Eczema on your feet can leave you with dry, itchy patches. Learn what causes this condition and what treatment options are available to help bring relief.

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Eczema On Feet: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

03/18/20238 min read

When your feet aren't comfortable, it affects everything. Dry, itchy patches of skin from eczema on your feet can make it difficult to wear socks, walk, or even stand. In addition to the discomfort, it looks unpleasant, which might make you want to avoid wearing sandals in public.

If you’re dealing with eczema on your feet, this guide is for you. You’ll learn how to spot the symptoms and read about similar conditions. You’ll also discover the potential causes of foot eczema and some treatment options you can use to alleviate your discomfort.

Ready for healthier skin on your feet? Keep reading!

Table Of Contents

What’s Eczema?

Baby with eczema on feet

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes itchy, red patches to appear on your skin. These patches can appear anywhere on your body, including your hands, face, legs, and feet.

This common skin condition isn’t contagious and doesn’t spread through contact with an infected person. However, there is thought to be a genetic component to it. And many people who develop eczema have family members with the same skin condition.

Symptoms Of Eczema On Feet

Foot eczema can appear in several ways. You may notice itchy, dry patches of skin or blisters that ooze fluid and crust over. You may also experience scaling, burning, or cracking.

The most common areas for eczema on feet are between your toes and around your ankles. However, it can also appear on the soles of your feet, which can be highly uncomfortable.

Similar Conditions

Eczema isn’t the only skin condition that can cause dry, itchy patches on your feet. To treat your feet properly, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re dealing with.

Here are some similar medical problems that can mimic eczema on your feet.


Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes your body to produce new skin cells too quickly. This leads to thick, scaly patches on your skin.

While these patches may appear similar to eczema, psoriasis tends to itch less. A dermatologist can help you determine if your itchy feet are from eczema, psoriasis, or something else entirely.

Athlete’s Foot

Foot with peeling skin from athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the feet. It causes peeling, cracking, and itching on your feet and between your toes.

You can contract athlete's foot from damp surfaces like showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Wearing shoes without socks or that are too tight can also increase your risk of contracting this condition.


Have your feet come into contact with something new recently? You may be experiencing an allergic reaction.

While it can be tough to figure out exactly what you're allergic to, here are a few common culprits:

  • Grass
  • Fragrances in soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dye in socks
  • Material in your shoes

An allergist can help you determine what’s causing your reaction. Then, you can avoid the irritant.

Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease

This highly contagious virus is common in kids, but adults can also contract it. It causes red spots on your hands and feet that blister and then burst. A fever and sore throat often accompany the blisters.

This condition usually goes away without treatment within a week or two.

Causes Of Eczema

As mentioned above, some scientists believe there's a genetic component to eczema. However, that's not the only potential cause. Here are a few other factors that could lead to eczema on your feet:

  • Dry air
  • Allergens in the environment
  • Exposure to irritants like detergents and solvents
  • Stress
  • Skin infections
  • Food allergies
  • Contact with certain fabrics
  • Hormonal changes

How To Treat Eczema On Your Feet

While you may never know what caused your eczema, there are steps you can take to minimize your symptoms. Let’s look at a few ways to find relief.

Apply A Moisturizer

Person holding a tube of Eczema Daily Calming Cream from Bodewell

Dry skin can worsen your eczema flare-ups. Keeping your skin moisturized can help prevent that.

Look for a moisturizer specifically designed for people with eczema, like our Eczema Daily Calming Cream. It uses plant-based ingredients, including a proprietary botanical blend, colloidal oatmeal, and coconut oil, to moisturize to help strengthen your skin barrier.

And since it applies deep hydration without a greasy feeling, you can quickly reapply it no matter where you are. Grab a travel-sized tube of Eczema Daily Calming Cream On-the-Go to treat eczema on your feet anywhere, any time.

Wear Socks To Prevent Scratching

One of the worst things you can do for your skin is to pick or scratch it. Doing so can cause further irritation and create a chronic itch-scratch cycle that's hard to break.

In addition, scratching can open your skin up to infection. This can make your condition more severe and may require antibiotics to clear up.

To keep this from happening, wear socks whenever possible. The material will provide a barrier between your skin and your nails, helping you to resist the urge to scratch.

Avoid Irritants

Some people with eczema are sensitive to certain materials, chemicals, or fragrances. To keep flare-ups at bay, note what irritates your skin and avoid it as much as possible.

You may need to switch to a different sock brand or try a laundry detergent free of fragrances and harsh chemicals.

Unfortunately, figuring out what works best for your skin can take some experimentation. It can help to document what your feet come into contact with and how your skin reacts. That way, if something does trigger your eczema, you’ll have an easier time narrowing down the culprit.

Use A Cold Compress

When your eczema is particularly itchy, a cold compress can help bring relief. The cool temperature helps reduce your nerve's excitability, lessening the itch.

To make a cold compress, wrap an ice pack in a cloth and apply it directly to your skin for 10 minutes at a time. Just be sure not to over-ice, as this can cause further damage to your skin.

Keep Your Feet Clean

Person washing their foot

Your feet come into contact with all sorts of bacteria and germs throughout the day. Taking time to wash your feet daily can help keep your skin clean.

To prevent further damage, here are some cleansing guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Stick to lukewarm showers or baths
  • Use a gentle cleanser
  • Don't scrub your feet; rub them gently
  • Rinse the cleanser off thoroughly
  • Apply moisturizer to your feet while they're still slightly damp
  • Put on a pair of socks to preserve the moisturize and keep you from slipping

Try A Wet Wrap

Wet wrapping can be especially helpful for severe eczema. This treatment utilizes a wet layer and a dry layer. The National Eczema Association recommends using a pair of cotton socks for the wet layer and food-grade plastic wrap for the dry one.

You'll want to moisten the socks until they are damp but not soaking wet. Then, carefully put the socks on. Next, wrap the sock with plastic wrap, covering your entire foot to help hold the wet sock in place and keep the water from getting all over your bedding.

Finally, sleep in the wet wrap and peel off the layers in the morning. Though it might initially feel weird, wet wrap therapy can help relieve your itch and hydrate your skin.

Reduce Your Stress

Stress can be a major trigger for eczema flare-ups. Find ways to manage your life's stressors to keep your skin from worsening.

That could include activities like:

  • Journaling
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Spending time with friends
  • Taking a break from technology
  • Doing things you enjoy

If you're struggling to manage your stress, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Talking to a therapist can be immensely helpful.

Talk To A Doctor

Sometimes, eczema doesn't improve with over-the-counter treatments and lifestyle changes. If you're still having trouble managing your flare-ups, talking to a doctor is a good idea.

They can give you an official diagnosis to ensure you really do have eczema. They can also develop a personalized treatment plan to help your feet start feeling better.

You may need topical, oral, or injectable medication, light therapy, a special diet, or another treatment, depending on the severity of your condition.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Feet that don’t have eczema

Eczema on feet can cause itchiness, irritation, and redness. But you aren't destined to feel miserable forever. With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, you can get your skin back to normal and keep it healthy.

Try Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream to soothe your feet, and don't forget to talk to a dermatologist if things don’t improve. With the proper care, you can finally eliminate those annoying eczema flare-ups.


National Eczema Association
National Health Service (NHS)
National Library of Medicine
Vascular Health Clinics: Foot & Ankle Institute

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