Itchy Legs – Causes and Treatment

The human skin is not just a protective layer but also a highly sensitive sensory instrument which may be afflicted with a number of sensations that can cause discomfort. Itching is one of the more uncomfortable sensations, second only to pain. It can vary in intensity and duration, from a mild itch of a few minutes to the severe itch that can last for weeks.

Why do the legs itch?

Itching of the legs is a common ailment that may arise without any underlying disease or obvious skin rash and often no cause can be found. It can nevertheless cause great discomfort and even affect a person’s daily functioning or sleep. Itching of the legs must be clearly differentiated from other sensations like leg pain or leg tingling.  Pain may be due to actual injury to the skin and underlying tissue, while tingling may be a sign of neurological conditions.

The itch receptors are intended to serve as a means of warning a person of some irritation on the skin. It usually elicits the scratching action which not only provides some relief from itching but is also intended to remove the surface irritant. However, itching may occur without any irritant triggering these receptors on the surface of the skin.

The various causes of itchy legs are listed below :

Poor Hygiene

Proper hygiene ensures that sweat, sebum (oil) and dead skin cells that have not fallen off as yet, do not collect on the skin surfaces. On the other hand, excessive cleaning can cause the skin to dry and therefore cause itching. It is important to strike a balance to ensure regular bathing with adequate moisturizing.

Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin, “Leg Acne”)

In keratosis pilaris (link : pictures) thickening of the hair follicles result in small, skin-colored, red, or brown bumps (goose bumps, chicken skin, leg acne) on the thighs, arms or other parts of the body. Heat and irritation by clothes can provoke a bout of itching. Bumps in this harmless, genetically predisposed condition can be rubbed off but tend to recur.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis

In staphylococcal folliculitis (link : pictures and treatment), there is an infection of the hair follicles with Staphylococcus aureus (bacteria). It presents as small red bumps sometimes with white centers which resembles acne, and tends to appear on the thighs, upper trunk, face or other body parts. These small bumps are usually itchy or cause a burning pain. Staph folliculitis, even if not treated, usually heals on its own in few days/weeks.

Picture 1. Staphylococcal folliculitis (source: Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D., atlasdermatologico)

 

Jock Itch

Tinea cruris - jock itch

Jock itch is the common term for a fungal infection of the groin region and upper thigh. Jock itch is a red or brown papular rash on the inner thighs, genitals, and buttocks, caused by dermatophytes (tinea fungi), commonly affecting athletes and others who perspire excessively in the groin region. It can be treated with antifungal medication.

Picture 2. Jock itch (Tinea cruris)on the inner thigh (source: Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D., atlasdermatologico)

More pictures of jock itch (<< click and search for “Tinea cruris“)


Leg Itch During Running

1. Leg Itch in Unfit Runners

A person who starts vigorous exercise like running after a prolonged period of inactivity can experience intense itch a short while into the activity. In a fit runner, the small arteries in the muscles usually open rapidly in response to high demand to blood, but in an unfit runner arteries may not open properly leading to a low oxygen state. This may cause irritation of adjacent nerves and therefore the sensation of itching (1). The condition tends to ease after a few days to weeks of activity as the body adapts to the increased demands.

2.Cholinergic Urticaria (Physical Urticaria, Heat Rash)

Cholinergic urticaria (hives) are red, swollen bumps or patches appearing on the skin as an allergic reaction to physical stimuli, like pressure of the clothes, exercise, heat, sunlight, cold, vibration, water, spicy food, or emotional stress. Injection with acetylcholine tends to provide rapid relief of symptoms, hence the term cholinergic.

Cholinergic (physical) urticaria on the legPicture 3. Cholinergic (physical) urticaria on the lower leg (source: Flickr.com)

Some people experience intense leg itch during walking, running, after a hot shower or in a hot environment in general (3). The exact cause is not known, but could be related to an allergy to sweat itself. Sweat triggers the release of histamine causing itchiness in the legs or other parts of the body. It may also present with warm skin and small (up to 2-3 mm) bumps, which usually persist from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Some people may respond with a positive patch test to their own sweat.

Treatment. In severe itching, discontinuing exercise and removing tight clothing around the legs is advisable. A shower with lukewarm water can help to cool down the area and remove irritant sweat. If the itching does not stop, antihistamines like oral hydroxyzine may help with symptomatic relief. Read more about using antihistamines in itchy conditions.

Tendency of the skin to develop an urticaria-like rash, when stroked, is called dermatographism. It is quite common, mainly appears in young adults and often triggered by stress. The condition can last for several months and continuous treatment with non-sedative antihistamines is usually effective.

Additional Pictures of Cholinergic Urticaria

Prevention

  • Do not exercise in hot humid weather.
  • Take a shower before exercise to remove sweat, oil and any trapped dirt/dust.
  • Use a moisturizing cream after bathing to prevent the skin from drying.
  • Wear light, airy sportswear made from cotton.
  • Wash new underwear or sportswear before the first use to prevent reaction to fabric dyes

3. Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis (EIA)

Anaphylaxis (Gk ana = against, phylaxis = protection) is a severe allergic reaction to certain, very specific allergens (allergy-triggering substances). Rarely, anaphylactic reaction can be triggered by exercise. A person who has ingested specific foods like shellfish or nuts; substances like alcohol; or medication like aspirin, ibuprofen, antibiotics, herbal supplements, diuretics, and started exercising up to 24 hours thereafter, may experience intense leg itch, warmth, fatigue, urticaria (hives) anywhere on the skin, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or fainting within 30 minutes of exercising.

Symptoms can progress to shock or even death but this is rare. Symptoms of EIA do not appear after eating alone or exercising on its own, but only after a combination of eating certain foods followed by exercising. Symptoms also do not appear after hot shower or during stress as may be seen with hives. Exercising in cold weather or during menstruation can also trigger exercise-induced anaphylaxis in some individuals.

Treatment of severe allergic reaction in EIA is by an intramuscular injection of adrenaline (epinephrine) as soon as possible (3).

Prevention of EIA is by determining trigger foods and medication with skin patch tests and avoiding these triggers on the day of and immediately before the scheduled exercise program. An affected person should wear a medic-alert bracelet and never exercise alone.

4. Itchy Pants Syndrome (Pants Paresthesia Syndrome)

Wearing new pants or ones made by synthetic material may irritate the skin and cause contact or allergic dermatitis. Both these conditions cause severe itching. It can be prevented to some extent by using natural textiles like cotton and washing new clothing before first use. Friction of the pants against the skin may also cause itching.

Leg Itch After a Shower

Reasons for leg itch after a shower (usually hot shower) :

  • Frequent use of very hot water and certain soaps like antibacterial and strongly scented soaps, removes the protective oily layer lining the skin thereby making the skin dry and itchy.
  • Cholinergic urticaria (discussed above).
  • Skin diseases like psoriasis or dermatitis.
  • Blood diseases like polycythemia vera (rare).
  • Psychological reasons.

Prevention. First the cause should try to be isolated. Use lukewarm water, avoid strongly scented and antibacterial soaps and use a moisturizing cream immediately after bathing. If the itch eases with these measures then the cause may have been excessively dry skin. In cholinergic urticaria, an antihistamine like Benadryl by mouth taken 30 minutes before shower usually helps. Skin patch tests may be able to identify topical causes like an allergy to specific soaps or shampoos.

Gravitational Eczema (Stasis Eczema, Venous Eczema)

Stasis (gravitational) eczema

In deep vein thrombosis or in varicose veins, blood can not be pumped efficiently from the leg veins back to the heart. This results in blood pooling within the lower limbs.  The lower legs may be red, swollen, itchy, and cracks and scaling may appear.

Picture 4. Stasis (gravitational) eczema on the lower leg. (source: Samuel Freire da Silva atlasdermatologico)

Treatment. Underlying varicose veins or thrombosis has to be treated. Corticosteroid ointments help in severe inflammation.

Prevention:

  • Avoid standing for long periods,
  • Legs should be kept clean and drying prevented with moisturizing creams

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is the strong urge to move the legs because of itching and/or tingling that develops during a rest. The condition may severely affect sleeping. Symptoms partly or completely disappear with moving the legs or a short walk. This disorder is of neurological origin and the exact cause is not known.

There is no definite cure for RLS. Treating underlying disorders is integral in management of RLS. Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided. Medications to treat Parkinson’s disease or analgesics are sometimes effective.

Other Causes of Leg Itch

Leg itch may be a part of generalized itch caused by different disorders, such as xerotic eczema, senile pruritis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, parasites, infections, obstructive biliary disease, chronic renal failure, malignancy, medications, neurodermatitis, diabetes, peripheral nerve damage, emotional stress or psychological disorders. It is therefore not isolated to the legs.

Related Articles:

References:

About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
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  • thickchoc42

    I am going crazy with my itchy legs. It started almost 2 weeks ago, with a slight itch on my thighs after taking my dog for a walk. By the following Friday, my slight itch and hives and had turned severe. I woke up the next Friday itching and scratching with hives. I was in tears. I ran to the store to get benedryl. I have been in agony for a week. I have been on benedryl and prednisone for a week. I am blowing up and still itching. I have been told that I might be allergic to my shiztzu puppy. I have hadn the dog for 6 months with absolutely no problems. This has come all of a sudden. It is baffling and seriously uncomfortable.

  • Jan Modric

    Hey, thickchock42, were you wearing shorts while you were out with the dog? Someone would expect you’d get rash on hands and other parts of body from the dog…

    Have you worn new unwashed trousers maybe?

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  • helen729

    my skin is driving me crazy!! my forearms,back of knees,inner thighs,front of legs,scar tissue (stretch marks) on stomach,also varicoise vein on right leg, i’ve had a number of blood test but all return negative can you help??

  • Jan Modric

    To helen729

    Itching is constant? What about at night?
    Any rash or hives anywhere on the skin? Have you tried antihistamine pills like Benadryl? When did itch started?

    Anyone you live with have the same symptoms?

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  • sumonesez

    Not everyone knows that poison oak often reoccurs and compounds due to repeated contact with contaminated surfaces such as clothing, vehicles, tools, and pets. Dogs often run around and play in the poison oak because they are immune to it. the oil lasts a very long time in the dogs fur, and the human keeps petting the dog and getting more itch oil. if you bathe your dog, and wash all clothing and tools etc, and wash your body with cold water and soap the rash should go away soon. a poison oak rash lasts about two weeks. but if you keep touching the source it won’t go away. I’m sure your doctor has thought of this and ruled it out in your case, but other readers might find it useful knowledge.

  • Grandma

    Itching all over body. Recently diagnosed w/hypertropic cardiomyopathy. Taking atenolol (dr. switched me fm metoprolol) Any suggestions?

  • Jan Modric

    Grandma,

    did itching start when you switched atenolol/metoprolol? (may be allergy)

    Itching may be due to liver disease (appears with jaundice) that results in hypertrophy of the right heart ventricle…you don’t say is it right or left sided.

    List of causes of itching all over:
    http://www.healthhype.com/causes-of-itchy-skin.html

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  • xavier

    Hi..
    I always encountered itching after bath and the itch is like killing me and prevent me from all other activities.
    I see doctor and they prescribe me medicines and the itch got subside abit but it still came again
    what is this.???
    any solution???
    pls help…

  • Jan Modric

    To xavier.

    As you can read above in the article, hot water can trigger allergic response. This is physical or cholinergic urticaria. Some people say that taking antihistamines before bath/shower prevent itch. (Some antihistamines make you sleepy though).

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  • Stack

    I am in the army, we run alot..on random occasions this severe leg itching starts on the thighs working its way around my waist, and calves. Ive had this problem for roughly 8 years, i still remember the first time it happened, it was like ants in my pants. Jumped in a hot bath and the pain went away for me, some people have reactions to hot water, which further makes this diagnosis unknown in my opinion. It could be a variety of reasons why it triggers, stress could be a factor, wether you know or not that you are stressed.

  • Jan Modric

    To Stack.

    Any rash?

    In cholinergic urticaria, itch is usually accompanied by rash. It can be caused by heat, physical stress, vibrations, irritation of clothes…

    If it is cholinergic urticaria, an oral antihistamine like Benadryl would help.

    Another possibility is that you’re allergic to the sweat. Skin test can confirm that.

  • Laurie

    I have had itchy legs for about 2 weeks now! The problem is, i don’t know if its an allergic reaction, or razor bumps, or both! I am currently visiting my hometown, and every time i visit my eyes get itchy and watery but I use eyedrops for it. This year, besides getting watery itchy eyes, i got bumps all over my legs and CRAZY itching! I’ve never had this before and it’s driving me nuts! ive been using aveeno products for about 4 days now.

  • Jan Modric

    To Laurie.

    Eyedrops help? Is it antihistamine medication in it?

    Legs are itchy all the time or only after exercise or when you are warm?

    If allergic reaction was causing itchy legs, antihistamine like Benadryl would probably help.

    In allergy, rash, if any, appears and disappears after several hours and appear again. In razor bumps you can sometimes see a hair in the centre while in allergic rash not.

    Folliculitis – infection of hair follicles – appears with red bumps with white centers, just like acne.

  • mike

    Hi, i have a problem with my legs itching in the summer, july and august, i live in riyadh saudi arab and the weather here in these months is very dry, low himidity. As the weather changes the itching is no more, but its very irritating and i dont know what to do….Please help

  • Jan Modric

    To mike.

    If your legs itch becuase they are dry, try this:
    – Wear long trausers to prevent evaporation of sweat. If your problem is dry skin, try a moisturizing cream or lotion.
    – Be sure to drink enough. Dehydration is a common cause of dry skin. Excretion of at least 150-200 ml of urine in the morning is a sign that you are properly hydrated.
    – If your skin is dry all over then you may have a problem with function of sweat glands or sebaceuus glands. Dermatologist can say that.
    – There is a type of allergic reaction triggered by heat. Antihistamine pills available without prescrition would help in this case:
    http://www.shpnc.org/pdf/pharm-nsa-faqs.pdf

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  • npeng

    previously my ankle was bandage up. Due to the itchiness I ask the doctor to remove the bandage. Now the bandage was removed but it swelling and redness on my foot! when I stand for a minute it will turn to purple! Anyone please help me!

  • Jan Modric

    Npeng,

    swollen foot becoming purple after standing speaks for a serious circulation problem (vasculitis, thrombosis..). You should see your doctor promptly!

  • lucka

    hi.please help me. My body have been itching since last year. Sometime all over my body and specially my balls.Sometimes it stops for few days but comes again. Past few days after I take a bath it itches so much and drives me crazy for about 30 min. It look like goose bump that time. Also i feel like my legs hair is growing. I can see lot of hair just like its growing new on my leg.because it looks like just came out from my skin.im not sure if they acually growin new or it was like this before,but i feel there is more hair on my leg before when i see my leg.im 24 years old and ive never had like this proble about yaar ago. My balls specially itches a lot. when it get worse, my face nose leg,back arms balls itche a lot. I havent see any doctor. What it could be pleassse help me

  • Jan Modric

    Lucka,

    you can make a test. Next time after bath or shower, if you itch, take a Benadryl (antihistamine pill). If this will help, it means you possibly have an allergy to heat (a type of physical urticaria).

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  • cass

    I am fifteen and for the past two months I have had severly itchy legs in the shower. I have a lot of scars on my legs from a car wreck I was in last year, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with it though because they are healed. The itching occurs on my thighs and my calves. It gets so bad sometimes that I use a brush and keep scratching and scratching until I’m bleeding and I end up with scabs everywhere. And I know I should stop, but I’m just soo itchy. It could be something psychological. I don’t know. Can you help?

  • Jan Modric

    To cass.

    Leg itch after the shower is often due to cholinergic urticaria – an allergic reaction triggered by heat. In this case small red bums or patches would appear on the legs. If you take an antihistamine pill an hour before the shower, and if it helps, this furtherly speak for cholinergic urticaria as a cause. Using lukewarm water and not wiping your legs with the towel could help a bit.

  • Starburst

    Ok I know this sounds weird, but I had itchy leg syndrome for years and every winter my legs would drive me nuts at nighttime in bed scratching them. Nothing worked.

    My wife, a nurse for 20 years, came home and told me she heard of putting a bar of Oil of Olay ( dove or any other brand would work) in the bed, under the sheets so that they are next to your feet.

    When she put it under the sheets I didn’t take it serious nor would I have ever thought it would have worked.

    However, since that time my legs never itched again.

    Don’t ask me how it works, I don’t know…but it worked.

    If you have itchy legs, try it, its cheep and you have nothing to lose.

    Gary

  • mcjchick

    My mum has been suffering with a severe red rash for about two weeks. It started near her ankles, has spread all over her lower legs and is now creeping up her thighs. She went to the doctor about a week ago; they didn’t know what was wrong and was prescribed antibiotics. There has been no change, in fact the rash is worse. It is itchy, painful, hot and the skin feels tight. It looks a bit like blotchy sunburn and she says it feels like lots of little ants with little needles on their feet, walking up and down.
    She hasn’t changed washing detergent, shaving gel, moisturiser, diet or anything else. It’s cold and rainy here (UK) so it has nothing to do with heat or sun. We have a dog but we’ve had her for 7yrs. There are no fleas on the dog or in the house.
    This is so uncomfortable for my mum – does anyone know what on earth this is and how we can get rid of it??

  • Jan Modric

    To mcjchick.

    Is the rash in one patch, more patches or as bumps? Does it look like hives (urticaria) – pinky, slightly raised, itchy bumps or patches?

  • shilo

    hi, I am 48yrs old and have had itchy skin now for almost 20 years, this occured immediately after I had my second child. Seen a dozen doctors, all said the same thing. I had an allergic test last year, everything negitive, pills don’t help, changing laundry soap, didn’t help, nothing changed, so now I let my legs air dry, and cream them, they still itch to the point I scratch till I bleed. good news is I only have 10 more years to go, as they say!

  • Jan Modric

    Shilo,

    do only your legs itch? Is the itch constant and is it relieved or aggravated by something (hot shower, exercise, certain clothes, food)? In what time after delivery did the itch start (minutes, hours?) Have you ever had any rash? Antihistamines don’t help?

    Have you checked your blood bile acids levels?

  • misfin2

    For the past couple of months the outside part of my thighs and my whole upper arms,both, itch like crazy to the point I have huge, ugly bruises all over. I have tried changing everything, like soaps of all sorts, lotions, clothes and anything else I think of, but nothing has helped. It is driving nutty. I haven’t been able to see a doctor since my daughter has been in and out of the hospital for about 3 months now. I have no rashes, no bumps not even dry looking skin. I am going crazy and could use any suggestions please.

  • Jan Modric

    To misfin2.

    To see, if it is an allergy, you can try Benadryl or other OTC anti-allergic drug.

    You could also ask for some blood tests (bile salts, urea, etc).

  • Marnie

    This is not an absolutely complete list of reasons for itchy legs. What you didn’t mention is aquagenic pruritus, which is a terrible itch, often triggered by water, that has NO visible sign — no rash, no redness. It often starts with ankles and legs but can spread to other parts of the body over time. This may be the reason for xavier, cass, and shilo’s itch.

    I am moderator of a Yahoogroup of about 800 people who suffer with this. The group is called aquagenicskin. We have found that this can be a symptom with many different triggers and many different things that help different people, it is a matter of trial and error. Suggestions to try:
    – shower only at night
    – end your shower with the hottest water you can stand
    – use a hairdryer or a heating pad on itchy areas
    – add baking soda to bath water.
    There are many other suggestions on our list. Most important is to know that you are not alone, and you are not crazy.

    • Jan Modric

      Marnie,

      some cases of water-related pruritus fall under physicall urticaria, sweat allergy and “swimmers itch” – allergic reaction to certain parasites in recreational water. I might visit your group to see what experience people have with itch, where no rash is present.

  • moojay

    I have an itch about half way down my left calf in a silver dollar sized area with no visible signs of rash or anything else. It feels under the skin. I have had this before, lasted a few weeks to a month and then went away. I don’t remember though what time of the year. No new contacts that I can think of and it is just this 1 small spot. It itches not constantly, but quite alot throughout the day.

    • Jan Modric

      To moojay.

      No hardened nudule felt by fingers? Could it be something from trousers, sockings, boots..? Does it force you to scratch or is it more like tingling or burning? Could it be an insect bite?

  • moojay

    No nodules, no bug bite. It is definitely an itch and it does force me to scratch. The area itself is not red, no outward sign at all. It has me baffled. When I had the itch once before it was in the exact spot. It was from the weather, dry skin seems like it would be everywhere and this feels like it is coming from under the skin.

    • Jan Modric

      Moojay,

      have you tried any moisturizing ointment?

  • Eleonora

    Hi.it’s over 5 months now i get very itchy legs,calves and thighs,so badly that i have scars from the scratches and bruises.I stopped using soap from a month now(as doctor adviced) and do not use any moisturizer except from Aveeno,with no result.The itch can happen any time of the day,with or without thights on.I usually shave just once a week but the itch goes on and on and on.Now and then even the arms can get itchy particulary the forearms.I am getting mental.My husband doesn’t have the problem.I stopped using bio detergents for clothes and use just detergents for babies or non-bio.
    Please any idea?

    • Jan Modric

      Eleonora,

      do you shave your legs? Stop shaving legs and see what happens.

  • chrisey

    i get very itchy legs especially behind my knee and also sometime above my elbow. it is driving me crazy. scars are everywhere on my leg from the scratches. help please.

    • Jan Modric

      Chrisey,

      is there any visible rash? I strongly recommend you to visit a dermatologist. It can be atopic (allergic) dermatitis, psoriasis, dermatitis herpetiformis…

  • Shandy

    My leg doesn’t itch but it’s pain when pressed down. It has red patches (size of a coin) on my leg. It came suddenly. And I don’t even know what is this!? Help?!

    • Jan Modric

      Shandy,

      your doctor should examine you. It can be a skin disease, like nummular dermatitis, but a dermatologist could say more.

  • Mohamed900K

    I have had sporadic itch on the inside of my ankles for the last 10 years. It happens only once or twice a month. When it happens both ankles each unbearably. Only on the inside the legs at the ankle. I used to draw blood to make the itch go away. There is no rhyme or reason for it. I ruled out heat, moisture levels, exercise, poison ivy, allergies. blood tests, dermatologists, have no answer. They all say I’m healthy. I noticed that the only thing that makes the itch go away is when I rub in vigorously Epson salt in the area and leave the salt on it for a while and the itch goes away fast until next month. Anyone with the same symptoms?

    • Jan Modric

      Mohamed,

      any rash? If, yes, how exactly does it look? Does hot water trigger the itch? Have you tried antihistamines, like Benadryl?

  • mohamed900K

    Hi Jan,
    Yes, I have tried antihistamines before to no avail. I have tried all sorts of treatments and medicines, but the itch always comes back. Rubbing Epson salt is the only thing that makes it go away, until the following month. It’s cyclical. The itch comes out of nowhere because there is no rash or even any marks to indicate the irritation, is just the itch.

    Obviously after I was done scratching to the point of drawing blood it would scab over and look horrible, Epson Salt is the only thing that makes the itch go away without any damage to the skin.

    What is in that product that reacts with my problem and makes the itch go away? Someone has to know it.

    I wish I could get rid of it, because if I am in a place without Epson salt , I need to go find it before I damage the skin…

    It seems like we have to research ourselves to get our problem solved, the insurance companies want you to live with your problem instead of paying an specialist to look into this.

    I have Kaiser and I have paid my copay so many times to look into this problems that by now I could have gone through medical school if I had applied my premiums and my copays towards higher education. Health Insurance Sucks!

    • Jan Modric

      Mohamed,

      Epsom salt may relieve itch even in psoriasis and eczema, so it’s hard to find a cause of your itch merely from the fact that Epsom salt helps you.

      But:
      – would you say, you have a dry skin?
      – are your feet/ankles swollen, when they itch
      – varicose veins?
      – digestive problems of any kind?
      – when the itch usually appears – at night, in the morning, after prolonged standing, or after being indoor for several hours…
      – does Epsom salt helps immediately or after some hours
      – any chronic diseases in your family, including thrombosis?

  • Mohamed900K

    Hi Jan,
    – No, I don’t have dry skin?
    – No my feet/ankles do not get swollen when they itch
    – Now that I am entering my 40’s there is a few veins that are noticeable on my foot, but no varicose veins. Nothing in the area that itches.
    – No, I don’t have any digestive problems of any kind.
    – the itch doesn’t have a noticeable pattern when it appears – mostly in the early evening, but it has happened in the morning and afternoon. Sometimes I am at home, sometimes I am driving, sometimes I am outdoors, sometimes I am indoors. There is no specific environment where it happens.
    – Epsom salt helps immediately if I rub it in vigorously as If I am itching with the grains of salt. I believe that the salt actually opens the pores and penetrates the skin. The result is immediate soothing. The layer left by the melted salt seems to soothe it further.
    – No, to my knowledge there is no chronic diseases history in my family. For sure no one has trombosis or circulation problems.

    • Jan Modric

      Mohamed,

      I’ll search a bit.

    • Jan Modric

      Mohamed,

      about itchy ankles:

      I’ve seen people with diabetes (elevated blood sugar) report having itchy ankles, but mostly at night. The cause is probably “peripheral neuropathy” – a damage of the nerves in the hands and feet.

      Someone reported how eliminating sugar from his diet has helped.

  • nonhlanhla

    i also have the same problem my legs are itchy every time after taking a bath more especialy in the morning. every time when i wake up thinking of taking a shower i feel like screaming because of its result. oh!please help

    • Jan Modric

      To nonhlanhla.

      Any rash before or after the shower?

  • Mililani

    Wintertime dry legs may be exacerbated by the use of your car heater, especially if you are using the “feet/legs” setting. It just like putting a hair dryer on your legs. When possible I try heating my car before I am in it and then use the heat setting for the upper body, which is more protected that the legs/feet area. I also drink tons more water and take flaxseed oil. Topically, I think each person has to find their own fix. There are so many options, but the number one thing to remember is fragrance free. I have found that a really good pedicure where they thoroughly work on your lower legs also is extremely helpful. The spa that I go to uses pure shea butter and it has helped relieve the itch for longer lenghts of time.

  • Pingback: Causes of Itchy Skin | Current Health Articles()

  • sanjeevan

    Hi …

    my legs,thighs,and hands are itching..no sign of rashes or anything..it comes at random timess..

    • Jan Modric

      Sanjeevan,

      can you think of any possible causes? Hot shower, stress, exrcise, eventual drugs?

  • NanaBanana

    I am mid 50s and recently have suffered very itchy skin and restless legs. This only happens in the evenings/night time and my sleep is being disturbed as itching drives me mad. I keep my skin hydrated, eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water. Any advice to allieviate these problems anyone could give me would be much appreciated.

    • janmodric

      NanaBanana,

      I recommend you to get diagnosis from a neurologist. One possible cause is a “restless leg syndrome”.

  • Marnie

    No matter what the cause of the itch, changing the temperature of the skin may help alleviate it. For some, a cold pack helps. For me, heat works. When I climb into bed and can’t get to sleep because of the itch, I plug in my trusty heating pad, put it on whatever is itching (usually hip or legs), and soon can fall asleep.

  • amanda

    hi,
    i have been having some symptoms that are kind of strange.i’ve been haveing a deep itch on my feet and lower legs.they itch on the inside not the outside.i have to rub my legs and that is along with a burning tingling type of symptom.whats crazy is the itching is just in my feet and lower legs to where the tingling burning sensation has spread all the way up to my thighs and fingers have you ever heard of such a thing.

    • janmodric

      amanda,

      when did your symptoms start? Any rash? Is the affected part tender to touch? Herpes zoster (shingles) may appear along the course of the affected nerve as pain/itch and later as a rash (not always). Phlebitis (inflammation of veins) is another possible cause. Dermatologists deal with these disorders.

  • amanda

    this started heavily after the birth of my son 6 months ago it’s not tender and theres never been a rash it just wont go away and it’s spreading further as time goes on it’s even in my fingers

    • janmodric

      amanda,

      do symptoms change with the body position – walking, sleeping, sitting? Can you recall more symptoms or circumsatnces after checking personal medical history questionnaire?

      If symptoms are worsening or spreading, I strongly recommend you to visit your doctor. A pinched nerve (sciatica), other neurological disorder, a vascular disorder or thrombosis, among other, are possible.

  • amanda

    it happens when i’m standing not sitting or lying down well acually if i sit long enough my legs tingle a little.i do have a sharp pain in my lower back but it only comes once in a while like months in between.but once it is there i can’t even bend over it shoots a sharp pain.i have ddd in my neck.my legs are really cold 90% of the day.i sometimes have pain in my thighs and my right hip has pain when i was preg the doc said the baby was laying on a nerve but it still hurts .something worth mentioning is when i had my second son 9 years ago a student gave me the epidural not sure how to spell sorry.he poked me in the back 5 times before getting it right and i was told he got me in a blood vessel after i had the worse headache in my life and was really bad off they had to put a pint of blood in my spine and after words my blood pressure droped to 80 over 20 i passed out i don’t know if that has something to do with it or not i had these symptoms for years and i’m pretty sure it was after that when i first got the symptoms but since the birth of my third son it has gotten much worse. past medical that i can think of is i have asthma,endemetreosis,i had an avm brain anurism when i was 8. i have sun damage to my right eye, inner ear problems it’s hereditary it’s calcium buil up and i have low blood pressure.i’ve been to a nuerologist,vasular, spine,and my family doctor.they don’t know so i’m searching on the web but so many things have the same symptoms it’s nearly impossible for help there i had a small rash on the back of my hand a couple of weeks ago it was 5 round spots about the size if a pencil round it wasn’t ringworm you could’nt feel it or it did’nt itch it was just there and it was gone after about three days.

    • janmodric

      amanda,

      if you have DDD in your neck, it’s quite possible you also have it in your lower back. DDD can result in a bulging/herniated disc and pinched sciatic nerve. Lower back, hip and lower leg pain and tingling can all appear in sciatica. Diagnosis can be made by CT or MRI of the lumbar spine. Symptoms in fingers can be from DDD in the neck.

  • Pingback: Patient's Personal and Family Medical History Questionnaire (Form) | Current Health Articles()

  • NItish

    I am 19,and itching & buning sensation in my legs and balls started 5 months ago though being inconsistent but i speculate that the problem gets aggravated by eggs & non-veg foods. i feel trapped in terrible situation spending hours in bathroom trying to soothe the skin .itch guard powders help
    but the problem rebounces again after an
    hr. wht to do and is my liver affected?
    pls reply

    • Jan Modric

      NItish,

      is there any rash?

  • GloriaW

    I’m a 5 year breast cancer survivor and have been healthy since diagnosed. However, this itching in my legs and other areas are driving me crazy. It starts after dinner, most of the time when I change clothes. I feel it during work hours on my arms, but not nearly as bad as my legs at night. Thighs down with red patches of itchy swollen bumps. Not breaking the skin though…I try to be careful. I’ve tried Benedryl lotion, Gold Bond lotion, what ever I can find..and still itch. Normally goes away after an hour with a spurt of an itch here and there throughout the night. Any suggestions?

    • Jan Modric

      GloriaW,

      itchy skin with bumps that appear and disappear sounds, like an allergy. In food allergy, symptoms may appear from a minute to several hours after starting eating.

  • GloriaW

    I think you’re right…This started about 2 months ago when I started taking gummy vitamins with my daughter. My husband and I thought about this and this may be what the problem is. Of course I haven’t taken any today and so far so good!!! 🙂

  • lennie

    When in the bath or shower brush the lower legs downwards all round with a stiff nail brush, it seems to help for a good nights sleep and try to resist scrathing

  • thecureforu

    the cure i have had this leg and foot itch forever off and on in my life i went on the web for help when it got so bad i was crying i found this webpost and i cried i never thought other people had what i had any how i said after reading the post that if i ever found out what it was or what could help i would come back and leave a post here it is fiber pills every day don’t eat white flower go gluten free i don’t go all the way i just leave out white flower and BENADRYL really helps better then nada what i think it is diverticulitis my two kids have it now i have been doing this for 4 months now i have some itch not alot and not in the shower any more 1-10 i’m a 8 now thank god i hope it will go all the way away but i’m happy with a 8. I was a 2 1 being i can’t take it any more put me out my kids just told me they suffer from this when i told them that i had a hard time sometimes standing for a long time 5 ten min thats a long time when the itch is getting real bad i have two kids 12 and 9 its hard to get them to take the 3 pills for the fiber i have to take 6 but they are getting better at it i wish you all luck

    • Jan Modric

      thecureforu,

      have you been tested for allergies?

  • GloriaW

    It’s been a couple of weeks without the vitamins that I thought was causing this itch. It’s better, but I still have a few fits here and there, mostly at night. All along I thought it might be dry skin, but now that’s it’s spring…it’s making me believe that I’m just going to have to learn to live with it. I went to bed last night itching like crazy and I just rubbed Cortaid on my legs and it was instantly better! Go figure…I’m lost at this point what could be causing this!

    • Jan Modric

      GloriaW,

      Cortaid can help in both an allergy or dry skin, so it’s hard hard to conclude what is the cause from this. Stopping itching after an antihistamine pill (not ointment) would more likely speak for an allergy. I suggest you to see an allergologist. An itch with bumps disappearing within an hour, speak for an allergic reaction. You’ve said an itch can start after a meal, when you change your clothes. So, it seems you can react to a certain food, clothes or detergent.

  • Beefan4life

    Heyy

    I was just wondering basically for most of my life or since I can remember I have had itchy, dry skin that appears flaky but isn’t on my the leg area below the knee. I have no idea what to do as I have tried Vaseline, E45 and others. I just want an easy way out of this. Someone on another page suggested using a brittle brush before a shower, then shaving with baby oil, then using vaseline or E45 but before it absorbs, wrapping the skin with cling film to seal it all in. Is this okay? Because I may try it as it worked for them. Thanks.

    • Jan Modric

      Beefan4life,

      are you male or female and how old are you? Where do flakes appear and how large they are? Any triggers/relievers of itch you can think of? Do you have any underlying disease or other symptoms?

  • ckearney

    I have extremely itchy legs to the point where I scratch sometimes until they are rubbed raw and bleeding. Mainly on the lower leg but sometimes on the upper as well. It seems like it’s mainly during the winter season – not so much in the summer. It doesn’t matter if I slother both my legs in with cream, the itch will not subside. I don’t use any bubble bath or other irritants in the bath only occasionally I will add neurtrogena bath oil to help retain moisture in my skin. This problem has been ongoing for the past few years. The only treatments I’ve tried is Gold Bond body lotion which sometimes helps but most often not for long! I take Effexor for depression as well as a variety of vitamins in the morning such as Omega 3, a multi-vitamin, folic acid, calcium with vit.D, and a grape seed extract supplement. Any idea where I can begin to diagnose this problem?

    • Jan Modric

      ckearney,

      check information leaflets of all medications and supplements. Effexor is known to cause itch. Discuss with your doctor, if you need all supplements you have listed.

  • Marnie

    ckearney, have you read what I posted on January 15? If your legs itch after bathing with no visible rash, you may very well have aquagenic pruritus. Knowing that term may help you to talk with your doctor and find more help on the internet.

  • Brittany

    Jan,

    I read through this page but didn’t see anything that quite matched my experience. I may have Cholinergic urticaria, but I am not sure. About 1 1/2 weeks ago I developed a rash on my legs after a shower that was just about unbearably itchy. I thought it was razor burn, so I stopped shaving and moisturized. I scratched it and the little red bumps around my hair follicles just became redder and began to form together into one big rash. There are no white centers to my rash around the hair follicles. The rash itches like crazy when things brush against it, or even now when I am just sitting here. After the first two days I stopped letting myself scratch my legs. My legs LOOK much better now – the rash is much less obvious, but they still itch like mad. It is especially bad after a shower in the evening. I take hot showers and it makes my legs itch horribly – it’s a tickling sensation. I rub them in the shower – not scratch. I have used hydracortizone – which is not helpful, and Claratin, which – to my knowledge – is also not that helpful. The last 2 nights, after my shower, I have rubbed my legs down with olive oil and that seems to help a little bit, but not really. My problem is that this is basically non-stop for 1 1/2 weeks! It’s not like it comes and goes. I didn’t make any dietary changes, soap changes, lotion changes, or other changes that might affect this! It started on my calves (all the way around and at my ankles) and is now moving up my inner thigh. The rash is little red bumps (or flesh colored depending on how irritated the skin is) and when I have given in to scratching the rash gets worse and the bumps kind of mold together to make one big hive-looking-rash. And then it just itches like crazy when I scratch. So I don’t scratch. But I want it to go away. Any thoughts?

    • Jan Modric

      Brittany,

      the rash confluenting together after scratching may be cholinergic urticaria, probably a result of scratching – it’s possible you have developed dermographism (search online). This by itself is not necessary itchy. The original cause may be folliculitis: if red bumps are located around the hair follicles and are there constantly, this is either staph folliculitis (does not necessary have white centers, can be treated by OTC antibiotic ointment containing mupirocin) or caused by ingrown hair (after shaving) or other cause of folliculitis. You might want to see a dermatologist.

  • GloriaW

    Well…it’s about a month later. I’ve decided to go to a dermatologist next week. The itching is unbearable. It’s mostly at night when I’m home. I’ve noticed it’s like in patches..some on my outer thighs, inner thighs, up to my butt…and sometimes on my lower legs as well. After scratching I get patches of red bumps in an oval shape. I use hydrocreme and the itching is gone and the patches go away..until the next night and it starts all over. I’m tired of keeping stock of hydrocortisone. If you have any suggestions, that would be great..All along I thought it was a winter itch, but I was wrong.

    • Jan Modric

      GloriaW,

      hydrocortisone usually helps in allergic itch, but could be also something other. I strongly recommend you to speak with your doctor about using hydrocortisone, since after prolonged use it can cause a permanent thinning of your skin. Like said, my first thought was an allergy to…something – an allergologist can tell. A strong stress can also cause hives – if this is what you have. I believe you have some controlling examinations regarding your past breast cancer, including blood tests…

  • GloriaW

    Thanks Jan…I didn’t know hydrocortisone thinned the skin, so that’s an immediate halt!! It’s just weird..Everyone thinks it’s an allergic reaction, but I only get it when I get home in the evenings after work. I’m a little stressed, but not extremely. (I work in sales) I have 3 dogs and a cockateil which I’ve had for about 6 years. Nothing has changed in my home, so it’s hard to determine what the actual trigger is. All I know is that it comes and goes, only in the evenings and mostly on my legs high and low. Sometimes on my arms, but not so much and never my face, back and stomach or neck. I told my husband I was allergic to the house!! 🙁

    • Jan Modric

      GloriaW,

      even a tinny rash from an insect bite lasts for several hours. Most other rashes last for at least a day. Being “allergic to the house” is possible, if there is something what irritates you psychologically about the house…

  • GloriaW

    Jan,

    I’m sorry for yet another post…but let me ask you something. My oldest dog (she’s 13) was diagnosed diabetic about 2 months ago and was hospitalized. They bathed her and now she’s on insulin 2x a day. Do you think this can be linked to anything with me? Maybe the solution they washed her with, or would her being diabetic change anything? I hope this isn’t a ridiculous question, but I’m grasping at everything! I had a great day, no itch…worked, stopped at grocery store and as soon as I came in the back door, my legs started itching and the patches are beginning. Doctor appt. on Friday. Thanks for all your help…it is sooo appreciated! 🙂

    • Jan Modric

      GloriaW,

      it’s ok to ask…If the itch started only after the dog was bathed, and if the time of contact with the dog correlates with itch…well, an allergologist could say. You might want to ask which excat product was used in the bath. Insulin…can’t say it’s not related…all this is a matter of allergologic skin tests.

      A dermatologist could hardly help without seeing the rash. Dermatologic disorders do not likely disappear within an hour, but an allergic rash can…You might want to make some close photos of rash in a good light…

  • Deb

    I have suffered from dry itchy skin on my legs for the last two years. I scratch so hard and so often that I end up with sores and scabs that can get 5 inches and bigger around. I have been to doctor after doctor and no one can tell me what is causing it. I am about to go crazy. I am tired of itching and I have not found anything that helps it. I have tried just about every moisturizing cream, steroids, bath oils, cold showers and anything else the doctors have suggested and nothing works. I have even quit using soap in the shower and when I wash my clothes. My thyroid is enlarged, but the doctor says it is working fine. The dry skin and itching is spreading to my back and arms and I am afraid it will get as bad as my legs.

    • Jan Modric

      Deb,

      I guess an experienced dermatologist can give you a diagnosis and then treatment.

      You said, your skin is dry, now it is important, is it dry all over, including scalp, also do you have dry eyes, mouth, do you sweat less as you used to before this itch, are your armpits also dry, do you think you are dehydrated…In these cases, dry skin could be the cause of itch. Some systemic diseases can affect skin and cause dryness: Sjogren syndrome, systemic sclerosis…

      If your skin is drier on the itchy areas than on non-itchy areas, it is likely something is spreading over your skin. If there is no rash, maybe a skin biopsy may reveal the cause.

      Itch from allergies (foods, meds, washing powder, soap..) would more llikely fluctuate with the contact with allergens.

      Liver or kidney disorders would be reveald by blood and urine tests.

  • ally

    HELP!

    Limited to my right leg. Started out to be what I thought was a mosquito bite, but after itching has turned into a rash of little deep red spots under my skin. It’s not on a few spots on my right leg, and the bumps every inch apart or so have morphed into what has the same feel as a mosquito bite (large, smooth, skin colour) but like, bigger odd shaped versions. I know I am not getting bitten, I walked through some grass 3 days before it started and that’s all for really being outdoors and in plants. No new soaps or shampoos, I moisturize almost daily (not recently) so no dry skin. I am just so frustrated because the itching is INSANE! And the red rash under my skin looks disgusting. HELP!

    • Jan Modric

      ally,

      allergic reaction to “grases” is possible. Antihistamine pills may help in this case, and if not, a doctor may give you diagnosis and prescribe corticosteroid cream, if appropriate.

  • Kirky

    I have had itchy backs of calves mostly my right on and off for several years. i do have two hard scar like spots in the main itchy area. Some times I itch it so hard because it wont stop that I make it bleed. I try not to scratch because it makes it itch more. Often itches when sitting or when I try to go to sleep. Its not every day and some times go weeks without.

    • Jan Modric

      Kirky,

      a dermatologist can say if the scar-like spots are the cause of itch.

  • Deb

    Jan,

    One doctor said it was scabies and gave me meds: That didn’t help. He also suggest hair follicle infection, and those meds didn’t work. The dermatologist said it was a bad case of dry skin and suggested the bath oil and gave me a steroid cream to put on: Neither of which stopped it, although I still use both because it reduces the itch. The thyroid doctor said it could be due to my enlarged thyroid, but since the tests came back normal she then changed her mind and suggested menopause: But at 40 years old??? Without other symptoms???

    My skin is dry all over, but I do not have problems with the moisture in my eyes, mouth, or armpits. I sweat the same as before, but I have to get a lot hotter now before I start to sweat. I know I am a little dehydrated, but I don’t really like the taste of water, so I make meals that require water added to them. I also drink a glass of water with the meds I take every night and every morning.

    All areas seem to be just as dry as the other areas, it just bothers me more on my legs so I scratch at them more often. If I scratch on my arm I leave a line of dried skin that will not go away unless I use lotion, but if I scratch on my legs I don’t leave anything but red marks where I scratch so hard. I don’t know about my back since I can’t see it.

    Since there is not a specific area or visible bump the doctor will not do a skin biopsy. He wants something he can see before he will do something like that.

    I know allergies can develop at any time, but I have not changed anything or added anything new to my lifestyle. I actually hate change, so getting me to try something new takes a lot of persuasion.

    I have had a lot of blood and urine tests and everything comes back fine every time. The only problems were high cholesterol and anemia.

    This is driving me crazy. My legs have been bothering me for over two years and they are so scared up now that I refuse to wear skirts and shorts in public.

    • Jan Modric

      Deb,

      enlarged thyroid is not normal, and it does not necessary reflect in abnormal thyroid hormones levels in the blood. Enlarged thyroid, dry, itchy skin, high blood cholesterol, and anemia may all appear in hypothyroidism. I believe the cause of enlarged thyroid should be found. Several tests, including ultrasound and other imaging investigation exist.

      Long term steroid creams can permanently thin the skin, so discuss with your doctor about this.

  • freeflyer1234

    okay so i have scratched my legs till they bleed for the past two years or more now. its mainly on my lower legs and back off knees. no lotion or anything has helped so far and i’ve tryed a lot of different kinds. at times i get these red spots that look like welps on my legs and upper thighs. i scratch in my sleep and i hate it i wake up crying some nights.

    any adivce would be great.

    • Jan Modric

      freeflyer1234,

      you can search for online images showing hives or urticaria (allergic rash). Other than that, a dermatologist would need to check the rash – if it comes and goes, you can make some clear photos to help the doctor in diagnosis.

  • Jamie

    I was trimming my hedges and discarding the brush 2 weekends ago. I initially broke out in an itchy rash. There was no poison ivy around. Not only do I still itch, but the four “pimples” don’t seem to be going away? What is this?

    • Jan Modric

      Jamie,

      without knowing where are the pimples and how do they look (size, white center?) I can’t say much. It can be a bug bite, or staphylococcal folliculitis for example.

  • sami

    I’ve been depilating my legs since i was 16 yeras old. The first 5 years it was fine and since then, everytime i depilate my legs or any other part of my body I get itchy pores , my skin get a rush and the pores open for about 30 min (and the skin starts to be real itchy) and then it gets back to normal. I discovered that if I put cold water it kind of last long less, but it doesn’t stop it. I tried everything: wax and depilatory machines (I tried on very clean skin or even used products for before&after depilation). The only way this doesn’t happen is if i shave or use depilatory cream (because then I don’t remove the hairs from the root).
    I would like to understand why this happens to me and if theres anything i can do.

    • Jan Modric

      sami,

      a possible mechanism is cholinergic or physical urticaria, described above in the article. It’s possible that physical irritation of hair follicles results in bumpy hives. I recommend you to avoid the type of depilation that causes these symptoms.

  • yesenia

    I been having itchy legs since I was 14 years old now I’m 20yrs. I can’t stay that long standing up because my legs get this really big itch everywhere and than I start to get red patches with bumps. Than I relax and it all goes away. I really want to know what’s going on with me I’m tire of always scratching my legs. Oh and not only that sometimes I’m sleeping and the itch comes back and I can’t sleep right. So if anyone can help me out pls let me know.

    • Jan Modric

      yesenia,

      if red bumps and pathces disappear within few hours, this may be urticaria (hives) due to several possible reasons, one of them is stress. You can read above in the article about “cholinergic urticaria”.

  • frufruteddy

    i have had itchy legs for about 10 years now no rash but itch to the point where i bleed and then keep itching. changed laundry soap, had alergy testing, not stress, water, or exercise related. tried many different lotions creams anibiotics etc. if i go to the dermatologist i want to have something to suggest, its not exima. my doctor thinks i might have an alergy to my leg hair, still unsure about it. i have asthma no vericose veins, slight circulation issues with one of my legs because of broken hip. could kidney pain be one of the sources?

    • Jan Modric

      frufruteddy,

      a dermatologist will want to know:
      – can you identify any aggravating or relieving factors, is the itching constant, also at night?
      – asthma can be considered as a type of allergy, so leg itch can be also related to allergy…; again mentioning any possible triggering factors, like heat, would help
      – what kind of kidney pain you have. Chronic kidney failure can cause skin itch, but this would be not likely limited to the legs.
      – you can check this personal medical history questionnaire to recall eventual other symptoms.

  • snowfinite

    hi,

    recently i had a sudden onset of severe itching, but i’m not sure it’s hives (the raised spots are fairly big and flat). it began when i woke up yesterday around my knees, then “spread” to my feet and hands, and then my legs (which this afternoon erupted into raised red bumps along the thigh and buttocks). it has since subsided: the bumps are still there but receding, and are no longer red. but the itch has newly returned to my feet and hands again =/.

    i should also note that my fingers were slightly swollen yesterday during the itchiness, enough such that i couldn’t fit into rings i normally wear.

    i can’t think of anything i came into contact with tactilely or orally. i have not been bitten by any insects. the only possible aberration in diet is eating a lot of pistachios, although i have never been allergic to them in my life.

    any explanations?

    • Jan Modric

      snowfinite,

      nuts are a common allergy trigger, and allergy to nuts may appear at any time in life. Hives may be bumpy or patchy, and, if part of allergic reaction, may appear from few minutes to up to 72 hours after ingesting the triggering food. You may want to have allergic tests done.

  • sito

    Hello, I am a MPD patient with Essential Thrombocythemia. Around a month ago I had a rash with severe itching on my ankles, toes, and top of feet. Took Benedryl and it went away, then it returned 2 weeks later. The toes looks like measles rash, the ankles and top of feet get swollen and have irritation that looks like hives. Ankles swell and area itches like mad. This rash can be triggered by touch or by brushing it against something or just rubbing it. I do have digestive problems and had an abdominal ultrasound, results will be discussed tomorrow. Heat will also trigger the rash……….any ideas? Thanks Sito

    • Jan Modric

      Sito,

      your rash seems to be a cholinergic or physical urticaria (read above in the article). It occurs in other people with ET and can be a transitional problem. You can search online for: essential throbocythemia hives (or itch). An experienced doctor (hematologist) can say what to do.

  • Ian

    10 days ago after a visit up a mountain
    in Northern Spain I developed itching to
    my legs, bumps appeared like mosquito bites, wife was not affected.I did walk
    off the path through bushes and am now
    wondering if still very itchy legs are some reaction to plants.The 40 or so bumps are only on legs. Help had no sleep

    • Jan Modric

      Ian,

      it sounds either like eczema or bug bites. In both cases, rash may heal on its own in..some time…and if not, a dermatologist can give a correct diagnosis.

  • brian m

    I have this itch on my right shin, this does not always happen, I was wondering if you could shed some light on this for me. Could stress cause this perhaps ? Thanks in advance.

    • Jan Modric

      brian m,

      itch in stress is usually accompanied by a bumpy or patchy rash – hives, or, when there is nor rash, itch tends to be more symmetrical. You would need to say how old are you, what is your work, physical activity, do you smoke, when did the itch start, how long does it last when it appears, can you identify any triggering factor, are you in contact with some substances or plants, is there any rash or scaling.

      In eczema and fungal infection there would be a rash.

      Vascular problems could cause itch with/out rash.

  • maggie23

    My lower legs itch after showers and swimming. The only thing that helps is putting oil onto my legs before I shower. Any ideas?

    • Jan Modric

      maggie23,

      if oil helps, the problem might be dry skin.

  • Bill

    I have had the same problem for about 9 months.
    I found that an antihistamine tablet taken at night so it doesn’t make you drowsy the next day stopped it after a couple of days.
    My problem was definitely an allergic reaction, to what I have no idea but at least I can stop it now.
    Good Luck
    Bill

  • kharoos

    hi,

    have itchy legs for about 2 weeks now.It started with itching on my feets i consulted it with my doctor he said it is not allergy or any skin disease.he gave me an ointment.i used it but now my legs are badly itching.there is no rash or even any marks to indicate the irritation,its just start itching.
    when I rub in vigorously on the spot its bleed.

    • Jan Modric

      kharoos,

      to try to help you I would need to now: is the itch only on the bottom of the feet, is it on bothe feet, is it triggered or relieved by something, is it also at night?

  • Janice

    I seriously need help…
    1) after my period , which involves 8days consecutively wearing pads, when it ended, my inner thighs started to itch. It had alot of bums and was dry. I scratched it and it started bleeding. It constitutes of many many bums forming a big bum. When i squeeze it , some drops of fluid comes out. HELP. thanks to it i have difficulty walking without being in pain.
    2) I have some sort of crocodile skin thing cause by friction i guess . It isn’t an itch but i was hoping comeone could help me. Basically , my inner thighs would rub against each other and it starts to feel hot and felt like my skin is torn and it forms neat rows of bums … thanks ~

  • Janice

    thanks , will check them out (:

  • Manna Eloisa

    Hello, can you please help me. My feet and hands are so itchy. I can’t even sleep…. No swelling, no bumps….. It is so itchy!!!! It started yesterday. ANy medications?????

    I’m taking propanolol and Methimazole bec. I have Hyperthyroidism

    • Jan Modric

      Manna Eloisa,

      hyperthyroidism itself can cause itch, and medications can trigger allergic reaction. I recommend you to speak with your endocrinologist. Benadryl may help to reduce itch.

  • Shirls

    Hi there,
    I have been walking and a little bit of running for almost 3 months now. On days I walk many miles (7-10) my feet swell and hurt. Yesterday, after my 10 mile walk, came home, took a shower and the tops of my feet broke out into an intense, burning, itching rash. It seemed like hives. Today now, there are red blotchy patches on top of my feet where the rash was, but not swollen. It seems to be going away, and it doesn’t itch. What is this and do you know what triggered it? Thanks. Shirls

    • Jan Modric

      Shirls,

      One possible cause is cholinergic or physical urticaraia (read above in the article). When it happens again, you can make a picture of it, if possible, and show it to an allergologist who can perform appropriate tests. If you were wearing shorts during running, it could be also an allergic reaction to some plants…

  • ellisthomas

    I usually get itchy legs after i’ve had a bath or shower and I’ve put that down to the hot water, but more frequently my legs are awful when I get into bed at night. I’ve tried everything, wearing shorts, wearing long trousers, changing my bedding, nothing works. After reading this page, I’ll take an antihystamine before I go to bed and see if this works.. has anyone had the same problem?

  • adrian

    mi novia tiene comezon y hormigueo en brazos y pies que es eso no se como0 ayudarla plis respondan plisssssssssssssssss

    • Jan Modric

      adrian,

      I recommend your girflend to visit her personal doctor, who can determine is it a neurological disorder, intestinal parasites, allergy…or other disorder.

  • Jo

    I’ve been suffering from itchy lower legs recently. This seems to be worse first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
    Random areas of my lower legs will feel itchy, and if I scratch them, I can’t seem to stop! The itching is typically accompanied with individual small bumps on the skin and scratching seems to bring up more bumps. I don’t have this on any other areas of my body.
    I thought it may be a reaction to a new self tan moisturiser I’ve been using but I stopped using that a couple of weeks ago and my problems persist. The only other thing I can think of that I have been doing to my lower legs is epilate, so could it be linked to hair regrowth? Can anyone help, this is driving me mad?!

    • Jan Modric

      Jo,

      bumps appearing during scratching speak for an allergy…It could be a physical allergy due to irritation from depilation or chemical allergy – a reaction to certain substance. Stopping using suspected products, stopping scratching and antihistamine pills may be a temporary solution. If this does not help, an allergologist can perform appropriate tests.

  • arwright

    pleas help me! I have had two major episodes of itchy legs.. One a couple years ago while i lived in DC. out of no where my legs would itch sooo bad, everytime i would lay down to go to sleep or when i would wake up i would itch.. it feels like sharp little pricks a long with the itching. i have NO RASH!! there is NOTHING on my skin, i can’t see a single thing.. I moved away from DC and for a year and a half i had no problems. I am no located in Richmond VA and its back.. for the last 9 months i have been suffering. This time it was triggered by taking a shower.. I would get out and i would go crazy the itching was soooo bad!! STILL NOOOOOO RASH! i do take anthestimines before and only sometimes that does the job! Now it coems from showers and sometimes just randomly during the day! So with NO RASH.. and constant itching like i have bugs all over me biting me.. what could this be! what in the world could i be allergic to?

    • Jan Modric

      arwright,

      one possibility is an allergy to heat or maybe only to hot water. An allergy to heat belongs to physical allergies, which include allergy to vibration, cold, physical pressure and such. Such an allergy can (not necessary) be related to psychological stress, a combination of a certain medication + heat, or certain health (blood, vessels..) disorder + heat. If you can’t identify a trigger, you can ask an allergologist. Rash does not always appear in allergies.

  • Lauren4004

    My legs have been itchy for over a year now. I’ve switched soaps, lotions, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, razors, shaving cream, bought different pants and tried not shaving for a week or two.. nothing helps. I’ve tried Eucerin, St. Ives and Aveeno and hydrocortizone over the counter itch relief creams, and they didn’t do anything. I saw my dermatologist and he suggested folliculitis and gave me an acne cream and itch lotion to use on them for a few weeks, but that didn’t help. Judging by the pictures I saw on here, it doesn’t really look like it. Sometimes I don’t even have any bumps or irritation, just an itch (but after itching so much I’ll get bumps and they’ll bleed from vigorous scratching.) I wake myself up at night itching so much.. its ALL the time, not just winter or summer or after a shower or shaving. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

    • Jan Modric

      Lauren4004,

      do you take allergy pills because of this leg itch or from some other reason? If it is because of legs, what happens if you don’t take antihistamine pills – itch becomes worse? You mention some sort of rash. In allergy rash lasts for minutes to hours, and in folliculitis and practically any other disorder it lasts for few days at least. If it is folliculitis, not every cream will help. Samples taken from the rash (by a dermatologist) and sent to the lab can reveal an exact subtype of staph bacteria (if this is the cause). If rash appears and disappears within a day, it’s probably an allergy (food allergy, physical urticaria – read in the article…).

  • Lauren4004

    Oh, and I take an allergy pill daily.. so if it was an allergy I think that would help

  • Lauren4004

    I take the allergy pills for my pets, not for my legs. The itching is off and on all day, every day, for the past year. Once the bumps appear, they’re there until they fully heal.. they don’t just come and go like hives.

  • Maria

    I have an itchy rash on my legs and i need to shave or nair my legs for school tomorrow but the rash will itch more and in p.e it will be embarrising. The cause MAY be by stress. Write back soon please

    • Jan Modric

      Maria,

      if the rash is constant, I mean, it does not appear and disappear every few ours, it can be an infection. I strongly advice you to NOT shave your legs, since the eventual infection can spread. See a dermatologist to get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

  • my

    i have pruritus whenever it’s hot..but it sometimes itch even when i’m in an airconditioned room….i can’t tell if it’s food allergy, skin sensitivity or what..can you help me with this…

    • Jan Modric

      my,

      red bumpy or patchy rash (hives) appearing and disappearing within hours would speak for an allergy. Rash does not always occur in allergy, though. Itch relief after taking an antihistamin pill, like Benadryl, would also speak for an allergy. Itch can appear from few minutes to about 72 hours after ingesting or contact with an allergen. Certain food, medication, cloth, soap, ointment…could trigger an allergic reaction. If you can’t find the cause, you may visit an allergologist, who can perform skin tests.

  • sunshine

    I have a general itch all over (legs, arms, back, hands, feet) but the focus of where the itch usually is and is pretty persistent (off and on) is my lower legs. I literally have no idea what is causing it. I came from Canada to the States for the summer, and have been here since early may. I got a couple bites I guess one night last month there were 2 or 3 of them in one cluster on the side/back of my leg. It healed and I’m not sure if it’s relevant but after that I noticed my legs became itchier than usual. Horrible itch that I can’t stop scratching and I have made my legs bleed a little bit by scratching some bumps. I have been going through a lot of emotional and mental stress since April, and I also have razor bumps and hair follicles in some of those bumps. But I have also had scabs and bumps that have reminded me of white hives. I’m 22 and female so I don’t know if my gender or age may have anything to do with it. But I’m going crazy with the itching. anyone know what might be wrong and what the hell I can do to stop it? I have been using Cortizone to try to relieve the itch, and I have also been trying to moisturize my legs to see if that helps.

    • Jan Modric

      sunshine,

      don’t use Cortisone long term, since it may cause permanent thinning of the skin. If you shave your legs, stop it completely, also don’t use any depilating cream. Bumps with white heads may be staphylococcal folliculitis; OTC antibacterial creams containing mupirocin are available. If it is an allergy, antihistamine pills (non-sedating ones also exist) would likely relieve the itch. Stress may be one cause of hives, but think about other possible causes, like cloths or soap.

  • Alexa

    Hello, My legs have been itching me like crazy! This has never happened to me before. I’m 17 years old and about a year ago my legs started to randomly itch. I have noticed that, when itching, my skin looks really dry and I can see the white dead skin cells coming off! It’s only on my lower legs too! This itching happens when I get out of the shower, just in regular clothes, or when I’m in bed sleeping and can itch for about an hour. I dont know if it is from the heat of the shower or maybe just my bed? I did get a bad sunburn on them a while ago which could be the cause. I really don’t know though. Can anyone help?

    • Jan Modric

      Alexa,

      if there is any visible change on the skin (like dead cells), a dermatologist may give you a diagnosis. OTC antihistamine pills taken before the shower may help, but this is not a permanent solution.

  • younguy23

    ABout 2 to 3 weeks ago my inner thigh started itching like crazy. I checked it out and saw a few lil red bumps. I thought it was just a normal rash and after a while it would go away. But it didnt. It got worse…got like the picture 2, kinda red ish- brown ish reash the same spot as the picture 2 and also on my testicle, but it kept to my right side. I started using neosporin but didnt see much results so i switched to cortizone 10. Im not sure if it is working or not, but it did go to the other side, my left side. it itches a lot i try not to itch cause when it started on the right side i actually got an open sore from itching and i think from my underwear also, cause i wear briefs sometimes . Anyway, i thought it could have been syphilis, now im not so sure. Im confused and im a lil hypochondriac.

    • Jan Modric

      youngguy23,

      picture 2 shows jock itch, which is a fungal infection. OTC ointments and presctribed oral medicatione exist.

  • caitlinbellabella

    Hey I HOPE you answer me because I have no insurance and can not afford to go to the doctor for this unless it is serious. Ever since I can remember, (I am 17 now) when I walk and its cold, not even super cold like below 60 degrees, my legs just go craaaazy itching after about oh maybe 15, 20 minutes. Mainly my thighs down to my knee area. Afterward it feels slightly bruised in some places, which I do not know if thats from itching it so hard or what because I always HAVE to itch it. I do not itch till it bleeds or anything it usually goes away after ten minutes, getting at its worst right when I go inside somewhere warm. Or just like when I go to the beach (I live in oregon so the coast here is always freezing cold and stormy it rarely gets above 60 degrees) sometimes if its sunny anyways I will stick my feet in the cold water, and once I get to the hot sand my feet do the same thing. Just this horrible itching. As with my legs, it goes away too after about ten minutes. Help?

    • Jan Modric

      caitlinbellabella,

      have you ever noticed any rash, like pinkish bumps or patches (hives)? One possible explanation is some sort of allergic reaction to cold/heat ad the other is a change in a blood flow in the capillaries under the skin triggered by cold/heat. Some people reported that rinsing the skin with a cold water has helped, and some said that taking antihistamines, like Claritin has prevented itch.

  • Etinchen

    Hi Jan,

    Trust you are doing well,

    My girlfriend has itching thighs for close to 3 months, it comes and goes. However when it comes it feels like the itching sensation is like bugs eating away. There are NO visible signs of a rash or any discoloration or bumps. It typically happens mornings and after showers in the everning. She has seen the dermatologist and they only gave her hydrocortisone and doxepin which kworks just ok. She has taken Benadrayl which works better however she doesnt want to depend on over the counter. The dermatologist says it might be nerve damage because nothing is visible.

    My gf also has a jack terrior for 12 years however recently this occured. Plus even when I’m around her because I have hair on my legs she gets especially itching on her thighs, when we are in bed.

    Any recommendations?

    Thanks Jan,

    • Jan Modric

      Etinchen,

      hydrocortisone and Benadryl may help in allergies; doxepin is a tricyclic antidepressant. Now, I don’t know, which of these has actually helped. I agree, staying on these meds for prolonged periods is not a good idea.

      Allergic response, even to foods, may be without any visible change on the skin. Possible triggers include one or more of the following: heat (morning, shower), sweat, physical stress from simple touch to rubbing the skin, psychological stress and other things mentioned above in the article under “cholinergic” or “physical urticaria”. Again, an itch could be the only symptoms.

      She can make some experiments: does the itch appear after cold or lukewarm shower? Does it appear if she takes Benadryl an hour before the shower? Is there more itch if she’s anxious or stressed? She can think about causes of eventual stress and try to temporarily avoid them , if possible, to see if it helps.

      I’m not sure if in a neurological damage symptoms would be triggered only by certain specific events, and not others. Neurological damage typically causes tingling, numbness, burning or pain, but not likely itch. Itch is a sensation that triggers the need to scratch, and there ‘s no need to scratch in most neurological disorders.

  • caitlinbellabella

    Nope, no rash, I am not sure it may not even get red if it was not for me itching it, but I would not know. I will definitely try rinsing with cold water though. And maybe some claratin.

  • Roxie

    I have diabetes type 2 and lupus (discoid)and have poor circulation in lower left leg due to bad knee surgery years ago. I am been suffering with a severe red rash for a long time. It is just above the inside of my left ankle and half way up my lower leg. Only on the inside of the lower leg. It is itchy, very painful, hot and the skin feels tight. It looks gravitational eczema (from a picture I saw). It feels like lots of little ants crawling all over that area biting. The center of this is numb so when I scratch, I can not feel it so I end up tearing the skin. My lower leg does swell alot. I have not changed washing detergent, bath soap or shamboo.
    I live in Florida so it is hot here. If my leg gets wet for whatever reason (showering, sweat, rain), it really itches. I have had unna boots and dry bandages. At this point, I can’t even wear long pants as I can not stand to have anything touching that area. I do get 1cc triacymalone and 1cc depomedrol injections. This helps for a while and then it starts all over again. Can you help?

    • Jan Modric

      Roxie,

      a dermatologist should give you an exact diagnosis. It can be an inflammation, infection, the problem with circulation or with nerves, or eczema, or lupus…The drugs you’ve mentioned speak for an inflammation rather than stasis eczema, though.

  • Sarah S

    Hello,
    I get these red patches on my legs about this time the year almost every year (for the past three years)… they start very red and then they are there for a while and gradually seems like they open up (a circle opening up which turns to my regular skin color in the middle) and the outer part (which is the red part) opens up and as it gets bigger it disappears. They are not itchy, not dry, not bumpy… nothing is really bothering me about them excpet for the way they look! I have light kin and it really stands out when I have red patches on my legs.
    The patch itself is about a finger tip size… it looks like it’s a solid patch but it’s more like a million pencil-tip red spots all in one place.
    I showed it to a doctor 3 years ago and he said it’ll go away by itself it’s just some type of seasonal allergy… but it really is starting to bother me and I don’t know what to do to make it go away 🙁

    Thank you!

    • Jan Modric

      Sarah,

      My first thought was erythema migrans caused by a bacteria Borrelia contracted by a tic bite (images). A small red circular discoloration without other surface changes or itch appears anywhere on the skin, and grows as a ring, leaving the normal skin inside and disappears in few weeks. It is an infectologist who can (on the basis of blood tests) give a diagnosis of borreliosis (Lyme disease). In theory you can get repeated infections, since immunity that develops is relatively weak and short-lived. November is not quite a typical month to get Borrelia, but it’s not impossible.

      I can’t exclude allergic rash (eczema), but these rashes often itch and have surface changes, like flaking or bumps.

  • Georgia c

    Hi, I have been suffering from itchy legs for over a month. Mainly my thighs but now my stomach and hands are starting to itch. There is no obvious rash, sometimes i’ll see very small raised bumps appear.
    I thought it could be a shower gel I was using or washing powder so I changed them, but that’s not worked. I now think it has something to do with where I’m sleeping which is on my sisters bedroom floor with lots of duvets. It seems to get predominantly worse when I lie down there and I can’t sleep due to itching everywhere.

    • Jan Modric

      Georgia c,

      small bumps (that probably disappear within a day?) and itch related to a certain sleeping place or duvets may speak for an allergic reaction to some fabric or mites…

  • itchyinusa

    I have been to doctors and one said scabies and then another said fleas and another said dermatitis.It is beyond annoying… It comes and goes. I will get intense itching and then it will stop. It itches so bad it stings. It’s in patches. Some are small red dots and some are in patches and look irritated.

    • Jan Modric

      itchynusa,

      it is a dermatologist who can give you a diagnosis. Scabies less likely causes patchy rashes. Pinkish red bumps and patches with smooth surfaces would speak for an allergy. Rough or scaly rash surface more likely speaks for dermatitis.

  • joe

    i do have hairy thighs nd legs but a certain time comes and i lost hairs in my thighs and upper legs due course of constant itching. am always ashamed to expose them and i dont know how they came.i have been in great pain over this. what do i do now to recover my loss of hairs as the itching comes once a while……………..any advice pls

    • Jan Modric

      joe,

      does any rash appear along with loss of hair?

  • paul

    I have a similar feeling for years my foot has been itching but now it’s unbearable, its affecting everything i do. at first i thought i thought it had something to do with the heat but after i took a shower, it came in full force. i wear different socks, shoes and underwears. any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Jan Modric

      paul,

      itching occurring only after exposure to heat or hot shower may speak for a “cholinergic urticaia” (an allergologist can judge about this), but a doctor wuld need to exclude other possible causes, like certain vessel or nerve disorders in the foot.

  • arooba

    hi,
    i want to ask that.. ihave itching on my legs…. and i feel very bad in front of my friends and co leaguue.. because of itching. nd i have also scars of itching on my legs now… what should i do??

    • Jan Modric

      arooba,

      without describing any rash and revealing any circumstances, I can’t say what could be the cause.

  • linkly

    My legs have this really bad itch sometimes now since the last 3 and I’m 16 years old. I’ve been going to different websites to figure out what it is. I get small red bumps and a few scaly areas on my legs only. At school I don’t itch normally, but the itching becomes bad when I’m trying to sleep or when I’m home doing things. I have shingles so could this be linked with it? (shingles is only on my arms and doesn’t cause me pain) I don’t really have standing problems nor horrible itching after showers. And I have no been sweating. What could this be?

    • Jan Modric

      linkly,

      shingles can affect any part of the skin, and can affect both arms and legs at the same time, but unless you got this diagnosis from a doctor, I can’t say if you have shingles or not. Another common cause of itchy bumps is folliculitis – a bacterial infection of the hair follicles, so bumps develop around the pores from which hair come out. In this case the rash would be there all the time. Bumpy hives are caused by allergic reaction to food or clothes, for example. In this case, rash would appear and disappear within hours. I recommend you to visit a dermatologist.

      • John Nagle

        i have inching allover dont know what it is i cant get to sleep with it

  • giggles18r

    I occasionally get small bumps on my thighs that remind me of bug bites, they itch horribly! No rash just the itchy bumps.

    • Jan Modric

      giggles18r,

      if bumps disappear within few hours, they are probably from some kind of allergy, which includes allergy to physical stimuli, like temperature change, hot water, physical pressure and the like. Such bumps can also occur during a severe emotional stress. An antihistamine pill, like Benadryl, taken before expected bumps occurrence that would prevent bumps appearance, would speak for an allergy.

  • giggles18r

    I’m 26 and the bumps appear on the outside of my thighs. I dont have allergies that I know of any I wash my sheets regularly and havent changed detergents.

  • giggles18r

    thanks Jan! The bumps usually last a few days, 3-6 on average, and when I first started to get them I did first a topical creme, calamine lotion, which helped VERY temporarily, and the next time I took a Benadryl which I didnt even notice it helping…

  • STB

    I have found that if you drink bottled water, the itchiness and stinging goes away…

  • amie

    After when i would shave my legs they would get really itchy,then i thought maybe i shouldnt shave so i stopped and my legs would still be itchy..it kept going on for a few months.Now after when i get out of the shower/bath my legs would be really itchy and sometimes my arms too, can anyone help me please?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Amie

      You may have a mild case of folliculitis after shaving and it is therefore important to use a lubricant when shaving and sterilize the area properly after shaving. Always use a new sterile razor and disposables may be the better option. The itch you are now experiencing could be related to contact dermatitis that is often related to soaps. Apart from the itching, you may notice some redness of the skin. This is just one possibility and could be linked to various other problems including skin diseases, poor circulation and nutrient deficiencies. You should speak to your doctor about it and possibly follow up with a dermatologist.

  • Vidya

    Hi

    I have terrible itch allover my legs. I use mild soap, use moisturizer after shower etc. but still it’s worse in the evening. I am taking a tablet HCL based daily. but nothing is helping me. I’m in an air conditioned room during office hours. Pl help!

    • Michael Durham

      70%. Isopropyl. Rubbing. Alcohol. It’ll wipe out whatever is causing the itch…and believe me, when applied to the offending area in question, that stinging pain feels so incredibly good.

      • Hi Michael. Thank you for your input. Rubbing alcohol may give momentary relief for some people but it also causes drying of the skin. This dryness can further exacerbate itching.

        • Michael Durham

          I’ve never had a problem with that. I never applied it to excess. But whatever it was that caused the itch, the 70% isopropyl wiped it out.

          Everything in moderation.

          • Hi Michael. That is true. Moderation is the key. However, if you have used it just once off or a few times then it may not cause much drying. The user above seems to be suffering with chronic itching and using it daily in her case would very likely lead to drying of the skin. Thank you again for your advice.

    • keepitreal

      Have you ever tried taking a vitamin B supplement. I swear by that. I have been taking a complex B for years. Every now & then I will run out of it & if I don’t replace it right away sure enough the itchiness comes back…usually in my legs first. Of course this is just a suggestion to try. Check with a knowledgeable health food expert for their recommendation.

      • Hi Keepitreal. Thank you for your input. Yes, a deficiency of certain B-vitamins can cause a range of symptoms as mentioned by the user above.

  • Manda

    I am a mail carrier and after a day of working outside in the cold, I get these itchy bumps on my thighs that resemble mosquito bites. They do go away after a while of warming up at home. What could they be?? It only happens in the cold weather.

  • Jo

    I posted a message here a while back about very itchy lower legs accompanied by small red or skin coloured spots.
    I now think it is directly linked to hair regrowth, as I only seem to have these itchy episodes a couple of weeks after epilating, when the hair on my lower legs starts to regrow. If I let the hair grow out or just after I have epilated there is no itching at all.
    Before I started epilating, I used to shave my legs, and don’t recall any itching like this.
    Is it possible that regrowing hair could cause this itching as it pushes up through the skin?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jo

      Yes, it is possible that the growing hair can cause the itching. This is a common phenomenon associated with hair removal. If the rash is prominent or pustular, there is also the possibility of folliculitis.

  • Katie McKee

    Hi, I have noticed lately that the top of my thighs itch terribly when I’m sitting at work or driving. I’ve even broken capillaries from scratching and ‘pinching’ my skin to make it stop. I wear the same clothes and use the same detergent I always have. Years ago I had itchy ankles for a while but that went away. I’ve tried shaving, not shaving, different lotions, etc. but nothing seems to help. Any ideas? Thank you!

  • ms.itchy

    Ive had this issue for several years. And dread workouts because of thr itchyness only. I want to run, it helps me keep stress down. But the itcy body, felt like poor circulation, like getting on a massage chair too long.. an gradually got itchier by the minute. Im seeing a MD now who is checking my veins. Vein disease is a real cause of these symptoms. Blood cant move about the way it should. This will need laser surgery. Not painfull, in office visit. I’ve had utlra sounds of the veins, an low an behold. Vein diesease. Hope this helps.

  • Joyce

    Hi. I have urticaria few years back and it took a year to heal. Since then, my skin starts to have problem, especially my legs. When I’m sitting down at the computer chair or lying on the bed, both of my legs will start to itch and I would scratch it real hard. Problem is the skin is so thin that after few scratching, the skin broke and then after it is heal, it it leaves a dark spot on my legs. Now that my legs are full of spots because it doesn’t seems to heal. I am wondering why does it it feels so itch when there’s no evident of irritants. It is frustrating because my legs are getting ugly with those spots. Is there anyone out there facing same problem as me? I hope someone can help me. Thank you’

    • Hi Joyce. Firstly urticaria can last for any period of time from a few days or weeks to months and sometimes longer. However, most people who experience urticaria have repeat episodes in the future and it may not always be as intense as you had experienced it for the past year.

      Secondly, irritants are not always obvious. You may think that there are no irritants in the area but there could be. Remember that in urticaria it is not common for an exact irritant to be identified as is the case with allergies. If you are experiencing an ongoing problem then you may need to be on chronic medication like antihistamines.

      You should see dermatologist and tell him/her that the problem is ongoing. Do not be distracted by the severe symptoms you had in uriticaria. Even though your symptoms are much milder than what it may have been during urticaria, this does not necessarily mean that the problem has resolved.

  • Barbara

    Almost 10 years ago I had a severe reaction to dust mites that I scratched on my lower legs. I had a rash that looked like chicken pox spread all over my body (burning and itchy). Finally after weeks it subsided but hair never regrew on lower legs. Both legs now have red itchy sometimes burning and swelling??

    • Hi Barbara. Your current symptoms are not necessarily related to what occurred 10 years ago. It may be continuing since then although not as intense as the initial episode a decade ago. Or it could be due to an entirely different condition. While an allergic reaction can cause burning and swelling, the concern here is that you may have an infection which needs prompt treatment. It is difficult to say for sure on an online platform but see your doctor who will then advise you further.

  • Rika

    Hi, my feet feels itchy and i dont see any swolens on my feet but my feet have white powdery powder on it . I had tried washing my legs each day but my feet still have powder on it .I’m freaking out thinking that its a sign of leg odor or other disease .Please leave as much ideas u could give ,Thank you.

    • Hi Rika. Dry skin is one possibility but this could also be a fungal infection of the feet. It is also known as athlete’s foot and is a common foot infection. Itching, peeling skin (sometimes seen as white powdery residue) and a ring-like rash are some of the symptoms of athlete’s foot. Get it checked by a doctor. If it is athlete’s foot then it can be easily treated.

  • angela

    i have noticed that my legs itch so bad after work, could be because my work have change from been sitting to be working standing for 8 hours? it is so uncomfortable, will this be stress?

    • Hi Angela. Standing for long hours could be responsible. The itching may be associated with early stages of blood circulation disorders in the legs. Standing is known to cause these types of conditions. Also take note of swelling, coldness and discoloration of the skin on the legs. These symptoms would further support the possible diagnosis of circulatory disorders in the leg, particularly a problem with the veins. One would expect the legs to ache though after standing for so long. Speak to your doctor and have it assessed further. Investigations like a doppler ultrasound can be useful in identifying circulatory disturbances.

  • Sarah

    Hi!
    So for school I have to take a gym class. Lately in gym, it seems that when I have to run for more than about a quarter of a mile, I develop rashes on my thighs. Today I had to run a mile, pretty soon my legs began itching. I pulled my shorts up a bit to see that I’d, once again, developed large, red patches on my thighs that soon covered the entirety of both of my thighs. Scratching them caused pain, and when we went inside the gym, I sat down, and noticed that the rash seemed to be radiating heat almost. This has happened now around two or three times. It can’t be my detergent, since I use it for all of my clothes and never get rashes elsewhere, and I doubt it’s my shorts themselves, since I only get the rash from running. Am I having an allergic reaction? Is it safe to continue running for long periods?

    • Hi Sarah. It sound like this may be hives. Sometimes hives (urticaria) is triggered by certain activities although it may not be so much the physical exertion but the sweating that arises with physical activity. You may want to read up more on cholinergic urticaria. Of course this is just one possibility and it is difficult to say for sure through an online platform. It is advisable that you consult with a doctor.

  • KeKeBrown

    When I stand for a short period of time less than 2 minutes, my lower legs from about the top of my feet to mid lower leg itch and tingle uncontrollably. I’m 32, and this has been a reoccurring problem for about the last 5 years or so and I can’t figure it out. I have asked doctors and they seem to have no answer. I did find out this year that I have hyperthyroidism. Could this be the cause? If so, why, and if not what could it be? Looking forward to a reply. Thanks so much!

    • Hi KeKeBrown. While hyperthyroidism may present with symptoms like itchy skin, your itching seems to be triggered specifically bu the action of standing and is isolated to the lower leg/feet. Two other possibilities that could account for it is a circulatory problem in the lower leg, or possibly nerve root compression which involves the lower leg.Disturbances in blood flow can cause itching as can irritation of the nerves. However, you should speak to your doctor again and possibly get a referral to a specialist physician who may be in a better position to isolate other causes.

  • Angela

    I have all over leg itching. I used to think I only got it when I had an uti or bv infection but now M6 husband has itchy legs too. Help.

    • Hi Angela. There are many possible causes of leg itching but if both you and your husband are experiencing it then it is most likely due to a common factor within the home. It could anywhere but the bed is a common site for triggers. You may want to look at bed bugs for a start. However, this itching could also be due to allergies and there may be a common allergen that both you and your husband are sensitive to. It would be advisable that both of you consult with the same doctor.

  • jessica

    I am itchy all over small nude/pink bumps have formed. I don’t know why but I drank about 4 days ago then the next morning i felt fine so i excersised.

    I started to notice the bumps about 2 days ago. And it started with my next then moved to my arms.
    Now it is all over my upper back stomach legs arms and neck.
    I don’t want it to spread to my face help me!

  • disqus_I6sbh6DGPm

    I finished chemo therapy at the end of December. A side effect of taxol that I had is neuropathy, which I am Experiencing In feet and lower legs and itchiness in lower legs and thighs. I am also on tamoxifen. I find my legs itchy and veins are varicosing. I have the muscle and joint pain too.

  • i Have a super bad itch after shaving the back of my thighs to the point that i break my nails scratching and it looks like a badger attacked my legs help please

  • jessika houghton

    I’m having am issues with my legs even time I get in bed my legs itch like no other I’m a waitress and I’m on my feet all day so when I get home and sit down the itching start up. It drives my fiance crazy I itch so bad to the point where it starts to bleed and I can’t fall asleep what can I do to help this it’s bugging me?!?!?!?

    • Hi Jessika. There are many possible cause for itching legs especially once in bed. Sometimes it may related to allergies with triggers being localized to the mattress or bedroom, for example house dust mite. However, the other possibility could be a circulatory disturbance which is more likely to occur in people who are on their feet all the day. The change in position once lying flat can alter the circulation and itching may be one of the symptoms that then arises. It would be advisable that you speak to a doctor.

    • Kevin Eames

      Hi Jessika what was your problem in the end, i think i have the same Kevin Eames

      • Cease

        I found that my problem was cause by exercising, walking, running and riding bike in clothing that caused friction on my skin and irritation as a result. The itch occurred during the evening and at bed time. Often a stinging sensation followed by itching. Make sure you have proper clothing during your shift that does not rub against your skin and use moisturizing lotions. . Good luck.

        • Hi Cease. Thank you for the practical advice. Friction can indeed cause irritation of the skin which may present with sensations like burning, stinging, itching and pain. The appropriate clothing can indeed make a different in these cases. Fortunately you managed to identify the problem on your own as well as both treat and manage it without any medication.

  • A.Ram Reddy

    Hi

    For about 6-7 years in every summer atleast 2 months I suffer from itching on my lower legs accompanied by small red coloured spots. I use soap. My father had the same problem. This problem arises only in summer season. Pl.advice

    • Hi ARam. There are many possible causes but given that this is more common in summer, it is most likely due to environmental or climatic factors. Anything from grass and other plants, certain bugs or even the heat may be the problem. It is difficult to say through an online platform. A doctor would need to examine the spots and then reach a diagnosis.

      • A.Ram Reddy

        Dear Sir,
        Thank you very much for the suggestion
        RamReddy

  • Axel

    Ah, so that’s why my legs it upon standing. I thought it was something to do with my blood, but infact it’s just my Keratosis Pilaris. Which is odd because it’s very mild on my legs :’)

  • christopher everett

    Hi. I hope this post helps fellow suffer`s. I have like many others suffered from itchy legs for many years. Looking up this problem on the net reveals that there are many causes which does not help when you are being driven mad. I have been able (at last) to stop this cursed annoyance. I have found in my case heat makes the problem far worse ie:- taking a bath etc. So a few weeks ago I thought I would try and experiment by putting up with cold legs. Rolling up my trousers while watching TV, Letting my legs be uncovered in bed. These two things gave me great relief. It did not cure my problem but it was far less intense and I was able to sleep. On awaking with cold limbs I covered up and in a short time I could feel the cursed itching returning. Uncovering again it subsided. Although I could feel the underlying problem remained at least I got relief albeit with cold legs. Two days ago my good lady needed some embrocation rubbed on her shoulder. She had some cream previously prescribed by her doctor. After her treatment I was left with a pair of very smelly hands. I rubbed them on my legs. No more itching. I put more on the next day. The itching has gone. No slight tingle. I am luving it. Fingers crossed it stays gone. Like I said at the beginning there are all sorts of reasons for this ailment and so with this in mind it may not work for you. The cream is called “Etoflam” It contains “5%Etofenamate amongst other stuff and is apparently a anti inflammatory treatment. Good Luck.

  • Harley

    Hi I’m Harley, I’m 15 and I’ve suffered from skin problems since I was very very young I’m allergic to insects (only when bitten) and that’s the main cause of irritation, like if I get bit by a mosquito the bite will swell and typically with mosquito bites on me it forms a knot kinda like a small mound about the size of a quarter underneath the bite and the bit istself is a small odd shaped welp, I may resist the erg to scratch but when I sleep I scratch no matter what there’s no way of stopping it I scratch and scratch and then I end up with big soars, missing patches of skin (few layers not like a chunk lol) so I’m left with raw stinging legs and big soars that won’t heal bc of my scratching. I have scars starting from the tops of my feet all the way up to the top of my thighs. Try growing up with that and trying to fit in being a girl wearing shorts and dresses or even shoes that show your feet it’s hard. I’m a teen now and it’s awful having to wear shorts in the Texas summer or a swim suit I get judged and weird looks. I’ve been to my doctor I’ve taken many many pills a day (only for a couple years) I’ve been diagnosed with many psychological problems and had been on medicine for that hoping that it would fix my skin problems. But the insects aren’t the only problem. I have itch flare-ups, they tend to happen in the evening trying to go to sleep or after a shower or just lounging around in my bed, It could be the dead of winter freezing cold inside and out so I’ll be like under all my blankets or something, and my legs (normally my thighs) them themselves will get hot like me myself won’t feel as if their hot but to the touch they are and they get over heated I break out into a heat rash and like an itch fit and sometimes it’s practically impossible not to scratch it’s not something you can tell yourself not to do, my mom doesn’t understand she yells at me all the time and tells me it’s my fault bc I scratch. At this point it’s uncontrollable and involuntary I try not to scratch I end up in tears, cracking my teeth, or leave bruises on my arms from gripping my wrists so tightly or I bite my arm and leave marks or make it bleed it’s so hard not to scratch and it’s painful not too although it’s painful to do it it’s less painful. I again end up with raw patches of skin and bruises and then later long strips of scabs from scratching but I don’t know what else to do, I’ve been to doctors I’ve taken meds (which just made me sick and depressed and lose weight) the only way I can diffuse the burning firey itchy sensation is with ice packs and sometimes I just can’t bc it’s winter or bc they make everything wet