How I cope with my itchy ankles and itchy feet
I've been managing my feet since I was in my 20s, well before I developed any eczema symptoms. They've always lived in a permanent state of damp, either hot and steaming, or cold and clammy, as though they belonged to someone who lived in a rainforest or a bog, not mild, temperate England. For me, it's an awkward, rather undignified problem compared to those with serious skin conditions - though the chilly, squidgy discomfort felt on long journeys or in never ending meetings. can be seriously annoying. It's definitely hereditary, I remember the first thing my dad did coming home from the office was to take off his socks and shoes and, rolling up his trousers, rest his weary feet in the bath.
Later, rashes and itches started accompanying the clamminess, something I thought was extremely unfair, as up until then I'd always associated eczema with dry skin, not wet. The patches on my ankles and upper feet can get particularly bad in the winter months when the combination of central heating and constantly wearing socks aggravates them sorely. The temptation to scratch is just too much sometimes. But if I keep to my regime, a bit like daily toothbrushing, I can keep the levels manageable and avoid having to use much prescription cream.
My itchy feet regime
- Wash feet twice a day in luke warm water, morning and evening, even if not having a shower or bath and pat dry
- Have a bare foot period of the day (in addition to nighttime), perhaps wearing thick soled flip flops to avoid getting too cold
- Rub emollient cream gently onto feet last thing before going to sleep
- Avoid highly elasticated, manmade materials in both socks and tights – ideally wear those made of organic cotton with little or no elastic
- Have LOTS of pairs of cotton socks, which can be changed frequently (and don’t tumble dry them after washing)
- Indulge them - feet are literally carrying the load in our busy days. Treat them nicely.
Amy Rennison is a strategy and marketing consultant, focused on impact and ideas to make the world a better place.