamine.
- Topical anti-itch creams and ointments.
- Topical steroids.
- Anti-histamines: They are further divided into two groups. Older are sedatives, and newer ones are non-sedatives. Older Anti-histamines such as chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, or promethazine relieve the itch and make a person sleepy. Newer antihistamines such as cetirizine or fexofenadine are beneficial in removing itchiness without making you sleepy.
- Antibiotics in case of bacterial infection
- Anti-fungal therapy, if you have an athlete’s foot.
- SSRIs: Scratching releases a neurotransmitter called serotonin which intensifies the itch, so the doctor may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor(SSRI) or anti-depressants that decrease serotonin at the nerve endings
- Treatment of underlying causes such as scabies, psoriasis, eczema, or a systemic disorder.
How to Prevent Itchy Feet?
Prevention depends upon the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Following ways may be adopted to prevent itchiness:
- Maintain proper foot hygiene. Wash feet regularly with soap and dry thoroughly afterward
- Regularly moisturize the skin of feet as the foot skin is devoid of oil-secreting glands
- Take fewer baths to avoid dryness and use lukewarm water for showers
- Wear foot-wears only when feet are dehydrated
- Wear properly fitting shoes
- Wear shoes made up of breathable material, i.e., they let the air in/ those with mesh holes.
- Wear properly fitting socks made up of natural, soft, and breathable fabric such as cotton or wool
- Wear trousers with a fabric made up of natural and soft material like cotton or wool
- Avoid walking barefoot on the ground to avoid contact with insects and parasites.
- Avoid contact with allergens.
- Avoid skin products containing harsh chemicals such as perfumes, fragrances, soaps, makeup, etc.
- Use hypoallergenic detergents and avoid harsh soaps
- Regularly monitor blood sugar levels and eat a balanced diet
- Avoid stress as it triggers itching
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine before going to bed as it dilates blood vessels, increases skin warmth triggering itching at night.
- Use an air humidifier at night in dry weather conditions to keep the skin moisturized and avoid itchy feet at night.
- If you experience an itching sensation, avoid scratching as it aggravates itchiness, and scratches in the skin may cause bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
- Examine feet daily for any cuts or scratches