Itchy ankles can come about for a variety of reasons and are often accompanied by an assortment of symptoms. This condition usually comes with visible rashes as well as swelling and numbness. People with very sensitive skin and those who live in the western part of the globe experience this problem more often than others.
Whether it is just a matter of dermatological problem or an underlying medical condition, itchy ankles should be addressed. Treatment provides relief from itchiness as well as prevents it from aggravating further causing more serious complications. It should be noted that an itchy ankle that does not resolve with self-care measures and seems to get worse must be checked by a doctor so that an accurate diagnosis of the problem can be made and the suitable treatment method can be employed.
Why do ankles itch?
There are a number of reasons why the ankles become itchy. The body has itch receptors which are located in the mucus membranes, cornea and skin. Itchiness arises when the body releases histamine, a chemical that stimulates the nerve endings on the skin to transmit scratch impulse onto the brain. This may be caused by any of the following factors:
- Environmental irritation
Dust is the number one culprit of skin irritation and people who are less resistant to dust are usually affected by itchy ankle.
- Material components of footwear
The materials from which footwear, socks and even bandages are made of may also cause the ankles to itch. Prolonged skin contact of the ankle with the offending material can also give rise to an itchy ankle.
- Insect bites
Itchy ankles could be brought about by bites from certain insects like mosquitoes, mites and beg bugs.
- Dry skin
The skin becomes dry if it is constantly exposed to chemicals that eliminate the natural oils produced by the body. This is what usually happens with constant use of harsh soaps, lotions and creams.
- Poor circulation and itchy-scratch cycle
Poor blood circulation in the ankles, as well as itchy-scratch cycle or neurodermatitis, may likewise give rise to itchy ankles. Scratching is the immediate response to relieve itchiness but this only causes the body to release more histamine, hence, intensifying the itchiness.
What are other possible causes of itchy ankles?
The ankles may also become itchy due to an underlying systemic medical condition. Examples of these are:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Blood disorders
- Chronic renal failure
- Crohn’s Disease
- Biliary Disease
- Malignancies or cancer
There may be other accompanying symptoms which differ depending on the medical condition that is causing the itchiness.
Treatment for itchy ankles
Certain steps should be taken to treat an itchy ankle. Sufferers may first try the holistic approach to relieve the symptoms, such as utilizing cold compress, use of ginger and oats paste and application of calamine lotion and moisturizers.
If no improvement is apparent, then paying the doctor a visit is the best way to go. He or she may run a number of tests to determine the presence of systemic disorders. Itchy ankles, especially very severe ones, shouldn’t be left alone because complications may occur as a result of intense scratching. Here are some treatment and management options –
- Avoid the triggers. For instance, do not wear socks made of wool or such itchy material. Do not go to places that can cause risk to your itching ankle. Stay away from soaps that contain harsh chemicals.
- Applying calamine option twice a day is a good way to get relief. There is another lotion known as Caladryl which is effective in moisturizing the skin
- Use cold compress to the irritating area to get relief, you can put the cold pack for about 15 minutes and feel relieved as the skin gets moisturized
- A home remedy for itchy ankles would be to apply a paste of oats and ginger. Ginger has a vital component known as gingerol that treats inflammation naturally while oats makes the smooth texture smooth. You can take a ginger root, peeled and a cup full of raw oats. Put them in a blender till you get a paste, which can you apply twice a day.
- Moisturizing lotions which contain menthol can be quite helpful in treating itchy ankles and preventing the skin from drying or cracking.
- In case, your ankle itches in spite of any or some of these treatments, you can make an appointment with a dermatologist who may prescribe mild antihistamines or corticosteroids if the eczema or such other skin disease is suspected.