Itchiness, also called pruritus, can happen anywhere on your body, but it commonly occurs on the ankles. This can be caused by various conditions like contact dermatitis or a fungal infection.

Itchy ankles can often occur due to an underlying condition such as eczema, psoriasis, or an allergic reaction. It can lead to intense skin irritation and scratching, which can be difficult to manage.

Treating the root cause is often the most effective way to stop the itch.

If the issue persists, it can be a good idea to speak with a doctor. They can help determine whether your symptoms are being caused by a serious condition, such as diabetes or liver disease.

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Some itches are limited to the ankles, but you may also experience itchiness that covers more areas of the body. There are many potential causes of itchy ankles, which can affect one or both ankles. This includes:

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is commonly caused by a reaction to a skin irritant. Different things can cause the condition, such as:

  • soap
  • cosmetics
  • fragrances
  • clothing
  • animals
  • jewelry
  • poison ivy

Allergies

Allergies can be caused by many different foreign substances and are one of the most common causes of itchiness.

Some allergic reactions are localized, which means they can cause symptoms in one place, such as the ankles. Some allergic reactions can cause a systemic reaction that affects the entire body.

Hives

Hives, also known as urticaria, are a skin rash that can be triggered by food, medication, and other irritants.

If you break out in hives, the most common symptoms are itchy, raised, and swollen welts on the affected area. They’re usually red, pink, or flesh-colored on lighter skin and may be flesh-colored or slightly lighter or darker than your skin tone on brown or black skin.

As most hives are the result of a number of different agents, removal of that agent is key in treatment, but most hives go away on their own and are limited to the affected area.

Fungal infections

Another common cause of itchy ankles is athlete’s foot, a type of ringworm fungal infection. Other fungal infections that may affect the ankles are jock itch and yeast infections.

Because each fungus thrives in warm and moist environments, you may be at risk of this type of infection if you wear closed footwear for long periods.

Dry skin

Dry skin can be caused by a number of different factors, including skin care products and weather. You might also see that your skin begins to flake, scale, and crack.

As dry skin is more prone to cracking and splitting, injuries such as these might increase feelings of itchiness. Dry skin can also be an indicator of a more severe skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis.

Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy and inflamed areas of the body. It’s a common condition affecting about 10% of people in the United States, typically first appearing in childhood.

While the main symptom is a rash that appears on the wrists, hands, feet, ankles, and behind the knees, it can show up anywhere.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that occurs when skin cells reproduce too quickly. It can often cause itchiness and develop anywhere on the body.

Psoriasis can be very uncomfortable. Those diagnosed with the condition usually go through cycles of flare-ups and remission.

Foot injuries

Healing from a sprain or wound can cause itchiness, especially if you have to wear a cast, wrap, bandage, or compression tape. Itchiness can also occur due to the skin stretching when the area is swollen.

It’s also possible that the pain-relieving medications can cause itching as a side effect.

Sunburn

Mild and severe sunburns can become itchy as your skin starts to peel during the healing process. The itching will usually clear up once the skin has healed.

Severe burns resulting from blisters will need to be monitored even more closely as blisters can burst and become infected, leading to further itching.

Parasitic infections

Parasites are organisms that live off other organisms. When certain parasites make a home of your ankle, it can lead to itchiness, as well as:

  • redness
  • inflammation
  • rashes
  • blisters

Because of their constant contact with the ground, ankles, and feet can be an environment that provides easy access to certain kinds of parasites, such as lice, bed bugs, and fleas.

When these ectoparasites cause local irritation in the ankles, this leads to itching and scratching.

Autoimmune problems

An autoimmune disorder can occur when the immune system attacks the cells of the skin. This can cause itching. Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, in particular, are known to cause symptoms of itchiness.

The most effective way to treat itchy ankles is often by identifying and treating the underlying cause, such as dry skin, eczema, or allergies.

There are a number of at-home treatments that can help with itchy ankles:

Depending on the underlying cause of your itchiness, a doctor may treat your itchy ankles with a number of different products:

  • antihistamines or corticosteroids for allergic reactions
  • antifungal creams for fungal infections
  • antibacterial solutions for bacterial infections
  • corticosteroids for noninfectious inflammation
  • anti-itch creams for generalized itchiness

The treatment plan and healing time for itchy ankles depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, having itchy ankles will not affect your health in the long term.

However, depending on your condition, it may be beneficial to speak with a healthcare professional such as a dermatologist. Once you determine what’s causing the itchiness, you can seek out appropriate treatment and begin your recovery.

Most causes of itchy ankles are harmless, but some circumstances can indicate a much more severe health issue. If you have a persistent itch in the foot area, consider speaking with a doctor.

At the appointment, a doctor will want to know:

  • how long you have been experiencing the itchiness
  • how long the itching sensation lasts
  • if it’s affecting other areas of the body
  • if there are certain things that trigger itching episodes

They will also inspect the itchy area, looking for symptoms that accompany other causes.

Can poor circulation cause itchy ankles?

Poor circulation can be a common cause of itchy ankles. It can result from stasis dermatitis, a form of eczema caused by poor blood flow.

Can liver problems cause itchy ankles?

Problems with the liver, such as liver disease, can sometimes cause itchy ankles. The reason for this is not completely understood, but the skin may begin to itch as a result of high bilirubin levels.

Can diabetes cause itchy ankles?

Diabetes can often lead to itching sensations on the body, including the ankles.

High blood sugar can cause dry skin, and those with diabetes are also more likely to have skin infections, peripheral neuropathy, and poor blood circulation, which can lead to further itchiness.

Itchy ankles can occur for a variety of reasons. They may develop due to something you’ve picked up from your environment, such as sunburn or a parasitic infection. They may also result from a skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema, or hives.

Treating the root cause is often the most effective way to stop areas of your body, like the ankles, from itching.

Most causes of itchy ankles are harmless, but it can sometimes indicate a much more severe health issue. If you have a persistent itch in the foot area, consider speaking with a doctor.