Feet Eczema: Treatment, Triggers, and Lifestyle Changes

Eczema can occur all over the body, but certain types (dyshidrotic, atopic dermatitis, neurodermatitis, and stasis dermatitis) are commonly found on the feet.

Learn more about eczema on your feet, its causes, and treatment options to find relief.

Close up of eczema on a person's foot

ozgurdonmaz / Getty Images

What Is Eczema on the Feet?

Eczema is a group of conditions that cause inflamed skin. There are many types of eczema, some of which are common on the feet. The types that affect the feet include:

  • Atopic dermatitis: The most common type of eczema that usually starts in childhood, it can appear on any body part, including the tops of the feet and the ankles. One of the main symptoms is severe itchiness.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema: Inflammation causes tiny, painful blisters on the feet and hands. Some people have it once, and it goes away in a few weeks, while others may live with it on and off for most of their life. Treatment may include draining the blister fluid and proper dressing with antibiotic steroid cream.
  • Neurodermatitis: Caused by itching, neurodermatitis occurs later in life and is more common in people with other types of eczema. Thick patches of discolored skin can develop on the feet, ankles, hands, wrists, and other body parts.
  • Statis dermatitis: Poor circulation in the legs may increase the risk of this type of eczema that affects the feet or lower legs. It's usually seen in people with chronic venous insufficiency (when veins in the legs don't allow blood to flow back to the heart) and swollen legs. Early symptoms include ankle swelling and orange-brown speckles of discoloration. Treatment includes wearing compression stockings and elevating your legs throughout the day.

Relief, Remedies, Treatment for Eczema on Feet

Chronic eczema on the feet can increase the risk of infections and reduce quality of life. Because eczema can be long-lasting, it is important to find relief with treatment options that work for you. Different strategies will work for different types of eczema.

Practice Skin Self-Care

Developing a good skin care routine is important for managing eczema, whether you are caring for yourself or your child. Keeping skin clean, protected, and hydrated creates a skin barrier, which can reduce redness, itchiness, and dryness. Some self-care skin tips include:

  • Apply a cold, wet cloth or an ice pack to soothe the skin when it's red, inflamed, or itchy.
  • Avoid long, hot showers and baths. Make your showers shorter and set the water temperature to lukewarm; extremely hot showers can dry the skin.
  • Purchase skin cleansers and moisturizers that are free of allergens and fragrances.
  • Apply a thick layer of moisturizer to damp skin to seal in moisture. You may need to work with a healthcare provider or allergist to find the best one.
  • Consider wet wrap therapy or wet wrapping, which can soothe the skin and help topical medications work better. When treating feet, apply lotion or moisturizer and use damp cotton socks. Wrap them lightly in plastic wrap, and put a clean, dry pair of socks on top. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting wet wrap therapy.

Manage Stress

Excess stress can increase inflammation, which worsens the skin by causing more itching. And eczema-related symptoms can cause stress, complicating matters further. It's important to manage your eczema triggers as well as your stress triggers.

Once you can identify your stress triggers, you can produce a solution. Exercise, a nutritious diet, meditation, getting outside, seeking social support, or mental health counseling, are all ways to manage stress.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

A nutritious eating plan for eczema relief will include eliminating all allergens, focusing on hydration, and choosing whole foods. Certain foods and drinks have been reported to reduce symptoms in some people. These foods include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, fatty fish such as salmon or albacore tuna, fortified foods)
  • Vitamin D (salmon, milk, eggs)
  • Vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables)
  • Probiotics (yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh)
  • Zinc (oysters, beans, nuts)
  • Healthy oils (olive, hempseed, cod liver oils)
  • Water

Eating plans should be individualized based on a person's unique needs. Speak with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to help you choose the right foods.

Know Your Triggers

A trigger often causes an eczema flare. Many people with eczema also have allergies (environmental, food, ingredients in products). You may be sensitive to climate, stress, or even lack of sleep. The material of shoes such as sneakers and sandals may also cause an eczema flare. Identifying your triggers can reduce eczema flares and symptoms. A healthcare provider or allergist can rule out allergens and sensitivities.

Try Medication

When natural remedies are not enough, alternative treatment options may be necessary and can include different types of medications, such as:

  • Antihistamines: Oral histamine-blocking medications help to reduce eczema-related symptoms caused by triggers like environmental allergies.
  • Topical steroid creams and ointments: A healthcare provider will prescribe these medications based on the eczema's duration, severity, and location. For most people, this will control eczema on the feet.
  • Biologics: Injectable medications that target a specific pathway to reduce inflammation, biologics are approved for adults and children 6 and up when topical treatments have not worked.

There are additional medications that can be prescribed to manage eczema. Talk to a healthcare provider about your options.

Check Out Light Therapy

Light therapy, or phototherapy, can reduce itch and inflammation by reducing histamine production in your skin. Treatment with different wavelengths of UV light can be applied to the hands and feet or other body parts. There are different types of phototherapy, narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) light and ultraviolet A (UVA) light.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Foot eczema can flare up due to sweat, socks, and friction. Moist environments can increase the risk of infections. Choose comfortable shoes that fit well and are not tight, and wear 100% cotton socks (avoid synthetic materials). It is helpful to take off your shoes as much as possible and not tie them too tightly.

Eczema Symptoms

Symptoms of eczema vary based on the type of eczema you have. You may experience red, itchy, scaly, inflamed skin. You may also develop blisters or patches of itchy skin.

Causes and Triggers

A variety of factors contribute to the development of eczema on the feet. Some of these factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Allergies to food or other ingredients in clothing or products
  • Stress
  • Exposure to allergens
  • Dry skin
  • Heat
  • Sweat
  • Chlorine
  • Hot water
  • Dry air or a sudden change in temperature

In other instances, eczema may be caused by an underlying health condition. For example, people with stasis dermatitis could have high blood pressure (hypertension) or kidney problems.


A healthcare provider, dermatologist, or podiatrist (for foot eczema) can diagnose eczema based on a physical examination. They may need to take a skin sample if they suspect an infection.


Many people with eczema find it helpful to speak to others dealing with the same thing or seek mental health counseling. In addition, once you discover your triggers and know how to manage them, you may find that your eczema improves, which alone makes living with it easier.


Eczema on the feet can appear in various forms and cause various symptoms. It is important to identify your triggers to mitigate your symptoms. Developing a good skin care routine, making dietary changes, managing stress, and seeking emotional support are other ways to find relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you identify eczema on the feet?

    A physical examination by a healthcare provider can identify eczema on the feet. Depending on the type of eczema, the skin may appear red, inflamed, dry, scaly, or discolored, or you may have blisters.

  • What should you avoid with hand and foot eczema?

    If you have hand and foot eczema, you should avoid things that trigger your skin to flare. These factors will be unique to each individual but may include certain fabrics (like wool), perfumes, fragrances, food and environmental allergens, and extreme temperatures.

  • Can you get rid of foot eczema for good?

    Eczema on the feet can come and go. A variety of factors can trigger flare-ups. There is no cure, but you can take steps to manage foot eczema. Some children may grow out of it as they get older.

  • What kind of socks should you wear with foot eczema?

    Certain materials, such as wool, polyester, and nylon, can cause sweating, friction, and too much heat, which makes eczema itchy. Socks that are 100% cotton absorb sweat and allow the skin to breathe.

13 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Eczema types: Dyshidrotic eczema overview.

  5. National Eczema Association. Neurodermatitis.

  6. National Eczema Association. Stasis dermatitis.

  7. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Atopic dermatitis: Self-care.

  8. National Eczema Association. Wet wrap therapy.

  9. Zeiser K, Hammel G, Kirchberger I, et al. Social and psychosocial effects on atopic eczema symptom severity — a scoping review of observational studies published from 1989 to 2019. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2021;35(4):835-843. doi:10.1111/jdv.16950

  10. Nosrati A, Afifi L, Danesh MJ, et al. Dietary modifications in atopic dermatitis: Patient-reported outcomesJ Dermatolog Treat. 2017 Jan;28(6):523-538. doi:10.1080/09546634.2016.1278071

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By Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN
Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist.