Is your ankle itching? Do you experience itchy ankles with or without a rash? What are the causes and symptoms you should expect?
If you do not know why your ankles are itchy, don’t you panic, this work is going to provide insightful information on the causes, symptoms, with or without a rash as well as itchy ankle during night and remedies to get rid this problem faster and effectively.
What causes them
Itchy ankle can be considered as feeling that triggers the urge to scratch the skin of the ankle. This condition is common, it has several causes, and it can occur without or without a rash.
Causes mostly depend on the region where you live and other factors that come with where you live. Factors such as weather, diseases, skin disorders as well as medications are known to cause this problem.
This condition may seem not serious but if left untreated, their skin will be susceptible to damage from scratching that can lead to severe infections.
In this section, we are going to explore causes for those with a rash as well as causes without a rash.
Causes with a rash?
Itchy ankles with bumps or rash is a common condition among many people. They can really be worse when they get infected. Here are these causes:
Eczema is the most common type of dermatitis results in of red and dry itchy bumps on legs. Chronic eczemas normally leads to scaling, itchy burning skin, skin thickening, and flaking, dryness and skin discoloration.
We also want to put across that, there are several types of eczema depending on the causes, location and the shape of the rash. Some of these eczemas are usually have their triggers linked to irritant substances, allergies as well as fluid retention in your legs. Below are examples of irritants and allergens that leads to contact dermatitis (a type of eczema):
Irritants: Detergents, bubble bath, harsh soaps, sweat, saliva and urine
Allergens: Certain foods, deodorants, cosmetics, cleaning products, certain building materials, nickel earnings. Some chemicals can also forms allergens i.e. those found in shoes, shampoos, clothing, creams and lotions and fragrances
Apart from atopic eczema, another type of eczema that could lead to this problem is Stasis eczema.
2. Athlete`s Foot (Tinea Pedis)
According to Healthtype.com, “Athlete’s foot refers to infection of the foot by different fungi commonly called Tinea pedis” This condition can affect the skin between toes, on soles. The upper part of the foot (including ankle) can also develop red itchy rash, and become sore, damp and may begin to peel.
This diseases can affect any person but is more prevalent among people who constantly have wet feet may be as a result of wearing poorly ventilated footwear, humid environment, walking barefooted in public places e.g. public lavatories, gyms, having sweaty feet or when you share shoes.
In addition, athlete`s foot can spread from to toenails to hands. Healthline.com explains that athlete`s “is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet and can spread to the toenails and sometimes the hands”
Urticaria otherwise known as hives, welts, weals or nettle rash is raised and itchy rash that develop in the skin and can easily spread to other parts. It is caused by high levels of antihistamine as well as other chemicals released on the skin. The condition leads to swelling and itchiness in the affected area i.e. the ankles.
There are many reasons, which may lead to release of antihistamine. Some of them are listed below:
- Exposure to heat or cold
- Certain infections such as cold e.t.c.
- Certain medications such antibiotics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Allergic reactions to some foods, insect bites or stings
Urticaria can be mild, acute or chronic depending on the primary causes. This condition is more prevalent among children and women. “Children are often affected by the condition, as well as women aged 30 to 60, and people with a history of allergies.”[Nhs.uk/conditions].
The linked symptoms of urticaria can be made worse with consumption of alcohol or caffeine, increased temperatures, emotional stress among others.
Make sure you see your doctor when the condition hinders your daily activities and occurs alongside other severe symptoms.
4. Itchy Ankles- Crohn`s Disease
According to Monika Fischer, MD, a gastroenterologist from Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, “Skin disorders are one of the most common complications that people with Crohn’s disease experience” Crohn`s disease is usually characterized by nodules, blister or other complications such as abdominal pain, diarrhea or even reduced appetite.
This condition can cause itchy anywhere in the body, from ankle to back to more parts.
5. Insect Bites
Insect bite on your ankle can be another usual cause for itching in the ankle area if that is where you have been bitten. Whend the itchiness is due to insect bite usually accompany swelling and skin rash on the affected area. Make sure you cover your completely when in bed.
6. Ankle Heat rash (Golfer`s Vasculitis)
This is a skin condition on the ankle that is characterized by red pustules or miniature red bumps or blisters filled with pus. Such blisters are usually very itchy and painful. Sweating after physical exercise or activity is the major reason why this conditions occurs in many people.
This condition is more common in sports persons, school aged children and athletes but it is also dependent on age. It commonly occurs in people aged 50 and above.
With no rash
If you develop this problem without a rash, these may be the possible causes:
1) Dry Itchy skin
Dry itchy skin is a common condition that affect many people. It is commonly experience during adverse climatic conditions i.e. during winter or summer when the temperatures become unbearable.
Bathing can also lead to skin dryness since it washes skin oils. So make sure you always moisturize you skin daily.
2) Thyroid problems
The thyroid is greatly linked to metabolism. “The thyroid gland also helps to maintain blood pressure, regulate tissue growth, and encourage the development of the skeletal, nervous, and reproductive systems.” [34-menopause-symptoms.com]. Therefore, any thyroid problem can really influence several body organs to malfunction.
Thyroid disorders also affect the sweat and oil producing glands in the body, which can therefore trigger many skin problems in other parts of the body if not ankles.
Underactive thyroid decreases metabolic rate that can potentially interfere with ability of the skin cells to grow and repair. This can lead to dry itchy skin. Overactive thyroid on the other side speeds the blood flow to the skin which can result itchiness too. More symptoms of thyroid include:
- Thinning hair
- Weight gain
3) Varicose veins
Varicose veins also called varicoses or varicosities is a condition that occur when veins in the body become enlarged, dilated and overfilled with blood. This occurs veins stop functioning normally.
Usually when the valves in the veins fail, the blood will begin to collect in your veins instead of flowing to the heart. This condition is common in legs because legs are far away from the heart and the gravity may be preventing the blood from flowing to the heart when valves in the vein malfunction.
Therefore, when there is too much blood collected in the veins around ankle area, the veins will become painful, swollen and itchy making the ankle to become itchy too. Below are some of the factors that can contribute to varicose veins:
- Hormonal imbalance during pregnancy
- Obesity adding pressure to the legs
- Chronic heart valves failures
- Standing for a longer time
According to medical professionals, itchy skin can be a symptom of diabetes. In simple terms, diabetes is condition caused by high blood sugar levels in the blood. If this condition stay for prolonged period, it can lead to itchy skin. According to Diabetes.co.uk, “Itching of the feet, legs or ankles is a common complaint in people with diabetes that may occur as a result of a period of too high sugar levels.”
There are more diabetes complications that can cause them, examples include kidney disorder or nerve damage.
Psoriasis skin condition leads to red, flaky, crusty patches covered with silvery scales on the skin. It can appear anywhere in the body including ankles, elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. The resultant patches can be very itchy and sore.
Normally people having psoriasis have increased skin cells growth. The resultant accumulation of skin is what initiates the itchy patches.
This skin conditions runs in families and can be aggravated with some factors e.g. using certain medication, throat infections or traumatic skin injuries.
The symptoms can be mild or severe depending on the influencing factors. The good thing with this condition is that it is not contagious, it can be spread from one person to the other.
7. Old injury or surgery
Old injuries on your ankles can also leads to wound in the area. During the healing of the wounds, one may develop itchiness. This is a perfect sign that wound is healing. The condition can be very severe the wound become affected.
In rare conditions, one withouta rash can develop some rash overtime if you are careless about the condition at hands, may be due to poor personal hygiene. So whether the itchy ankle occurs with or without rash, proper medical intervention must be bestowed.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Signs and symptoms will depends on the causes as well as how you will handle your ankle, which itches. You also have to acknowledge that some symptoms may be mild or severe depending on the causes. So below are some of the symptoms that usually accompany itchy ankles.
- Blister filled with pus
- Rashes around the ankles
- Swelling and tendering of the skin on the ankles
- Reddening or discoloration of the skin in the affected area
- Dry, cracked skin
- Leathery or scaly texture of the skin on the ankles
This problem may occur alongside other symptoms that may be very severe for instance, those involving kidneys, heart or gut.
To try to find out the potential causes, the doctor may check whether the itch is localized or generalized. He may also look at its distribution. Checking whether the itch is present with or without rash can also help. He/ she may also want to determine whether your condition is chronic or not.
Looking at the symptoms and carrying out the proper diagnostic test is very significant for proper medications.
At night in bed
There are several reasons that can aggravate itchy skin at night. First, materials used for blankets or duvets can cause allergic dermatitis. Another possible cause is bug bite such as when a mosquito or bed bugs bite you. This too will lead to itchy feet and ankles at night especially if don’t cover them.
Another group of people who can suffer severe ankle itching at night is those people suffering from liver diseases which are usually triggered by consumption of alcohol. Such persons normally complain this problem that tends to worsen at night and is commonly experienced in the soles of the feet, ankles and palms.
This is what normally happens, “Bile salts, which help the liver remove waste, are deposited in the skin in the evening” [Dailymail.co.uk] and leaving the liver overwhelmed leading to itchy lower legs.
Finally, eating some food or bathing using some harsh soaps (allergen and irritants) can also lead to itching skin at night.
How to get rid of itchy ankles – treatments
There are vast treatments and remedies to get rid of this skin condition. Nevertheless, before you initiate any treatments, it will be good to have a prior knowledge of what the causes are. Furthermore, the severity of itchiness may also dictate the medications that would be used.
Itchy ankles treatment options will range from over the counter treatments to prescribed treatments to home remedies as well as behavioral changes. Here are the general most effective treatments and preventions for ankle which is itching:
A) Medical treatments
Medical treatments involves injections, oral and topical therapies to eliminate itching or to get rid of the resultant ankle rashes.
- Corticosteroids creams and lotions – these can be applied to treat eczema, diabetes, urticaria and psoriasis. In severe cases strong steroids can be used in the treatments. These ones are either injected or taken orally
- Antibiotics and antifungal medications– They are used to treat cases triggered by bacterial and fungal infections respectfully. Numerous oral or topical antibiotics medications can be used to stop this kind of itch. However, ensure you know the possible side effects
- Antihistamines– This kind of medications are used to treat itchiness caused by allergic reactions, urticaria, diabetes or sometimes due to irritants.
- Topical Calcineurin inhibitors– These are drugs that can control the activities of the immune system of a person therefore decreasing the inflammation and assist in combating many body disorders.
- Phototherapy– this kind of treatments can also be prescribed to less severe skin dermatitis. They involve the use ultraviolet A or B waves.
- Surgery– in severe case where itching ankle is due to rupture veins (varicose veins) or include symptoms such as blood clots, sores, ulcers or chronic inflammation, surgery can be carried out.
- Moisturizing Lotions: moisturizing lotions that contain methanol, caladryl or calamine can reduce the irritation and soothe your skin. This will therefore hasten the relief of the itching ankles.
Important: due to fact that itchy ankle have got many causes, medical doctors can provide treatments options that could be specific to each causes.
There are many home remedies available to cure several skin conditions. They usually have antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and skin soothing properties that really help to vanish itchy skins. Here are the commonly used home remedies:
Cold compresses can perfectly help in the treatment for itchy skin on legs instantly. Soak a clean towel in a cold water and then apply on the itchy skin. You can alternative use the towel to wrap cold ice and then apply on the itchy skin. This procedure with soothe the skin and relieve itching sensations.
Application of Baking Soda
You can as well prepare some baking soda and then apply it on the affected skin of the ankle. This home product helps in alleviating the itching on the skin.
Oat Meal bath
Oatmeal bath can also help to relieve the itching condition in your ankles. This will also be appropriate for widespread itching. Begin by filling a bucket with water and adding a cup of oatmeal. Mix them to make a complete mixture. You can then place your foot inside the bucket and leave it there for 20 minutes.
Other home products that can be used to heal this itchiness include:
Aloe Vera, egg white, tea tree oil, cider vinegar, lemon juice, coconut oil among other more.
C) Behavioral Changes
Below are behavioral changes that can help to prevent the occurrence of itchy ankles:
- Taking regular bath
- Wearing proper footwear that are sizable and well ventilated
- Avoid the use harsh soaps or you can use non-soap cleansers when washing
- Have knowledge about the causes of eczema and psoriasis and avoid them
- Use humidifier during dry or cold weather
- Keep your fingernails cut short to prevent scratching the affected area
- Always wash your bedding and check on the materials used to make it. They must not be irritant to your skin
- Avoid excess consumption of alcohol
When to see a doctor?
Usually, this problem do not seem to be something to panic. However, it could be a symptom of a serious medical condition, which may involve failures of some body organs such as heart, liver, and kidney. Such conditions can be serious. Severe itchy ankles accompanied with other life threatening symptoms must diagnosed and treated by medical professionals.
So make sure you see your doctor when it is accompanied the following:
- Pus filled blisters
- When you lose appetite
- Painful itchy bumps on ankles
- Bleeding skin