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Foot Allergies: Reacting to Your Environment

When people think of allergies, they often think of sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. It’s fairly common for people to be allergic to animals like cats or weeds like goldenrod. It’s also normal for them to have these reactions when they are around the thing that bothers them. What you may not realize is that your feet can suffer from allergies, too.

Red and Itchy Breakouts

Allergies affecting your feet cause dermatitis, or a rash that appears when you touch something your skin is sensitive to. You could be allergic to a variety of things, including colored dyes, latex, soap, laundry detergent, adhesives, topical medications, soap scents, nail polish, poison ivy, chemicals in pesticides, and the materials used to make your shoes.

When your foot touches whichever irritant it’s allergic to, your skin reacts, usually within a day of exposure. The affected area turns red, feels itchy, and may be warm to the touch. You may develop blisters or other small, raised bumps as well. Typically, the irritated patch becomes dry and rough. The skin tends to remain itchy and aggravated until the substances bothering you are completely removed from your feet and the lesion is treated.

Identifying and Understanding Your Allergy

A specialist like Dr. Paul C. LaFata can help identify the specific allergens that caused the reaction, so you can avoid the issue in the future. A variety of tests can be used to determine what irritates the surface of the feet, while sometimes trial and error helps identify soaps or household products that bother you. Sometimes, the substance that causes the problem is easy to avoid, like poison ivy. Other things may be harder to identify and manage, such as a shoe allergy.

Although shoe allergies are relatively rare, some people are very bothered by the chemicals or glues used to treat and work with the materials in your footwear. Occasionally, tests are able to identify the specific chemical that aggravates your skin, which allows you to look for shoes manufactured without it. More often than not, however, finding footwear that doesn’t cause a reaction is trial and error. Typically, you have to wear new pairs of shoes for several hours around your home to see how your feet react before deciding if a new pair is safe to use.

Alleviating the Itch

Fortunately, when your feet are suffering from allergies, there are steps you can take to relieve the discomfort. You’ll need to wash your feet promptly and thoroughly to help remove even the residue of everything that is bothering your lower limbs. Then, treat the rash carefully. Apply cool compresses or mild ointments, like calamine lotion, to relieve the itching. If your allergic reaction is strong, you may need prescription strength lotions or an oral anti histamine to help the skin heal. If you develop open blisters in the sore area, our staff at West Lawn Podiatry Associates may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent an infection, too.

Foot allergies are not the most common skin problems that can affect your feet, but they are uncomfortable and can make wearing many shoes difficult or unpleasant. You don’t have to walk around on irritated feet, however. You can take steps to relieve the issue and protect yourself from future breakouts. Let Dr. Paul C. LaFata and our experienced staff at West Lawn Podiatry Associates help you. Call (610) 678-4581 or send us a request through our website to make an appointment.


 

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West Lawn Podiatry
Center for Foot & Ankle Care

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West Lawn, PA 19609

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