A skin condition that is limited to the hands and/or feet can have several possible causes. Many of these conditions on the hands or feet are itchy, but, in some people, they may not itch at all.
If the condition starts suddenly for the first time and is associated with painful sores on the hands, feet, and mouth, consider hand, foot, and mouth disease. Other disorders are typically longstanding or recurrent (chronic) but may be distinguished by the pattern or other differences in appearance. Psoriasis, in addition to a rash on the skin, often displays changes on the fingernails or toenails of the affected hands and/or feet and is associated with sharp, round borders, while irritant or allergic dermatitis may have less-defined borders or involve only the skin of the hands or feet. Allergic contact dermatitis will sometimes clearly follow the pattern of recently acquired shoes or sandals. Dyshidrotic eczema typically starts as tiny itchy blisters along the sides of the fingers or feet and then turns into red, scaling areas.
Other skin disorders occur primarily on the feet rather than on the hands or on both the hands and feet. Juvenile plantar dermatosis appears on the front portion of the bottom (ball) or heel of the foot in children. Pitted keratolysis and athlete's foot are seen most often in those with sweaty feet.
Click any of pictures below to learn more about what skin changes are common in hands and feet.
Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)
Tinea pedis, also known as ringworm of the foot or athlete's foot, is a surface (superficial) fungal infection of the skin of the foot. The most common fungal disease in humans, athlete's foot, may be passed to humans…
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction (the reaction to the allergen occurs 48–72 hours after exposure). The most common allergens causing allergic contact dermatitis…
Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis is an inflammatory rash caused by direct chemical injury to the skin. Unlike allergic contact dermatitis, which appears 48–72 hours after exposure to an allergen, the symptoms…
Sweaty Sock Syndrome (Juvenile Plantar Dermatosis)
Sweaty sock syndrome (juvenile plantar dermatosis) is a condition where the skin becomes scaly and red on the soles of the feet of children and young teenagers. The cause of sweaty sock syndrome is unknown, though…
Pitted keratolysis is a skin condition affecting the soles of the feet and, less commonly, the palms of the hands. It is caused by a bacterial infection of the skin and may give off an unpleasant odor.
Dyshidrotic Eczema (Dyshidrotic Dermatitis)
Dyshidrotic eczema (dyshidrotic dermatitis) is generally defined as a rash limited to the hands (usually the palms and sides of the fingers) and sometimes the feet. Dyshidrotic eczema manifests as small, itchy…
Psoriasis is a noncontagious, lifelong skin condition that affects about 2–3% of the population of the United States. People with psoriasis have thickened, red, and often scaly patches on their skin.