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Red, Itchy Feet – Could Be Contact Dermatitis

Our feet are very adaptable to everyday lives. Day by day we put them in and out socks, shoes, heels or boots.  We walk barefoot or slip on those favorites slippers every evening. Even through the wear and tear, our feet seem to adapt to our lifestyle. Imagine walking on your favorite trail and, seemingly out of nowhere, you notice a rash that is red, itchy and painful. Contact dermatitis can often present with these very symptoms.

Contact dermatitis occurs when our skin is introduced to a substance that causes an irritating reaction. This substance can occur with poison ivy, nickel found in jewelry, or more commonly in podiatry, a substance found in the sock or shoe.

Symptoms will consist of a noticeable rash that may be patchy. The affected area will be located at the point of contact with the irritating substance. The reaction may progress to swelling and can become crusty. Two different types of reactions may occur. One could simply be due to non-immunologic response, or one that is non-allergenic, that will take place on first exposure. Secondly, an immune reaction, or an allergic reaction may occur, in which subsequent exposures will cause the irritation.

Treatment consists of avoiding contact with the offending agent and treating the symptoms. Avoiding contact may be tricky if unaware of what caused the initial reaction. Treating the symptoms may consist of increasing aeration of the affected area along with use of topical, lotions, and soaks. Vulnerability of the skin can cause infection thus treatment should be taken seriously.

Seeking appropriate care is crucial as these signs and symptoms are not exclusive to contact dermatitis and other skin disorders may present similarly. If you notice any changes in your foot health please consider making an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.


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