Foot Allergies: Not Just in a Season

Itchy, allergy feet. “Allergies” conjure up images of sneezing, itchy eyes, hives, swelling, wheezing, and generally unpleasant symptoms. For some people, allergies develop once or twice in a season. For others, they have very specific triggers—and can possibly be life-threatening. What most people don’t consider, however, is that allergies aren’t limited to the face, the sinuses, or even the chest or arms. Foot allergies are not as common as others, but they can certainly make life difficult for you.

Itchy Feet and Allergic Reactions

Your skin covers you all over to protect your insides from harmful bacteria, foreign objects, and anything that doesn’t belong in your body. It also allows you to sense and interact with the world around you. While your skin makes an excellent barrier, it can be quite sensitive and react to irritants. Contact dermatitis is inflammation in your skin that develops when you touch something that irritates your body. Allergies can cause this anywhere you touch the thing you’re allergic too—including on your feet.

These foot allergies can cause significant itching and discomfort for your lower limbs. Your feet may swell and appear red. You may develop a rash where the irritants had contact with your skin. In some cases, you may develop blisters or your skin may dry out and crack. Any of these can make wearing shoes or walking very difficult. Usually symptoms appear within a couple hours of being exposed to the irritant, though it may take as many as 24 hours.

Common Sources of Foot Allergies

Many different things can irritate the skin on your feet and cause an allergic reaction. Some, however, are more likely to affect your feet than anywhere else on your body—even if the allergy is fairly rare overall. This is certainly the case for a shoe allergy. For some people, the chemicals used to treat the leather in shoes or the glue that seals shoe parts together can cause contact dermatitis.

Other substances can definitely cause a reaction as well. Detergents to clean your socks may aggravate your feet. Antiperspirants to minimize foot sweat could be a problem. Adhesive in some sports tapes or other body tapes can bother some people. Exposure to certain plants by walking barefoot outside, like poison ivy, could cause a reaction as well.

How to Soothe a Contact Dermatitis Breakout

Relieving the inflammation and removing the allergen will eliminate your itchy feet and get your lower limbs back to normal. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. can help you identify the allergen and formulate treatments to address stubborn itchiness. Contact dermatitis can be treated entirely conservatively and, in some cases, home remedies may be helpful.

The most important step to treating a foot allergy is to remove the irritant. Take off the shoes or socks that are bothering you and wash your feet to get rid of chemicals or anything else that might be lingering. Depending on the severity of the reaction, you may need medication to calm down any inflammation and allow your skin to heal. Home remedies like baking soda paste and warm foot baths may be helpful for mild cases. Once the condition has been eliminated, you’ll need to take steps to prevent exposure to the allergen again. This may mean changing shoes or detergents.

Protecting your feet from allergens can be a challenge and may take some time working with our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. to find what helps you the most. The sooner you take care of your foot allergies, however, the easier it will be to manage and the faster you’ll get relief for your itchy feet. Make an appointment with us today. Our team will help you identify the source of your contact dermatitis and address it. Use our online contact forms or call one of our offices in Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, or Parker, CO, at (303) 805-5156.

Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC