It started it with a little itchiness and some dry skin, not unusual in the winter with the heat blasting. As the days have gone on, however, the dryness has increased. In some areas your skin is red and scaly. What’s going on? Dry, itchy skin on the feet can be the sign of several different conditions. At Great Neck Family Foot Care our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Alec Hochstein has many years experience treating foot conditions. The first step to relief is accurately diagnosing the problem. Here are a few possible problems that may be behind your dry skin:
Xerosis/Pruritis—These conditions are simply very dry feet. Xerosis is dry skin and pruritis is dry skin that is itchy and scaly. The treatment for these is applying a rich moisturizer once or twice a day until the condition subsides. If, however, the dry skin doesn’t go away after two weeks of consistent moisturizing then it may be one of the conditions below.
Athlete’s Foot—This infection is caused by a fungus that is usually picked up by walking barefoot in damp public places like gyms or pools. Oftentimes with Athlete’s Foot, the itchy red skin will be particularly bad between the toes.
Psoriasis—Often mistaken for Athlete’s Foot, psoriasis is characterized by flaky thick patches of inflamed skin but the cause is entirely different. Psoriasis is actually a chronic disease of the immune system where new skin cells surface too quickly, resulting in the itchy and at times painful skin patches. Moisturizing lotions may help but often the podiatrist will need to prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication as well.
Other Conditions—Dry skin on the feet can also be pointing to a disease that affects the nerves or the circulatory system, such as diabetes or neuropathy.
If you are experiencing excessively dry skin and home remedies such as extra moisturizing and not using very hot water when you shower are not proving effective, make an appointment at our Great Neck office by calling (516) 482-5999.