Itchy Feet Diabetes: Understanding the Connection and Effective Treatments

Medically Reviewed by: Scientific Advisory Board

Managing diabetes can be challenging and one issue that's not often discussed is itchy feet diabetes. This condition can be irritating, uncomfortable, and persistent, making it difficult to enjoy day-to-day activities. In this article, we'll explore the causes of itchy feet in individuals with diabetes and discuss ways to manage and prevent this frustrating symptom.

itchy feet diabetes

It's important to understand that high blood sugar levels can lead to a variety of complications for people with diabetes. These complications may include nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy, which can manifest as a tingling or burning sensation in the feet, as well as itchiness. Another cause could be the development of fungal infections, which are more common among diabetes patients due to the compromised immune system and the warm, moist environment often found within shoes.

In order to address the issue of itchy feet in diabetics, it's crucial to identify the underlying cause and implement the appropriate treatment options. By exploring prevention methods and managing blood sugar levels, we can make strides towards reducing the prevalence and severity of itchy feet diabetes.

Understanding Itchy Feet and Diabetes

We often hear questions about itchy feet and diabetes. To help our readers get a clearer picture, we'll delve into the connection between these two and offer some useful advice.

Diabetes affects millions of people in the U.S., and one common symptom is itchy feet. It's vital to recognize this issue and understand its causes, so you can manage it effectively. There are several factors that may contribute to itchy feet in diabetes patients:

  • Peripheral neuropathy: High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves in the feet, leading to sensations like tingling, numbness, and itching. This condition occurs in approximately 50% of people with diabetes.
  • Skin issues: Diabetes can cause changes in the skin, making it more prone to infections, dryness, and itching. In some cases, it may result in skin conditions like athlete's foot or diabetic dermopathy.
  • Poor circulation: Diabetes may lead to poor blood flow in the feet, which in turn can cause itchiness, dry skin, and slower healing of wounds.

To relieve the discomfort and lower the risk of complications, there are some measures you can take:

  • Control blood sugar: Keeping your blood sugar levels within the target range is crucial for preventing or managing peripheral neuropathy and other diabetes-related issues.
  • Moisturize: Applying a fragrance-free and nonirritating moisturizer to your feet daily helps prevent dryness and itching.
  • Avoid scratching: Scratching itchy feet can break the skin and increase the risk of infection. Utilize over-the-counter remedies or consult a healthcare expert for itch-relief alternatives.
  • Wear proper footwear: Opting for comfortable and protective footwear, such as diabetic socks, minimizes pressure on the feet and aids in keeping them dry and healthy.

Remember, if your itchy feet persist or worsen despite trying these strategies, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They can diagnose any potential underlying issues, advise you on the best course of action, and help mitigate complications linked to diabetes. By staying vigilant about your foot health and following a management plan, you can reduce the impact of diabetes on your daily life.

Identifying Common Symptoms

When it comes to diabetes, itchy feet can be a common symptom. We'll discuss the identification of this particular symptom, along with others that may occur in diabetics. Identifying these symptoms early on can make a world of difference in treatment and management.

Itchy feet in diabetics can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor circulation, dry skin, and fungal infections. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a complication caused by high blood sugar levels, can lead to itchiness, numbness, or tingling in the feet. To identify common symptoms, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Persistent itching, especially at night
  • Dry, cracked skin on the feet
  • Redness, swelling, or warm areas on the feet
  • Numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation
  • Foot ulcers, sores, or blisters that don't heal

In addition to itchy feet, diabetics should pay attention to their overall foot health. Regularly examine your feet for any changes in skin condition or sensation. This is essential because diabetic foot problems can quickly escalate if left unnoticed.

It's important to note that not all cases of itchy feet are due to diabetes. Other possible causes include:

  • Allergies or contact dermatitis
  • Athlete's foot or other fungal infections
  • Eczema or psoriasis

If you're concerned about itchy feet and you have diabetes, seeking medical advice is crucial. A healthcare professional can help rule out other causes and provide appropriate treatment. Key steps in managing itchy feet related to diabetes include:

Incorporating these measures into your daily routine can significantly reduce the discomfort caused by itchy feet and help prevent further complications in diabetics. Remember that expert guidance is paramount when it comes to managing any health condition. Your healthcare provider can offer tailored advice, solutions, and treatments for the challenges posed by diabetes. Always reach out to them if you have concerns or need more information about how to take care of your health.

Effective Treatment Options for Diabetics

Dealing with itchy feet can be quite a challenge, especially for diabetics who are more prone to this condition. However, there are several effective treatment options available. We'll outline some of these options, ensuring our focus is on diabetes patients in the U.S.

Firstly, good glycemic control is crucial for diabetics experiencing itchy feet. By managing blood sugar levels, we can reduce the chances of developing skin conditions, including dry and itchy skin. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and medication (if prescribed by a healthcare professional) are essential in maintaining proper glycemic control.

Moisturizing the skin is another essential step in treating itchy feet for diabetics. Using a diabetic-friendly moisturizer made specifically for dry, sensitive skin can help to alleviate itching and prevent it from worsening. Applying the moisturizer after bathing and before bedtime can lead to better results.

Here are a few additional methods to help manage itchy feet in diabetics:

  • Keep the feet clean and dry
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks
  • Use over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal creams if a fungal infection is present
  • Avoid wearing tight, restrictive footwear
  • Consult a healthcare professional for recommendations specific to individual needs

It's also essential for diabetics to pay attention to their foot care routine. Regularly inspecting feet for any signs of injury or infection, as well as following a proper foot hygiene regimen, is crucial for preventing further complications. Daily habits like washing the feet with mild soap and warm water, drying them thoroughly, and trimming toenails properly can significantly help in managing itchy feet.

In some cases, prescription medications may be required to treat itchy feet in diabetics. A doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, or even a corticosteroid, depending on the specific cause of the problem.

To summarize, there are several effective treatment options for diabetics experiencing itchy feet:

  1. Maintain proper glycemic control through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and medication
  2. Use a diabetic-friendly moisturizer
  3. Implement good foot hygiene practices
  4. Wear appropriate footwear and socks
  5. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations

By following these tips and working closely with healthcare professionals, diabetics can take control of their itchy feet and enjoy a better quality of life.


We've explored itchy feet as a common symptom among individuals with diabetes, and sought to understand the various causes and potential remedies. Several factors could be responsible for this discomfort, such as:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Athlete's foot
  • Dry skin
  • Allergic reactions

To prevent or alleviate itchy feet, we recommend the following strategies:

  • Regularly inspect feet for any abnormalities or signs of infection
  • Keep feet clean and dry, especially between the toes
  • Apply a suitable moisturizer to prevent dry skin
  • Choose breathable footwear and diabetic socks
  • Consult a healthcare professional for persistent or severe itching, and follow their guidance

Incorporating these tips into routine foot care can help reduce the itchiness, discomfort, and potential complications often associated with diabetes. Overall, we want our readers to feel confident and informed as they manage this common diabetic symptom.

Remember, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience persistent itching or other concerning symptoms, as they can rule out possible complications and recommend appropriate treatment. Taking preventative measures and seeking timely medical help will go a long way in maintaining the health and comfort of our feet.

References, Studies and Sources:

More About and Healthcare disclaimer:

Always consult your physician before beginning any program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience any pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. socks are clinically proven to improve micro-circulation in feet and lower extremities in people with Diabetes. 

More Author Information:

Dr. Capozzi is a board-certified foot surgeon through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Wound Management and Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He completed a three-year residency program in Foot and Ankle Reconstructive Surgery at St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center in Hartford, CT in 2010. Dr. Capozzi is a board-certified Wound Specialist® granted by the American Academy of Wound Management. He is also board-certified in Foot Surgery through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.