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Causes of a Red Itchy Rash on the Feet

by
author image Whitney Hopler
Whitney Hopler has authored numerous articles and several books in more than 20 years as a professional writer. As an editor, she’s served at The Salvation Army’s national magazines, Crosswalk.com and several newspapers.
Causes of a Red Itchy Rash on the Feet
Dealing with a red, itchy foot rash is an unpleasant experience, but one that's commonplace. Photo Credit feet image by Mat Hayward from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Dealing with a red, itchy foot rash is an unpleasant experience, but one that's commonplace. The cause may be anything from a chronic skin condition to an acute infection. Several main factors usually cause red, itchy rashes on people's feet, and determining which one is the culprit will help pinpoint the way to deal with it.

Dermatitis

This skin condition, which often causes a red, itchy rash, can affect any part of the body and frequently affects the feet. Dermatitis involves inflammation of the skin that can take many forms and has many causes as well, ranging from genetic factors and allergies to mental and physical stress. Some types of dermatitis that affect the feet, the Mayo Clinic says, include neurodermatitis, which develops when something creates an itching sensation on a specific area of skin and commonly occurs around the ankles, and contact dermatitis, which develops on feet when an allergen or irritant makes contact with the skin on the feet. Allergens that often cause contact dermatitis include weeds such as poison ivy, rubber and an ingredient in topical antibiotic creams called neomycin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Irritants that commonly cause contact dermatitis, the Mayo Clinic says, include soaps, detergents and cleaning products.

Psoriasis

This skin condition can cause a red, itchy rash on any part of the body, including the feet. In psoriasis, the body's immune system malfunctions in a way that leads the skin to become thickened and scaly, creating the red, itchy rash. The National Psoriasis Foundation says that, in people who have a genetic predisposition to the disease, it can be triggered by factors such as stress, medications like lithium and beta blocker blood pressure drugs, skin injuries like scratches and sunburns, and infections like strep throat.

Athlete's Foot

A variety of different fungi cause this foot infection characterized by a red, itchy rash. While athlete's foot can affect any part of the foot, it most often affects the space between the toes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. People commonly contract athlete's foot by coming into contact with fungi in places such as swimming pools, locker rooms and showers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends several strategies to reduce the risk of contracting athlete's foot, including wearing sandals rather than walking barefoot in public locker rooms or shower stalls; keeping feet clean, dry and cool; and clipping toenails to keep them short, since longer nails can house and spread infection.

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