There is more than one single cause of a foot rash. The causes are many, and more than a few of them have their origins in other parts of the body, for example a systemic disease may be at the root of the problem. Whatever the cause, the result is typically an itching sensation coupled with inflammation or redness. The treatment you need, if treatment is needed at all, will depend on the cause. Regardless of the cause, there are topical medications available that will provide some measure of relief.
Sometimes such a condition can come about by extremes in temperature. Side effects from medication can sometimes result in the formation of a rash on one or both feet, or anywhere else on the body. Sunburn is also a potential cause.
Three General Types of Causes
For the most part, however, the various causes fall within three main categories. These are inflammatory causes, infectious causes, and causes which can be attributed to autoimmune disorders.
- Inflammatory causes are not all that common, since the feet are generally protected by shoes or stockings and substances which cause contact dermatitis do not often come in direct contact with the skin on this part of the body. Still, if cosmetics, chemicals or certain soaps and detergents happen to come into contact with the feet, a rash can sometimes develop. Some allergies cause a condition called eczema, a skin disorder that can occur anywhere although it most often is experienced in various places on the upper body. Some allergies will cause a problem at the point of contact, while the area a rash develops may not necessarily be predictable.
- Infection is a much more common cause than inflammation or allergy. One of the more common types of infections that cause discomfort is athlete’s foot, which is usually confined to the areas between the toes. It can cause an inflammation in other areas of the foot, though. There are a number of infectious diseases that can also cause foot problems, although in many of these cases significant areas of the body are affected. These include measles, chicken pox, shingles, mumps, meningitis, and a host of other unpleasant conditions.
- Insofar as autoimmune diseases are concerned, a foot rash, as unpleasant as it may be, is usually the least of a person’s problems. It is only one of a host of symptoms that may develop which involve more than just the feet. Examples are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis and a few less common pediatric disorders.
As protected as the feet often are, they nevertheless tend to take more of a beating than many other parts of the body. They are, therefore, susceptible to fungal infections besides athlete’s foot, dry skin, and stress from bearing the weight of the body day in and day out. The latter is a frequent cause of dry skin, which often causes itching and, in some instances, will produce a rash. Dry skin and the problems it can cause are more common among the elderly, and also more common during periods of cold, winter weather. The type of footwear being worn during cold periods can sometimes trigger reactions, especially when the skin is already dry. A vitamin deficiency is another cause of dry skin.
Contact Dermatitis Is A Leading Cause
For most people, when one or both feet begin to itch or break out, the cause is that of contact dermatitis. The causes of contact dermatitis vary greatly from person to person. They may involve nothing more than changing to socks that have a slightly different texture or wearing a pair of shoes that has had the leather or other material treated with a particular chemical. In such cases, it can be helpful if you can recall anything that has changed that could have brought about a foot problem. If so, you know how you can avoid future occurrences. In most cases, your problem will be solved by application of an over-the-counter topical medication that will either provide relief or prevent the condition from arising.
A foot rash is generally thought of as being mostly a nuisance, which is often true. If, however, it is being caused by a systemic disease and left untreated, the consequences can be serious. These consequences may not affect the feet. The problem you are experiencing with your feet could be a symptom of something else, something that demands attention. The key here is to be on the lookout for other symptoms, which are almost certain to be present. As a rule of thumb, the greater the number of symptoms present, the more serious a disorder is apt to be. There are exceptions, however, but if a symptom is persistent or becoming more severe over time, it should never be ignored. You should not be ashamed to visit your doctor because one or both of your feet are itching or inflamed.
The Problem Can Often Be Avoided
You may never be able to completely avoid this type of problem, but there are certainly things that can be done to significantly lessen your chances of having itching, inflammation, or the open sores that often accompany a rash. The best advice is simply to take good care of your feet. Your feet are, in one sense, the workhorses of your body. They have to bear the brunt of your body’s full weight every time you stand up or move about. When you are running or jumping, the forces your feet deal with will significantly increase due to your body weight.
By keeping your feet clean and dry, which may mean changing socks more often than usual, they are much less apt to experience a fungal infection – a leading cause of foot rash. In fact, if you do those things recommended for avoiding athlete’s foot, apply a moisturizer during cold weather when the skin tends to become dry, and avoid getting any part of your foot sunburned, you’re almost home free. You may not be able to completely avoid a problem if you should come down with a systemic disease or come into contact with a specific allergen, but by focusing on the most common causes, you’ll more than likely avoid experiencing any significant problems.