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Itchy Ankles Explained

Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently pursuing lab sciences. She loves researching and sharing information on various health topics.

What Is Itching, Anyway?

Itching is one of the most common forms of discomfort out there. It can happen at just about every part of your body, and its severity can range from being a transient distraction to a total nuisance. There are many reasons that you may experience itching, and dealing with the cause almost always provides relief for the itching.

One of the most common areas in the body that itches is the ankle. Your feet can itch for all kinds of reasons, ranging from skin irritations to systemic health issues. This article will explain everything you need to know about itchy ankles. After reading all this, you’ll never look at a foot itch the same way again.

The Technical Term Is Pruritus

An itch, also known as pruritus, is a tingling or irritating sensation at any part of your skin. The most common way to relieve this sensation is to scratch it, but there are other techniques used by people to relieve them, depending on the cause. Some itches are self-limiting, meaning they disappear on their own after a while. However, some itches are persistent, becoming a chronic presence that’s very difficult to deal with.

As mentioned earlier, itching is a generalized symptom linked to all kinds of conditions. An itch may be confined to a specific body position, or it can be found at different parts of the body. There are even cases where the entire body of the person is itching.

The location of the itch will help you define the causative factor behind your itching. For instance, an itch that’s only localized on the ankles may be a sign of an infection or an irritation. However, an itch that involves most of your body may indicate an allergy or a systemic reaction to a foreign body.

Causes of Itchy Ankles - When is an itch not just an itch?

Causes of Itchy Ankles - When is an itch not just an itch?

Causes of Itchy Ankles

Dealing with itching on your ankle can be very annoying. However, it can be disruptive enough that it already affects your quality of life. When itching is limited on your foot, it can mean either that you might have some form of a skin injury or something is irritating your feet. Here are some of the most common causes of itching that may be limited to one or both ankles. Some of these cases may cause localized itching, but it can also extend out to other parts of your body. It may even be possible that your ankle itch originated from a different body part.

1. Contact dermatitis - This condition is a skin irritation caused by exposure to a foreign substance. Different substances can cause this condition, like skin products, chemicals, clothing, plants and animals, water exposure, environmental allergens, jewelry, and even sunlight. The itching is due to an adverse reaction by your body towards the foreign agent. The itching may also come with redness, inflammation, and the development of skin lesions. While scratching provides some relief, it can possibly worsen the itching in the long run due to worsened skin irritation.

2. Parasitic infections - Parasitic infections can cause itching in different parts of your body. Some parasites make your skin their home, and their presence can cause inflammation and subsequent itching. Lice, bedbugs, and fleas are just some examples of parasites that may grow on your ankles, as well as other parts of your body. These parasites or their secretions cause allergic reactions, local irritation, and tissue damage, which leads to itching. In many ways, your feet can present the ideal environment for these parasites to thrive. Aside from itching, your feet may also present with rashes, papules, blisters, or scales.

3. Fungal infections - Fungal infections are a relatively common cause of itchy ankles. Examples of these infections include ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch, and yeast infections. Fungi tend to favor warm and moist areas, conditions that are present on the feet, especially if you usually wear closed footwear for long periods. These infections can affect any part of your foot, but they most favor the gaps between your toes. Aside from itching, a fungal infection may present with rashes, flaking of skin, and redness. It is important that fungal infections of the feet are managed properly, as its persistence can lead to more serious infections.

4. Bacterial infections - Bacterial growth on your feet can also cause itching. Bacteria can cause cellulitis, a skin infection that can quickly spread if it is not treated properly. Any part of your skin can harbor these infections, but some tend to favor growth between the toes or surrounding the toenails. Different types of bacteria can cause these infections, but they are most commonly caused by Staph and Strep. Proper hygiene and management are necessary, as bacterial infections on the ankles can lead to dangerous complications such as severe abscesses, osteomyelitis (bone infection), and gangrene.

5. Footwear related issues - Your footwear can predispose you to developing an ankle itch in different ways. For example, the materials in your shoes or socks can cause skin irritation, especially if you are allergic to them. Aside from adverse reactions, ill-fitting footwear and socks can also cause irritation and itching. Prolonged exposure to sweat or moisture may facilitate the development of rashes, especially at warm weather conditions. Wearing your shoes for long periods can present a favorable environment for the development of skin infections. In fact, your shoes and socks can also harbor both bacteria and fungi, which can cause and prolong foot infections and ankle itching.

6. Dry skin- Skin dryness can also cause itching on your feet. There are different possible causes of dry skin: skin products, dry weather, temperature extremes, and household chemicals are just some examples. Additives and impurities in the water you use for bathing can also cause it. Other signs and symptoms of dry skin include scaling, cracks, and discoloration. Dry skin can also make you more prone to wounds and infections, which can further worsen itching episodes. It can also be a warning sign of underlying skin pathology such as dermatitis.

7. Foot injuries- Itching can also be a side effect of a healing ankle injury such as a wound or a sprain. During a foot injury where swelling is prominent, your skin stretches. This stretching can cause an itchy sensation. The medications you use for cleaning or pain relief can also irritate the skin, which may prove to be the root reason for the itch. Wearing bandages, compression tapes, or other dressings may also cause contact dermatitis on your ankles. In most cases, ankle itch secondary to an injury goes away after complete healing or the discontinuing of use of the irritating agent.

8. Heat rash- While heat rashes can occur in just about every part of the body, this skin condition is more prevalent in the feet. During hot weather or intense physical activity, you will be sweating more than usual. Sweat may accumulate in your feet while wearing shoes that don’t have enough ventilation or socks that are too tight. Your sweat glands become clogged with the sweat it produces, which would then cause irritation of both skin and blood vessels, leading to the development of rashes. It can be further worsened by infection of broken skin, made even more ideal by the hot and moist conditions your feet are exposed to.

9. Allergies - An allergy is one of the most common causes of itching. Its severity is generally dependent on the presence of an allergen, which can be virtually any kind of foreign substance. Allergic reactions can be localized (ex.: on the ankles) if the exposure is limited on that area. For example, your feet may have an allergic reaction to the wool found in your socks. However, some allergies may cause a systematic reaction that causes itching and other symptoms in your entire body. If you have an allergy on food or oral medications, you can have a systemic allergic reaction.

10. Hives - Hives, also known as urticarial, is described as the sudden appearance of skin lesions such as bumps or plaques due to exposure to certain elements. Accompanying these skin lesions are redness, swelling, and itchiness. It may appear in virtually every part of your body, including your feet. Hives are usually triggered by histamine, a substance released during exposure to irritating or infectious agents. Agents that may cause hives are numerous, ranging from chemical agents to insect stings. Most cases of hives are self-limiting, and are usually resolved by the removal of the offending agent. A related condition is angioedema. In these cases, the swelling is mainly found underneath the skin.

11. Psoriasis - Psoriasis is one of the most common, most irritating, and most misunderstood skin diseases. This condition is the abnormally fast replication of skin cells at a particular body region. The most common manifestation of this skin problem is the formation of raised plaques with scales. Some forms of psoriasis may be associated with other health conditions such as bacterial infections and arthritis. One of the most common sites affected by psoriasis is the feet, so you must consider it as a potential cause of your ankle itch if you’re presenting with these symptoms.

12. Use of skin products - The use of skin products is one of the most common causes of itchy ankles. Depending on the inciting agent, there are many ways that these products can cause itching in your feet and other parts of your body. Harsh soaps and bathing products can take away excessive moisture from your skin, causing itching secondary to dryness. Your skin can also be allergic to specific ingredients found in lotions and topical medications. Other ingredients such as sulfates can also cause adverse reactions to the skin, especially if there are wounds and other lesions previously present.

13. Sunburns - Sunburns can cause major itching on your skin, especially once your skin starts to peel as part of the healing process. While this more commonly happens in the back or chest, sunburn can develop at any part of your body. Itching due to superficial sunburns tend to resolve without treatment once your skin has fully healed. However, you should watch out for advanced skin injuries such as blisters, as they can be infected and cause more injuries that worsen itching and other symptoms. Administer appropriate treatment to blisters and avoid exposure to sunlight to prevent further damage.

14. Eczema - Eczema is a group of diseases that causes skin inflammation, characterized by itching, redness, and formation of rashes. While the exact cause of this skin condition is still under debate, it is agreed upon that it’s caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some forms of eczema are commonly encountered in the lower extremities. Xerotic eczema is caused by abnormal drying of skin, which causes the skin to crack and itch. Asteatotic eczema is caused by excessive water loss on the epidermis, causing the development of skin fissures and itching.

15. Untreated/mistreated skin - Non-treatment or mistreatment of skin problems can lead to more itching and pain. A pre-existing skin problem, when left untreated, can spread to other parts of your feet, which causes more itching. Scratching, while it provides temporary relief from itching, can actually trigger the worsening of symptoms by damaging your skin. Exposed skin lesions can then be infected by bacteria and fungi, which would then worsen skin damage and make itching and other symptoms more severe. This is why it is advised that any cause of itching should be properly addressed to avoid further complications.

When Is an Itch Not Just an Itch?

Most itchy ankles are benign in nature. A lot of these cases resolve on their own without the use of medications or management methods. Other cases usually resolve upon identification and treatment of the underlying cause. However, there are some examples of itching that may actually be a sign of something very serious. Here are some of the possible chronic and possibly life-threatening ailments that may manifest as itching on the ankles and/or other parts of the body.

1. Liver and biliary tree problems - Problems involving the liver and the biliary tree (gall bladder, bile ducts) can cause systemic health problems. Conditions such as liver failure, gallstones, bile obstruction, or malignancy may cause increased levels of bile in the bloodstream, though the mechanism for the itch is still under investigation. One of the most common sites of this itch is at the palms and soles of the feet. Associated symptoms that may increase the suspicion for liver and biliary tree problems include jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and other parts of the body) and an itch that worsens at night. Diagnosis can be done clinically or with the help of blood testing and imaging techniques.

2. Diabetes mellitus - Diabetes is one of the most dreaded diseases out there. The foot is one of the most common parts of the body affected by this disease. In fact, diabetes is the most common preventable cause of foot amputation worldwide. While most people know how diabetes worsens wounds in the foot, not many people know that diabetes can cause itching at the feet. Itching in the ankles caused by diabetes include massive bacterial infections (especially in damaged skin) and fungal infections. It may also be secondary to compromised blood circulation at the feet. If you have diabetes and your feet are itching too badly or too long, you must consult your physician to know the underlying cause.

3. Circulation problems - Itching may be caused by poor circulation at specific body parts. The feet are most prone to poor blood circulation. Your feet may not receive enough blood due to poor arterial blood flow. Also, your blood may pool into your feet and lower legs due to poor venous drainage, which can lead to capillary damage. As your skin swells and blood continues to effuse into the skin, it becomes itchy and more prone to developing sores, a condition known as stasis dermatitis. These sores can get infected, which can further worsen itching. In advanced cases, skin tissue may die due to stasis dermatitis, leading to the development of potentially life-threatening conditions such as gangrene and necrotizing fasciitis.

4. Autoimmune problems - An autoimmune disorder is defined as a condition wherein your own immune system attacks your body tissues. Specific autoimmune problems attack the cells of your skin, which can cause generalized itching. Autoimmune conditions linked to development of generalized itching include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgen syndrome, and systemic lupus erythromatosus (SLE). If you have a family history of autoimmune disorders, and your body itching is mostly generalized, it is important that you consider these conditions as a possible culprit.

5. Malignancies - There are some rare cases when itching can be a sign of cancer. For example, some cancers can cause a blood disorder called polycythemia vera, which can cause itching in different parts of the body. Cancers of the blood and lymphatic system are also known to cause itching. Malignancies of organs such as the liver and kidney may also cause the increase of toxin levels in the blood, which can lead to the development of skin irritations. Last but not least, treatments used for cancer such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy may cause itching and rashes. It can either be a side effect of the therapy or you’re having an adverse reaction to the treatment.

6. Neurologic problems - This is one of the most overlooked causes of itching. A neurologic condition may prove to be the cause of your itchy ankles. Itching may be secondary to damage on the nerves of your feet include peripheral neuropathy, a pinched nerve, multiple sclerosis, or an advanced inflammatory condition. Infections such as shingles can also cause damage to nerves, which can manifest as itching. It is also possible for you to feel other neurologic symptoms such as excessive pain, numbness, and tingling sensations together with the itch. In rare cases, strokes and brain tumors that affect the function of the legs may trigger chronic itching.

How to identify cause of itching - Common home remedies for itchy ankles

How to identify cause of itching - Common home remedies for itchy ankles

How to Identify Cause of Itching

As you saw earlier, itchy ankles can be traced to all kinds of health conditions and ailments. While most of the causes are benign and nature and typically resolve with little or no treatment, there are other causes that may be linked to something more serious. To address the itching problem, it is necessary that you find out first what’s causing it. As there’s a broad spectrum of potential causes, it takes a keen eye to distinguish one causative agent from another. Here is how you can pinpoint the culprit behind your ankle itch so you can start appropriate management.

  1. Know your history of itching - Knowing more about the history of your foot itch, even the most recent, can help you come up with the possible cause of your ankle itch. Did this itch happen for the first time, or has this been occurring for a while? Is the itch confined to your ankles or does it spread to other parts of your body? What are the factors that trigger your itching episodes? How long have you been dealing with the itch? Do you have a family history of itching or allergies? Are there any elements in your lifestyle that predisposes you to developing itches? The answers to these questions can give you a hint on what causes your ankle itch, and give you an idea how you can possibly deal with it.
  2. Characterize the itchy area - Inspecting the itchy part of your foot can give a strong hint on what causes the itch. Is there any present lesion on the skin? Is the lesion characteristic of a particular infection, disease, or systemic reaction? Are there signs of scaling or excessive drying in the injured area? Are there signs of broken skin or a possible infection? How extensive is the redness, if it is present? Is the itching persistent, or does it intensify at specific parts of the day? What is the intensity of the itch? Are there any associated skin features or sensations on the affected area? Characterizing the itchy area of your skin can provide multiple hints on what causes the itching on your foot.
  3. Perform tests - More times than not, the patient’s history and physical examination is enough to identify the agent that causes the itching. However, there are some situations when the cause cannot be definitively identified. In these situations, your physician can run a battery of tests to confirm the diagnosis. There are specific tests done to identify common causes of itching such as infections and allergies. However, if there is suspicion that a systemic disease may be causing the itch further investigation may be done. Diagnostic modalities such as imaging and laboratory tests can identify systemic problems such as abnormal autoimmune reactions, increased blood toxins, systemic infections, and compromised blood flow.

Your doctor can help in identifying what causes your itchy ankles. A dermatologist is specially trained to handle cases such as this. Most of the time, the cause of your itch does not pose a threat to your long-term health. However, in the rare case that the itching is not explained by a simple skin ailment, you can be referred to a different physician that specializes on what possibly causes your itch. Once a definite cause has been identified, a proper management plan can be formulated to manage your case.

Common Home Remedies for Itchy Ankles

1. Use cold compress - If you are looking for a quick relief from any type of itch, then cold compress is a remedy made exactly for you. Keeping your skin cool provides a soothing effect. It also helps in temporarily deadening the nerves, which is crucial for reducing the sensory trigger for itching. You can either use a towel soaked in ice water or you can place a cold pack in the affected area for 10-20 minutes or until itching gets relieved. However, it must be noted that doing this technique repeatedly will dry your skin, which can worsen your itching episodes in the long run.

2. Use aloe vera - Aloe vera is one of the most effective natural products for just about any type of skin irritation. It has a soothing effect, an effective treatment against irritation, swelling, and inflammation. It is an effective natural moisturizer, and is also used for treating skin problems such as sunburns and rashes. To use this, pick a fresh aloe vera leaf and cut it lengthwise. It will start oozing with gel. Gather this gel and rub it in affected areas of your skin. You can store the excess gel in a container and refrigerate it for future use. Stored aloe vera should be good to use for up to a week.

3. Apply mint - Mint and its other relatives like peppermint are great for treating skin itch. These plants are very popular for their cooling effect, which is used for both food and medicine. The cooling sensation of mint is great for providing relief from itching caused by bug bites. Using mint for itch relief is easy: just crush the leaves and apply it on affected areas of your skin. To further enhance the cooling effect, you can place the leaves in the freezer and apply the frozen leaves to your skin with ice. The mint-ice combination is great for both pain relief and reduction of inflammation.

4. Use oats - Oats is one of the most popular natural skin treatments out there. You can use it on its own or you can combine it with other ingredients to further improve its benefits. The secret to the effectiveness of oatmeal as an anti-itch product is it contains compounds that help in controlling inflammation. Oatmeal has been used for different kinds of skin ailments, ranging from eczema to chicken pox. Add a bit of water to a cup of uncooked oatmeal (much better if you can find an organic variant) to create a paste. Apply this mixture to your feet and let it sit there for a few minutes. .

5. Use clay - Clay has been used for centuries for treating a wide range of skin problems. Aside from being used to relieve itching, it is also being used to treat a wide range of skin problems from acne to venomous stings. While different types of clay can be used for skin treatment purposes, one of the most popular is bentonite, also known as “green clay”. To use this product, mix the clay with clean filtered water until the mixture gains a creamy consistency. Place the clay mixture into affected areas of your skin, and let it sit there until it dries up. You can also create a clay pack (you can place this pack in your skin for up to 4 hours) by spreading the mixture into a porous fabric or gauze.

6. Use baking soda - Baking soda is another remedy that can provide relief from itchy ankles. Aside from relieving your ankle itch, it is also a great way to get read of bad foot odor. You can apply the powder to your feet for immediate relief, or you can create an anti-itch paste out of it. To make the paste, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of baking powder, stirring until a paste gets formed. Spread this paste on your feet and let it dry for 5 to 10 minutes. After that, rinse your feet with cool water and dry it up. Baking soda is great for relieving itches caused by minor skin problems.

7. Use saltwater - Saltwater has been used for centuries as a form of skin treatment. It is also a great way to get rid of foot itch as it helps in soothing skin irritation. While the best form of this therapy is actually taking a dip in saltwater (as long as the waters are clean of course), you can create your own saltwater soak by mixing 2 teaspoons of salt in 1 pint of water. Pour this mixture into a pan and let your feet sit there for at least 5 to 10 minutes. For maximum relief, it is recommended that you soak your feet in saltwater hourly until the itchy feeling subsides.

8. Prepare a moisturizer out of walnut hulls - Skin dryness is one of the biggest triggers of skin itching. So it would make complete sense if one of your relieving products would be something that will help moisturize your skin, right? This natural moisturizer made from walnut hulls is one such effective example. Mix 1 teaspoon of ground walnut hulls with 1 cup of water. Let the mixture simmer in medium heat for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture once you’re done. Pour the still-warm liquid into your feet. You can also immerse them into the mixture if you have the time. Dry your feet afterwards. For best results, you can rub your feet with natural oils such as tea tree oil and eucalyptus.

Common Products for Treating Itches

1. Antihistamines - These drugs are specifically made for dealing with allergic reactions and the inflammatory reactions that come with it. During an allergic attack, histamine is released by cells in our immune system, causing symptoms such as itching. Using antihistamines block histamine receptors in your body, virtually nullifying its adverse effects. For massive allergies, oral antihistamines may be prescribed, but it can cause side effects such as sedation. For itchy ankles caused by allergy, topical histamines often do the trick without the expected side effects from this group of drugs.

  • Possible side effects on usage of these anti histamines are drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, restlessness, blurred vision. If you are pregnant or lactating women consult your physician before using them. Patients with high blood pressure, thyroid problems, liver and kidney complications should consult your doctor before using them.

2. Anti-fungal Creams - Itchy skin can be caused by fungal infections. This is especially common in the feet. The best way to get relief from the itching and reduce the chances of the infection of getting worse is to treat it with the help of antifungal creams. These products are designed to treat most fungal skin infections such as ringworm and tinea pedis. Antifungal creams, combined with improved foot hygiene, are effective in treating fungal infections in your ankles. If the infection proves to be massive, oral antifungals may be prescribed by your doctor.

  • When applied topically on sensitive skin can cause severe rash, severe small blisters and skin irritation. So consult your physician before applying it on skin

3. Anti-microbial Solutions - Bacterial infections are also a common cause of itching in the general population. Bacteria harboring in your skin, especially in wounds and other sites of damage, can cause irritation and a persistent itching sensation. They can also worsen a pre-existing skin problem and even lead to some potentially destructive sequelae if not treated properly. In most cases, treatment with anti-microbial solutions, especially if you have wounds on your feet, will help in bringing much-needed relief and protection. In large bacterial infections, oral medications may be indicated, and other procedures such as abscess drainage may be recommended.

  • Consult your physician if you have any skin reactions after applying it.

4. Corticosteroids - The power of corticosteroids lies in its ability to control the inflammation process. If you control inflammation, you control the itching and other effects that come with it. Just like in other drugs, it makes good sense to go for topical products first as they are usually sufficient for controlling itches while keeping side effects to a minimum. Most topical corticosteroids are available over the counter and can help resolve most skin inflammations in no time. Make sure to consult your physician first to see if it’s safe for you to use corticosteroids as part of your anti-itch regimen.

5. Anti-itch Creams - These products are special formulations designed to cure most types of itching. Depending on how these creams are created, they can provide relief in different ways. Some contain ingredients that provide a soothing effect on a skin, while others contain ingredients that actively attack some of the most common underlying causes of itching. Anti-itch creams have existed on the market for the longest time, and have always been among the mainstay treatments for most cases of ankle itch.

  • It must be noted, though, that you must check the ingredients beforehand and consult your doctor, as using the wrong cream can make your itching worse.

6. Systemic Treatments - These treatments are rarely taken for most ankle itches, and are only reserved for itching that have a serious underlying cause. They are usually recommended when either conservative treatment has not proven to be effective or a severe condition is detected. These treatments are usually only given with a prescription as they carry more side effects. The regimen of taking them is also more rigid to ensure maximum effectiveness. However, for advanced cases, these treatments are basically the only way to go.

How to Prevent Itches

1. Resist the urge to scratch - Scratching is the most natural response to any type of itchy sensation. Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, one of the best ways to prevent your itching from worsening is to simply resist the urge to scratch. Scratching can only make your skin condition worse, as it can cause tears in your skin. Not only does it aggravate a pre-existing skin lesion, but it also opens up to infection, which can make infections much worse. It takes both discipline and patience to avoid scratching. If it proves unbearable, use some of the itch relief tips mentioned here.

2. Use insect repellants - One of the most common causes of itchy ankles is being bitten by insects and parasites. Given this, one of the best ways to dodge the itch is to use insect repellants. This technique is especially effective if you live in an area where insects are prevalent. It is also highly recommended to use these repellants if you’ll be doing outdoor activities such as hiking. Aside from helping you dodge ankle itch, it will help you avoid any potential sickness you can get from being bit by these critters, which can range from painful to life threatening.

3. Moisturize your skin - Maintaining your skin’s natural moisture is one of the easiest ways you can avoid the itch. There are specific weather conditions where people are more prone to have dry skin. At the same time, there are also people who have dryer skin than others. One of the simplest ways to keep your skin moisturized is to use skin products such as lotions. They contain ingredients that help the skin maintain its moisture, keeping it supple and itch-free. Make sure to check if your choice of moisturizing product does not contain ingredients that are either too harsh or you have an allergy with.

4. Avoid objects you have allergies with - One of the simplest ways to avoid allergies is avoidance. If you have an allergy, you cannot do much anything about it. The best thing that you can do about it is to minimize your exposure to that allergen. You can refrain from using products that contain that allergic agent. You can use extra protection such as socks and shoes to prevent exposure from allergens. You can identify your skin allergies and make the effort to avoid making contact with them. Avoidance is your best preventive measure against allergy-triggered itching.

5. Treat skin lesions - Your feet is especially prone to developing skin lesions. If you have one, it is important that you treat them immediately. Not doing so will make your itch persist indefinitely. At the same time, it also opens you up to bigger problems such as secondary infections. If you identify that something is wrong with your ankles, take action immediately. You cannot afford to wait for it to worsen before you take action. Seek medical help, identify what’s wrong with your feet, and take care of those lesions right away.

6. Take care of those corners - The corners of your feet are especially prone to itching. Not only are these areas commonly not given enough attention, but most infectious agents also love breeding there. Areas such as the spaces between your toes and your nail beds are favorite breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi, which can cause foot itch and foul odor, just to name 2 complications. Make the effort to keep the gaps between your toes clean and dry. Get your nails done every now and then for hygienic purposes. Take care of those corners and your feet won’t develop problems.

7. Use gentle skin products - It is possible that the products you use in your skin are the ones that make you itch. Some of the chemical ingredients in your favorite soap can damage the skin, dry it up, or trigger unexpected allergic reactions. If you have sensitive skin, it is highly advised that you go for gentler skin products. Going for hypoallergenic skin products can significantly reduce your itching episodes. Even those with non-sensitive skin can benefit from these products. After all, who wants to have their skin damaged by products that may be too harsh for human use?

8. Wear appropriate footwear - The type of footwear you wear has a big impact on your foot’s health. In fact, wearing the wrong pair of shoes can cause itchy ankles! Wearing footwear that doesn’t have enough ventilation may present the right condition for the growth of bacteria and fungi in your feet. At the same time, these microbes can also grow into your footwear, which can cause you to have recurrent foot infections, not to mention generate a bad smell. Also, wearing ill-fitting footwear can cause skin lesions, which can harbor infectious agents that cause itching. Related to this, you should also wear appropriate socks. Get a pair that fits you right, wear them properly, and never reuse them!

9. Practice good hygiene - Foot hygiene goes a long way in preventing ankle itch and other foot problems, especially if you are dealing with other ailments such as diabetes. When taking a bath, it is important that you wash your feet properly. Clean your feet with soap and water, and never forget the corners. Keep your nails properly trimmed. Always wear clean socks and shoes. Disinfect your footwear every now and then. When you practice good foot hygiene, you significantly improve your odds of avoiding any kind of foot problem.

10. Keep your feet clean and dry - One essential preventive measure to keep your feet itch-free is to keep your feet clean and dry. Regular and proper washing of your feet is one step to prevent itching from happening. Overexposure to water will sap your skin dry, which can cause itching. Also, a moist environment can make your feet an inviting place for microbes to grow. Keeping your feet clean and dry will ensure that you don’t present an ideal environment for itching to develop. Dry all corners of your feet by pat-drying it with a clean towel, going through all gaps to ensure adequate drying.

Summary of Causes of Itchy Ankles

CauseBasic InformationTreatmentPrevention

Skin Irritation

Your skin can get irritated with chemicals from skin products and perfume

Discontinue use of product that caused irritation, treat with anti-allergy products if necessary.

Use hypo-allergenic skin products.

Fungal Infection

Fungi can grow on warm, moist places. Your feet, especially when wearing footwear, can present such an ideal environment for fungal growth.

Anti-fungal treatments (creams and oral medications), alternative anti-fungal treatments

Practice proper foot hygiene

Bacterial Infection

Wounds and skin lesions can serve as places where bacteria can grow. Unclean feet can also harbor bacteria.

Topical anti-bacterial treatments, properly care for wounds and other skin lesions

Practice proper foot hygiene


People can have allergies to different foreign substances, triggering a localized or systemic reaction

Drugs such as antihistamines and corticosteroids can help the allergic reaction subside, providing itch relief

Avoidance of allergens is the best preventive measure


Insect bites can cause skin lesions, while toxins coming from these bites can cause allergic and autoimmune reactions.

Avoid scratching skin lesions caused by bites, take appropriate medications to get rid of toxins

Use insect repellants when going outdoors, clean your house to prevent growth of bedbugs, lice, and ticks


Healing from injuries can cause itching, especially as your skin stretches and regenerate itself.

Itch relief techniques, anti-itch medications, avoid irritants

Not applicable. Just let your feet heal and avoid injuries as much as possible

Systemic Problems

Diabetes, liver and kidney failure, and cardiovascular problems can manifest as foot itching.

Identify and treat underlying cause

Proper health practices is your best prevention against systemic health problems

Final Words

Everyone experiences itchy ankles every now and then. Knowing how to deal with it will help you get by without any problems. A combination of treatment and preventive measures can go a long way to help you get by. Know what’s causing it and take the necessary steps to treat it.


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.