why do the heels of my feet itch
Cracked, itchy feet can be extremely uncomfortable and a potential source of embarrassment. In most cases, the cracked skin is little more than a nuisance, but in severe cases, it can lead to serious infection. Contact your physician if it becomes extremely bothersome or you experience bleeding. there are many potential causes for dry feet. Cracked, itchy feet have several potential causes. Athleteвs foot, a contagious fungal infection medically known as tinea pedis, typically causes cracking between the toes but can affect the entire foot. The risk for athleteвs foot increases if you sweat a lot, allow your feet to remain wet for prolonged periods or wear plastic-lined or closed-toe shoes. Cracked heels can also be a source of itchy discomfort. The New Zealand Dermatological Society explains that dry skin, psoriasis, dermatitis, diabetes and obesity increase the risk of cracked heels. A physical exam can help to diagnose cracked feet. Diagnosing the cause of cracked, itchy feet typically involves a physical examination and a close look at your medical history. Be prepared to explain when you first noticed the problem and the conditions leading up to it, such as prolonged standing on a hard surface or use of open-backed, non-supportive shoes or physical contact with someone inflicted with athleteвs foot. Your doctor may examine skin scrapings or fluid samples under a microscope to diagnose a fungal infection.
Try using moisturizers. For cracked, itchy feet caused by dry skin, massaging moisturizers into the affected area two to three times a day may be enough. Stubborn cases may respond better to lotions or balms containing salicylic acid or alpha-hydroxy. In severe cases of cracked heels, your physician may prescribe stronger lotions or cut away the hard skin. Do not attempt to cut the skin yourself, as this can lead to infection. Athleteвs foot is treated with over-the-counter or prescription-strength antifungal ointments. If the infection does not respond to topical treatments, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication. Thoroughly dry your feet. To prevent athleteвs foot, thoroughly dry your feet after showering, bathing or swimming, change your socks frequently, especially if you are sweating, use medicated or drying powders if you are susceptible to athleteвs foot and wear well-ventilated shoes, suggests Medline Plus. Prevent dry, cracked heels by avoiding standing for long periods, especially in open-backed shoes, maintaining a healthy weight and moisturizing frequently. Severely cracked feet may need to e seen by a doctor. Both athleteвs foot and cracked heels can cause secondary bacterial infections such as cellulitis, especially if the fissures are deep enough to cause bleeding. Diabetic patients are at a higher risk for developing a foot ulcer, which can cause bone infection.
Left untreated, a diabetic foot ulcer can lead to loss of limb. Contact your physician immediately if your cracked, itchy feet are causing pain or difficulty walking.
Foot itch is an irritating sensation that can sometimes be accompanied by redness, flaking, swelling, soreness or scarring of the skin. While scratching can temporarily alleviate the symptom, it is not a cure. Continuing to scratch will ultimately result in skin damage, increasing irritation and chances of infection. Exercising can sometimes cause feet to become irritated, and the reasons for this occurrence vary. There are several causes of itchy feet during or after exercising; however, the most likely causes are dry skin or athlete's foot. Dry skin itches because it is easily irritated. Feet tend to sweat during exercise, which is the bodyвs attempt to cool warm skin. When sweat evaporates off your skinвs surface, salt remains, pulling moisture out of skin pores causing dehydration. Physical stress placed on your feet when running can also remove moisture from your skin. Other causes of dry skin can usually be seen in people that have chronic diseases, such as peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, psoriasis or thyroid disease. Dry skin could also be caused by common reasons, such as age, geographical areas with low humidity or poorly fit shoes. Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention Symptoms usually involve itchy, red, flaky patches of skin.
Peeling and cracked skin could also appear and usually does in between toes, on the heels and soles of your feet. Use a pumice stone to remove hardened skin from your feet. Daily moisturizers and creams can help restore areas of dryness to normal condition. Prevention of dry skin involves washing and checking feet daily, carefully choosing loosely fitting cotton socks, snug but not tight-fitting shoes and avoiding activities that could injure your feet. Medicated powder can also help relieve itching on your feet. Athlete's foot is usually found in people with foot perspiration or wet feet trapped in shoes and socks. Fungus grows in these warm, dark and damp places and thrives in these environments. Fungus growth can be exacerbated by exercise as perspiration increases when you are active. As the fungus spreads to other parts of the foot, it irritates the skin, causing it to itch. Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention Athlete's foot symptoms involve itchy, red, cracking, burning, scaly skin that usually appears between the toes. Common treatment involves over-the-counter anti-fungal creams or ointments. Prevention includes washing and drying your feet after walking, allowing your shoes time to dry before wearing them again. Don't share your shoes with others, wear slippers in public shared areas such as pools, showers or gyms, and avoid tight-fitting shoes.
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