Foot eczema is most common amongst children in the wintertime, when the air is dryer. It presents as a scaly area of dry irritated skin on the foot. In severe cases the skin may crack and bleed leaving it open to infection.
The problem arises when an allergy prone child reacts to an element in his shoes or socks, or from excessive sweating. Intense sweating, which is often the result of poorly chosen shoes, results in the skin’s natural oils being washed away. This leaves the upper layers of skin barren of their natural moisturisation.
What can be done to control foot eczema?
As with any eczema prevention is easier than control. Keeping the feet well moisturised especially in winter and careful selection of shoes may help to prevent the condition developing.
It is advisable to avoid the use of soaps, as soaps are known to be harsh on sensitive skin stripping it of its natural oils. Use soap substitutes, which are gentle on the skin and don’t contain fragrances, additives, preservatives or colouring.
Where possible select shoes that are not occlusive or synthetic. Open sandals are better than closed in shoes as they allow the air to circulate. Canvas runners/trainers are known for inducing sweating. They should be avoided whenever possible. Air shoes out each night to ensure they are thoroughly dry before being worn the next day. A second pair of shoes may be necessary so they can be worn on alternating days.
Soaking the feet in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of bath oil each evening is very beneficial. This will cleanse the accumulated sweat off the feet and remoisturise the skin. If eczema is actually present on the skin the most effective time to apply treating creams or emollients is after the feet have been soaked and dabbed dry. This is when the skin is at its softest and moistest and therefore most receptive to the cream.
If the skin becomes broken and bleeds antibiotics or wrapping may be required. Your doctor can advise you about the necessity of these.