Itchy Ankles

Are your ankles itchy? Does the itch bother you? Did it lead you to scratching your ankle frequently? If yes, then you are suffering from itchy ankles.

Such condition is fairly common but at times can be serious and proper care of the ankles should be done. Americans and Caucasians are usually a victim of itchy ankles.

On the other hand, Asians are resistant to itchy ankles. Sometimes the itch is accompanied by rashes. The seriousness and intensity of the condition varies accordingly from one person to another. In the medical world, itching is known as pruritus. It can affect not just the ankle but as well as other parts of the body.

What are the cardinal signs and symptoms of itchy ankles?

Itchy Ancles


  • A feeling of numbness in the ankle area
  • Obvious swelling in the ankle
  • Presence of rashes in the ankle area

What are the causes of itchy ankles?

Itchy ankles can be caused by a lot of factors. The common cause is skin problem. It starts as a small rash but once become irritated or left untreated, it could lead to severe itching and infection. Below are the causes of itchy ankles:

  • Poor hygiene – A healthy body starts with good hygiene. Not thoroughly cleaning the feet could lead to itchy ankle. More so, the use of unclean socks and shoes could lead to itching and infection if there is a tear in the skin barrier. An ill-fitting shoes could lead to redness and inflammation, which will eventually lead to itchy ankles.
  • Environmental condition – The environment where a person lives has a big impact on the development of itchy ankle. The weather condition and sanitation go hand in hand. Those living in the west are more sensitive to dust and rashes than the Asians.
  • Skin texture – The texture and integrity of the skin can affect the person’s susceptibility to itchy ankles. People with dry skin are prone to itching. Those who have trauma in the ankle can also experience itchy ankle. A previous ankle injury can trigger itchy ankles too.
  • Lifestyle – Some things you used to do in your day to day life can lead to itchy ankle such as use of adhesive materials, putting bandage on the legs, use of products containing sulphate, and use of other products containing harsh ingredients.
  •  Existing medical condition – Most of the time, itchy ankle is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. You might think that itchy ankle is your primary problem, but little did you know that it is just a manifestation of a more serious condition. It could be due to diabetes, hypothyroidism, peripheral neuropathy, kidney disease, severe skin infection like psoriasis, scabies, and intestinal parasites, an allergic reaction, and Athlete’s foot. It is also common to experience itchy ankles during pregnancy. Hence, if the itch of your ankle has been bothering you for a long time, it is best to have it checked by a medical professional for proper assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.


Possible treatments for itchy ankles

Itchy ankles are usually treated using simple home remedies. They are easy and simple to treat. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to dig a hole in your pocket just to ease the itch. You can manage the condition using the things you usually see in the comfort of your own home.

  •  Cold compress – To reduce the pain, swelling, and itchiness, you have to apply ice on the ankle for a few minutes. Applying cold compress makes the skin cool, which soothes the itching. Whenever you feel like scratching your ankle, just apply ice for about 20 minutes. Repeat the process when necessary until you feel relieved. If you feel the itching sensation, go and grab ice and put on the skin rather than scratching it.
  • Oatmeal mixture – Itching and inflammation of the ankle can be alleviated using oatmeal mixture. To create your own oatmeal mixture, you just have to mix a few drops of ginger juice and oatmeal and apply directly on the affected ankle. Oatmeal soothes the skin while ginger controls itching and inflammation. Place the oatmeal mixture in the fridge and apply to affected area two to three times a day.
  • Calamine lotion – Calamine lotions like Caladryl can be easily purchased over the counter. It is effective in alleviating itch. On top of that, the lotion can significantly reduce skin irritation and alleviates swelling. Apply the lotion on your itchy ankle two to three times a day. Alternate the calamine lotion with menthol to give you a soothing feeling. A moisturizing lotion will also helping preventing skin drying and cracking. Always remember that dry skin is prone to itching. Apply the lotion in the morning after taking a bath and in the evening before going to bed.
  • Baking soda paste – Don’t you know that a baking soda can effectively alleviate itching of the ankle? Create a baking soda paste by dissolving baking soda in water or lemon juice. Apply over the affected ankle and after a few minutes the itching will gradually disappear.
  • Antihistamine pills – if the itching of the ankle is mind, you can take antihistamine pills which can be easily purchased over the counter. A steroid hormone can also be used, especially for severe itching and infection, but you need to consult your doctor first. Too much steroid may cause adverse effect.

What if the itching and pain did not subside using home remedies?

If you have tried every possible home remedy for itchy ankle and nothing seems to work, the best thing to do is to consult a medical professional. Book an appointment with your dermatologist to find out if the issue is only skin deep or a serious underlying medical condition could possibly be the cause. The doctor will conduct a thorough assessment of your ankle.

The doctor will take note of the itching, pain, and swelling. All objective and subjective signs and symptoms will be collected to come up with an exact medical diagnosis. If deemed necessary, a series of laboratory test will be conducted to determine the root cause of the problem.

An itchy ankle that is persistent and wouldn’t seem to go away despite desperate measures represent an underlying medical condition. It could be a problem to your kidneys, thyroid, or sugar. People with diabetes often complain with itchy ankle, especially at night. For proper assessment and medical diagnosis, the best thing to do is to see your doctor.

He is the best person to help you with your health concerns. As much as possible, you have to avoid any drastic measures, especially if you have not yet consulted your doctor.

Avoid scratching the skin, although it can be tempting to scratch every time you feel the itch. Scratching can make your skin vulnerable to damage. As you know, the skin is the first line of defense. An open skin is susceptible to infection. If you feel the need to scratch your ankle, just use the home remedies mentioned above.

Find one that works best for your medical condition. Again, do not hesitate to see your doctor to properly, thoroughly, and correctly address your health concerns. Follow the doctor’s advice and prescription religiously and eventually the itching, pain, and swelling will subside in a matter of time.

Published by Dr. Raj MD under Skin.
Article was last reviewed on August 6th, 2018.

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