Learn why you have dry, itchy feet and how to treat it. Living in the Arizona desert (especially in the middle of winter) can really wreak havoc on your skin. One of the most common problems we see in our office during this time of year is dry, itchy feet. There are a number of reasons why this might happen, but fortunately it’s usually an easily treatable problem. Just make sure you come in before your feet start cracking, which can lead to more troubles.
There are many different reasons why your feet and ankles might be feeling itchy or dry:
Common Causes of Dry, Itchy Feet
- Weather: When the weather is dry your skin may also become dry, which can lead to itchiness. Since the skin on the feet is so thin, this is some of the first to be affected. The best way to fight it is by staying hydrated and applying moisturizer to your feet (not in between the toes).
- Psoriasis: This is a condition that causes your skin cells to grow very rapidly and then build up on your body. With psoriasis you may also have stiff or swollen joints.
- Eczema: There are different types of eczema but they all inflame the skin, causing dryness and itchiness. Dyshidrotic dermatitis is the one that affects only the feet.
- Hand Foot and Mouth: This is a disease that mainly affects children (adults aren’t immune, but are less likely to get it). It causes rashes on the feet and hands, and blisters in the mouth.
- Athlete’s Foot: This is a fungal infection of the skin. It can affect the feet and may lead to itching, stinging, and raw skin. It can also be spread to other areas of the body (including the groin) through scratching so it’s best to get treatment as soon as possible.
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing dry, itchy or cracked feet is important. You can prevent common causes of dry and itchy feet by following a few tips. First, make sure to wash your feet everyday or more as needed. Make sure to wash the skin with soap and water, don't just let the soap and water run down your feet. Actually wash them. If you are participating in sports or rigorous activities, wash them more often. After the shower, apply lotion or moisturizer to the feet, but avoid the area in between your toes. Make sure you wear clean socks with shoes and change them as needed.