This Is Why Your Feet Are Itching Like Crazy Right Now
8 months ago, 16 Jan 19:54
You're lying in bed, ready to drift off to dreamland, when "bam!" Your feet start itching like crazy. Later, halfway through your workout, the heel of your foot flares up. Seriously, itchy feet are infuriating, and they always have a way of acting up at the least convenient time ever. Here, we uncover the most common causes of itchy feet—and most importantly, how to ditch that itch for good. Even couch potatoes get athlete's foot, a fungal infection almost three-quarters of the population will have at some point. Highly contagious, it can hide in laundry hampers or on the bathroom floor. The telltale signs are itchiness, especially between the toes, and white or red scaliness. If over-the-counter antifungal creams or powders don't calm the infection within two weeks, see a podiatrist to check if it's one of the conditions below. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women's Health's 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!) Thick, itchy, rough patches might be eczema or psoriasis. The former often responds well to simple remedies like using fragrance-free soap, taking lukewarm showers, and applying a lotion containing skin-barrier-building ceramides, like Eucerin Advanced Repair Foot Creme ($8, amazon.com). Psoriasis, however, sometimes leads to serious complications like psoriatic arthritis and inflammation, says Lindsay Strowd, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "So we treat it actively, with strong topicals like prescription-level steroid creams, or sometimes with oral or injected anti-inflammatory medications." Watch a hot doctor explain why your feet are peeling: Itchy feet and legs can sometimes be a stealth symptom of type 2 diabetes, because when there's extra sugar in the blood, the kidneys make more urine to flush it out—and fluid loss equals dry skin equals irritation. Mention any risk factors for the condition (a family history, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or gestational diabetes during pregnancy) to your M.D.; if blood work or a glucose tolerance test is positive, she can suggest diet and behavioral tweaks that can help control the disease. This article originally appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Women's Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now!
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