Causes of Foot Rash

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Treating Your Foot Rash

Do you have a rash on your feet, but you can’t seem to figure out what’s causing the problem? Not surprisingly, there are many different things that can cause a foot rash to occur, including something occurring near the foot itself or a body-wide condition. A foot rash can affect a small area, be short-lived and mild, or it may spread further up the leg, returning frequently and be painful or itchy. Some foot rashes are also highly contagious.

The first step in treating your foot rash is getting the right diagnosis. Knowing exactly what is causing your foot rash can also help you prevent it from ever returning and turning into a chronic condition. Here’s a look at some of the things that can cause a foot rash, their symptoms, and how to treat them.

Common Causes of Foot Rash

  • Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type of contact dermatitis. Usually caused by damage to the protective outer layer of skin due to contact with chemicals such as household cleaning products, detergents, dyes, cosmetics, or industrial chemicals. This type of rash is not contagious.
    Symptoms: Localized dry, cracked, scaly skin, and a non-itchy foot and ankle rash. Symptoms vary depending on exposure to the chemical.
    Treatment: Wash the area well, avoid the irritant, use anti-histamines or topical steroids.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to allergens that trigger an immune reaction in the skin. Common allergens include latex rubber, plants, metallic substances, and shoe leather. This type of rash is not contagious.
    Symptoms: Pink or red skin with small bumps which may blister. Can be extremely itchy.
    Treatment: Avoid the allergen, use a cold compress, anti-histamines or topical steroid medication.
  • Eczema is a chronic condition that usually starts in early childhood, but can be grown out of. The exact cause is unknown and may be due to a number of different factors, including an inability for skin to provide an effective barrier to allergens, bacteria, and environmental conditions. Eczema can also be hereditary. This type of rash is not contagious.
    Symptoms: Dry, red patches of inflamed skin that tend to be itchy (more so at night). Can progress into small, fluid-filled bumps.
    Treatment: There is no cure for eczema but you can relieve the symptoms by using corticosteroid cream or ointment, anti-histamines, or UV light therapy. Make sure to regularly moisture the skin, and take shorter, less frequent baths or showers in warm water.
  • Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection (a type of ringworm) which is often caused by sweaty feet, tight shoes, damp footwear, or anything that makes the foot warm and wet for long periods of time. This type of rash is contagious.
    Symptoms: Scaly, itchy, flaky, red foot rash accompanied by a stinging and burning sensation. Blisters may also occur.
    Treatment: Anti-fungal medication (usually cream or ointment). Good hygiene such as changing shoes and socks often.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a mild viral infection often contracted through coughing and sneezing. This type of rash tends to occur during warmer weather and is highly infectious.
    Symptoms: Red, non-itchy hand and foot rash. Blisters may occur in the mouth, hands, and feet. Fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, and a general feeling of being unwell. Dehydration is also a common side effect as it can be painful to drink.
    Treatment: Oral anaesthetics and over-the-counter medications (paracetamol and ibuprofen).

Other Causes of Foot Rash

Some of the other, less common causes of foot rash can include:

  • Food allergies
  • Insect bite or bee sting
  • Chickenpox or shingles
  • Erythema nodosum (red nodules under the skin)
  • Impetigo
  • Lyme disease
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Roseola
  • Scarlett fever
  • Meningitis
  • Pityriasis rosea
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Strep throat
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Extreme cold or heat
  • Lichen planus (purplish itchy papules)
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Sunburn
  • Allergic purpura
  • Anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction)

Consult with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie

Before you try to treat your foot rash at home, it is important to get the right diagnosis to determine the cause of your foot rash. Book an appointment with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie today, so that they can help you figure out the best treatment plan for your foot rash.