Person lightly scratching foot

6 Causes of Itchy Feet | Treatment for Dry, Itchy Feet

We all get itchy feet from time to time, and occasional itchiness is nothing to worry about. But if the problem persists, it could require treatment. At worst, it could spread; at best, it’s going to leave you with a very annoying problem.

In this guide, we’ll cover topics such as:

  • The causes of itchy feet
  • How to relieve itchy feet
  • The most effective treatments
  • Prevention and self-care tips
  • And more

Causes of Dry, Itchy Feet

Itchy feet can be caused by a variety of issues and conditions, the most common of which include:

1. Weather and Humidity 

Low humidity and cold weather can dry out your skin, and when your skin is dry, it’s prone to dry and itchy patches. The condition may worsen if you’re not drinking enough water or doing anything that can aggravate the condition. 

Treatment and prevention

As tempting as it is to scratch the itch, try to refrain from doing so and treat the dryness with moisturisers. Apply moisturisers whenever your feet are dry. They are especially effective at night, as a slow-absorbing cream will keep your feet protected while you sleep.

2. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can affect the soles of the feet, as well as in-between the toes. It’s caused by walking barefoot on exposed surfaces such as gym mats and public floors. 

Treatment and prevention

Use an antifungal treatment to cure a fungal infection. These include Lamisil and Canesten. The product is applied to the affected area twice a day and should start working within a week or so. However, you may need to wait for up to 4 weeks, so be patient.

Fungal infections can reappear, so wash your socks thoroughly and if the issue returns, re-treat it as soon as possible.

3. Allergies

Allergic reactions resulting in itchy and dry patches are often a result of contact dermatitis. Your body is allergic to something that you have worn, touched, or placed against your skin, with the most common offenders being clothing, jewellery, fragrances, and cosmetics.

Treatment and prevention

The first thing you should do is figure out what’s causing the problem and then avoid it. This is often easier said than done, but a little trial and error can get to the bottom of the issue.

A simple balm or ointment will relieve the itchiness and protect your skin until the area heals. Look for a low-concentration hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. If that fails, speak with your doctor and they can prescribe something stronger.

4. Skin Conditions

Eczema and psoriasis are common skin complaints that can cause itchy feet.

Psoriasis occurs when your immune system starts attacking healthy cells. It produces a rash and is usually very itchy and sore. 

Eczema causes dry and itchy skin and can appear anywhere on the body. Scientists don’t know for certain what causes the condition, but environmental factors may play a role.

Treatment and prevention

There are a number of treatments (balms, creams, lotions) to help with these conditions. Some are available over the counter, but the most effective treatments are prescription only.

Speak to your pharmacist or doctor about cortisone, coal tar preparations, calcipotriol, methotrexate, acitretin, and cyclosporin for psoriasis. Simple moisturisers are also effective for eczema, as are anti-inflammatory treatments and coal tar.

Speak to your pharmacist and consult with your doctor if the problem persists.

5. Poor Foot Hygiene and Improper Footwear

Do you wash your feet often? Do you dry them after exercise or walking all day? Do they smell a lot? Foot hygiene is important, and a lack of proper hygiene could lead to dry and itchy feet.

By the same token, you need shoes that fit; shoes that don’t chafe or restrict and can be worn comfortably throughout the day.

Treatment and prevention

The treatment for dry, itchy feet caused by improper hygiene is simple: do better! Dry your feet when they get sweaty, wash them at least once a day, and get socks that are comfortable and shoes that fit.

6. Medical Conditions

Diabetes and hypothyroidism may cause itchy feet, along with other symptoms. Itchiness can also result from liver disease, aquagenic pruritus, and a few other conditions, but most of these are rare and typically present with other symptoms.

Treatment and prevention

Simple creams may relieve the itching while introducing moisture to hydrate and protect the area. Beyond that, you’ll need to speak with your doctor about stronger medications and creams. They can also check the area, enquire about other symptoms, and rule out more serious conditions.

Medical Treatments for Itchy Feet

Your local pharmacist should be well-stocked with treatments that can help with itchy and dry feet, including:

  • Antifungal creams that work by attacking the fungus that causes itchy feet
  • Corticosteroid creams that reduce inflammation
  • Antihistamines that alleviate symptoms related to allergies
  • Moisturising creams to hydrate the problem area
  • Medications used to treat underlying conditions

Your doctor will know which treatment is best, so if the problem is causing you great distress or persists after self-treatment, consult them.

Home Remedies and Natural Treatments

Can’t get to the pharmacy? Looking for something a little more natural? Here are a few home remedies that could work:

  • Natural moisturisers like shea butter, olive oil, and coconut oil will hydrate your skin.
  • Epsom salts are perfect for a long soak.
  • Tea tree oil and aloe vera are soothing and skin-friendly.
  • Exfoliate by bathing your feet in oatmeal and warm water. Baking soda also helps.
  • A cold pack can relieve the itch and reduce inflammation.
  • Apple cider vinegar mixed with water and applied directly will disinfect the area.


So, what are the causes of itchy feet? Well, as the above guide shows, they are diverse, ranging from dry weather to poor hygiene, contact dermatitis, and eczema. In most cases, a simple balm or cream will provide relief, and it’s important to practice good foot hygiene and always wear well-fitting shoes.

If the problem persists or it is accompanied by other symptoms, speak with your healthcare provider.