What is foot itch?

A foot itch is a tickling, irritating sensation accompanied by the persistent need to scratch your foot. Redness, swelling, soreness, flaking and scarring may occur in the area of itchiness. The medical term for itching is pruritus. Although scratching may temporarily relieve your symptoms, it can cause more irritation or lead to an infection. With most cases of itching, it is best if you can refrain from scratching and leave the area alone to heal.

Causes of foot itch are numerous and may include insect bites, allergies, infections, and trauma. When wounds are healing they often start to itch, which is a sign of improvement. Chickenpox, an extremely common childhood illness, is accompanied by red, oozing blisters that cause intense itching. Eczema, contact dermatitis, scabies, and pinworms are other causes of itching.

Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection known scientifically as tinea pedis, is a common source of foot itch. It causes a scaly, dry rash that is spread from person to person. The infection is often caught by walking barefoot on floors in swimming pool facilities and locker rooms, hence the name athlete’s foot. The condition is easily treatable with topical creams, but frequent fungal infections could signal a more serious condition. People who have diabetes or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are especially prone to athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. Frequent use of antibiotics can also predispose you to developing fungal infections.

Most causes of foot itch are fairly mild and should not be a cause for concern. However, your health care provider should evaluate itching that is sudden, severe or unusual. Itching caused by a serious food allergy can come on rapidly with a strong need to scratch. This type of itching may be symptomatic of a serious anaphylactic reaction, which impairs breathing, causes swelling, fainting, and vomiting, and is considered a medical emergency.

Sudden itching can be a sign of anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to a food, chemical, or insect sting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if an itch is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, including swelling of the face, swelling or constriction of the throat, difficulty breathing, fainting, change in level of consciousness or alertness, or rash.


What other symptoms might occur with foot itch?

Foot itch may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Certain conditions that cause foot itch may also involve other body systems.

Related localized symptoms that may occur along with foot itch

Foot itch may be accompanied by other localized symptoms including:


What causes foot itch?

Foot itch may have many possible causes, including allergens (agents that cause allergies), infections, autoimmune disorders, or other causes such as stress.

Allergic causes of foot itch

Foot itch may be caused by contact dermatitis. Common triggers include:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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