How to Treat Eczema on the Soles of Feet (and Get Relief from Pain)
Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions. According to the National Eczema Association, over 31 million people in the United States are currently affected. There are different types of eczema to consider, including eczema that affects the hands and feet. This is called Dyshidrotic eczema. You can treat this type of eczema and manage the painful symptoms, but it can’t be cured.
Eczema can be unsightly and irritating no matter where it occurs. When it’s on the bottom of the feet, it can create significant problems. If it isn’t handled correctly, you may find that it’s difficult to walk because of the pain.
While Dyshidrotic eczema is more common among children than adults, almost anyone can be affected. Some people may be at a higher risk than others. Doctors believe that people who have allergies might have a better chance of developing the condition than others.
This form of eczema shows up as blisters on the feet and toes (and hands). The blisters are usually small in size, but they pack a punch. They can be itchy and painful, especially when you don’t know how to treat them.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Is There a Foot Eczema Cure?
- 1.1 What Causes Eczema on the Feet?
- 1.2 What are the Symptoms of Dyshidrotic Eczema?
- 1.3 How Do I Know if I Have Foot Eczema?
- 1.4 Foot Eczema Treatment
- 1.5 Is Dyshidrotic Eczema Preventable?
- 1.6 How Long Does Eczema on the Feet Last?
- 1.7 Will Eczema on the Feet Keep Coming Back?
Is There a Foot Eczema Cure?
As of now, there is no cure for foot eczema. But, the symptoms can be reduced by those who have it. Because it affects millions of people, there are many different forms of treatment. Most of them focus on managing the symptoms of eczema and soothing irritation.
This guide will cover what signs to look for if you think you might have Dyshidrotic eczema. If you do have the condition, we’ll also explore some of the most common symptoms and how you can find relief.
Just because eczema isn’t curable doesn’t mean you have to live with constant pain or embarrassment. Eczema on the soles of your feet can cause problems for some people. But treating it and lowering your risk of flare-ups can make a huge difference.
What Causes Eczema on the Feet?
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Many experts believe that Dyshidrotic eczema is related to allergies. So, people who experience it may only see it seasonally, when specific allergens are at their worst. Though the cause of eczema is unknown, there are a few common triggers that seem to cause flare-ups in most people.
Some of the most common triggers include:
- High-stress levels
- Moist feet (or working in water)
- Exposure to nickel, cobalt, or chromium
There are a few good things to keep in mind about this skin condition. First, foot eczema isn’t contagious. Whatever triggers a flare-up for you will affect you only. You don’t have to worry about hiding yourself away from others when your eczema comes back.
The other good news is that in most mild cases, the blisters of foot eczema only last about three weeks. It’s not something you’ll have to live with forever. Instead, it will come and go throughout your lifetime. During those weeks, managing the symptoms and side effects of the condition can make it feel less overwhelming and painful.
Once you know what triggers your eczema flare-ups, you can take precautions against it. If you have eczema, it’s hard to avoid it all the time. But, you may be able to reduce the intensity of it and how often it shows up on the soles of your feet.
What are the Symptoms of Dyshidrotic Eczema?
The symptoms of foot eczema are relatively consistent. The most noticeable sign is small blisters on the feet (they can also flare-up on the hands, fingers, and toes). Unfortunately, these blisters can be painful. They can cause inflammation and itching. If left untreated, they can begin to ooze pus and crust over.
If the blisters do crust over, they can crack open again. This might cause them to bleed, which puts you at risk for infection.
More warning signs include:
- Cracked skin
Eczema may look different depending on the stage that it has reached. The blisters may appear more fluid-filled and inflamed at the beginning of a flare-up. After a few weeks, they will begin to dry up and crust over. If those sores break open, it could cause an oozing liquid to come out.
At any stage, though, it’s important to know as much as possible about the condition. Eczema needs to be treated in a specific way to manage these symptoms. Making sure you know that you’re dealing with this particular skin condition before you start a treatment solution.
How Do I Know if I Have Foot Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition that has to be diagnosed by a dermatologist. If you have the symptoms listed above, you should get checked out as soon as possible. This is because the symptoms can sometimes look like other skin conditions, and getting the right diagnosis is essential.
If the condition does look like others, your doctor will probably want to run a few tests. This will likely include a biopsy on one of the infected areas. The biopsy will help to make sure you don’t have a different condition, such as a fungal infection. It’s relatively easy to tell the difference between eczema and athlete’s foot.
A critical part of getting the condition officially diagnosed is that it can help you to determine if you’re dealing with allergies. If your doctor believes allergies could be the trigger for your eczema, they can run further testing. Once you know that seasonal allergies can trigger a flare-up, you can take extra steps to prevent it.
Are There Complications?
For the most part, you don’t have to worry about severe complications from Dyshidrotic eczema. If you have it on the soles of your feet, you may also experience it elsewhere. It usually occurs on the fingers, hands, and toes. As far as other problems, though, they are rare.
Serious problems can occur because of the itching eczema causes. The itching can become so severe and even painful that it makes it hard to walk. If you do scratch at your feet and open up the blisters, you could be putting yourself at a higher risk for infection. If a blister gets cut open and starts to bleed, dirt and bacteria can get inside.
If the blisters do become infected, you will need more treatment, such as an antibiotic.
It can be hard to resist the urge to itch your feet if you have an eczema outbreak. But, scratching at the blisters is the biggest issue that can cause more significant problems. Try a treatment option listed below to help reduce the itching sensation.
Foot Eczema Treatment
As stated above, there is no cure for foot eczema. But, some treatments will help to reduce its impact. These treatments are designed to lower its severity and how long it lasts. They will also help to soothe your most painful and irritating symptoms.
Treatments for this type of eczema fall under three categories:
- Home remedies
Let’s take a quick look at all three options. You can determine which solution will work best for you. Some people have severe cases, in which medical treatment is needed. Others can get by with home solutions for eczema.
Medical Treatment Options
Once you’ve been diagnosed with eczema, your doctor will suggest some treatments to manage the condition. Prescription foot eczema cream is the most common solution given by dermatologists. It’s easy to use and can help to ease irritation and burning. The most popular cream is corticosteroid – a topical steroid solution. You can also get corticosteroid in the form of a pill or injection.
Sometimes, your doctor may have to drain blisters that are large and oozing. They can also prescribe anti-itch creams and other ointments to keep the swelling down. In some severe cases, laser therapy treatment can be used to help manage the condition.
For many people, an over-the-counter solution to foot eczema is the best way to go. You can find foot creams that can help to soothe your symptoms almost anywhere. What you should look for, though, are antihistamines. These will help to reduce inflammation and get rid of other symptoms.
Antihistamines like Claritin and Benadryl are some of the most popular on the market. They are often taken by people who have allergies. So, it makes sense that they would be used in dealing with foot eczema since the two are believed to be linked.
At-Home Treatments for Foot Eczema
Since foot eczema can’t be cured, many people turn toward home remedies. The idea is to reduce the severity of symptoms. Once people can find relief with a specific remedy, they know they can stick with it.
There are many different home solutions people with eczema swear by. But, some are more popular than others and have a stronger proven track record of working.
- Foot soak: A foot soak for eczema is a great way to soothe your irritation. You can either use a bowl or an electric foot spa machine (for extra comfort and relaxation after a difficult day). While most foot soaks are usually in warm water, you want to make sure you use cool water when soaking your feet during an eczema outbreak. Soaking them for just a few minutes idea will provide relief. It will also help to dry up the blisters and keep them from oozing. This will allow them to heal faster.
- Cold compress: If you don’t want to do a foot soak each day, you can find relief with a cold compress. Make sure you use a cloth that is saturated in cool water or has been chilled in the refrigerator/freezer for some time. Gently place it over the affected area(s) for a few minutes at a time.
- Use a Moisturizer: Whether you try a foot soak or cold compress, you should always use a moisturizer of some kind when dealing with eczema on your feet. Not only will it provide relief, but it will help to speed up healing. A moisturizing agent will create a barrier that can help with itching. It will also reduce the dryness and flaking. You can use anything from petroleum jelly to rich, heavy moisturizing creams.
- Stay hydrated: Drink as much water as possible. Sometimes, fighting conditions like eczema can start from the inside out. If your skin is hydrated, you can fight back against symptoms like itching, flaking, and peeling. The blisters that form will be less likely to crack open and create bigger issues.
What do all these at-home solutions have in common? They are all designed to strengthen your skin. When your skin is properly moisturized, it’s stronger. Dry skin will crack and peel easily.
When blisters form on it, they will crack, too. That creates more pain for you, and an increased risk of infection. Adding as much healthy moisture to your skin as possible will create a strong barrier. This will make your eczema symptoms feel less severe.
Is Dyshidrotic Eczema Preventable?
Since we don’t know the official cause of this type of eczema, it’s not entirely preventable. There are measures you can take, though, to lower your risk of experiencing an outbreak. If you know you have this condition and it comes back periodically, keep these steps in mind to keep it under control.
- Practice good skin care. Keeping your skin clean, healthy, and hydrated is the right place to start. Moisturizing your skin will help it to stay strong. The stronger your skin, the lighter your symptoms will feel. Once you’ve started a daily skincare routine, be sure to stick with it.
- Change your diet. This type of eczema is often related to allergies. Those allergies could sometimes be connected to the foods you’re eating. If you have to remove foods from your diet to lower your chance of a flare-up, you’ll probably be willing to do it. Learn your triggers, and do what you can to avoid them.
- Take lukewarm showers, and avoid water that is too hot. When bathing, you should only use gentle and mild soaps. Certain chemicals and fragrances may irritate your skin and trigger a flare-up. Also, avoid certain perfumes and deodorants or additions to foot soaks. Things like Epsom salts are safe, but things like bath bombs or other fragrance-filled solutions might irritate your skin.
- If the weather outside is dry and cold, adapt to conditions by keeping a humidifier in your house. This will add moisture to the air and help to strengthen your skin. Keep your skin protected during cold/harsh temperatures, too. The less your skin is exposed to dry air, the better.
- Avoid activities that make your feet sweat too much, or cause a sudden change in temperature.
How Long Does Eczema on the Feet Last?
Eczema may go away on its own if you develop it as a child. If not, the symptoms will come and go. You don’t have to experience it every day. In fact, it’s likely you’ll have more days ‘eczema-free’ than not. But, when you do experience a flare-up, you should know what to expect.
Dyshidrotic eczema pain will usually go away on its own in just a few weeks. If you treat it properly and have a mild case, it may even go away sooner. The more you know your triggers and take preventative steps, the less often you may have to deal with it.
As long as you don’t scratch at the blisters, eczema should fade away with no lasting complications. It shouldn’t cause scarring or permanent damage to the soles of your feet.
Don’t think that just because your eczema fades away that it won’t recur. It can come back at any time. While it’s often associated with triggers, it can still come back. Because doctors aren’t sure of the official cause and don’t have a cure, it’s something many people have to deal with for years.
Will Eczema on the Feet Keep Coming Back?
If you’ve been diagnosed with eczema on the soles of your feet, you’ll have to deal with it until a cure is found. Currently, there is no cure for getting rid of this skin condition completely. The frustrating part is that some people experience more frequent outbreaks than others. You may have to deal with symptoms once a year, or every few weeks.
The best thing you can do to avoid frustration from eczema is to follow the above advice. There are many different ways to treat this condition. Whether you have to get a prescription from your doctor or use a home solution, you can find relief quickly. Being able to manage your symptoms and get rid of irritation will make the condition less overwhelming.
You can also keep the preventative measures in mind. Eczema isn’t 100% avoidable. But, there are things you can do to lower your risk of an outbreak. If you’re prone to getting eczema on your feet, using as many of these precautionary tips as possible can help.
If you suffer from eczema on the soles of your feet, you’re not alone. Take control of your symptoms, do what you can to reduce itching and irritation, and you can live a completely healthy life with this skin condition.