Proper foot care is a must for those suffering with the skin condition eczema. Eczema can be very mild as in a slight reddening of the skin, a little bit of dryness and a slight urge to scratch but it can also be moderate or even severe as in cases where the skin cracks, bleeds and sometimes crusts and scales over.
There are five main kinds of eczema that affect both the legs and the feet. These types include atopic eczema, discoid eczema, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis and varicose eczema.
Atopic eczema is the most common type of eczema and is believed to have a genetic link. This type leaves the skin very red and inflamed and extremely itchy. The standard treatment for this type of eczema is steroids or steroid creams to bring down the swelling and a variety of emollients to fight the itch.
Discoid eczema is most common in adults and not children and it resembles small lesions that are round in shape and can be itchy, inflamed and ooze fluid. The treatment for this type of eczema is the same as with atopic eczema, it involves the use of steroids as well as emollients.
Irritant contact dermatitis (or eczema) is brought on by the contact of irritants such as harsh detergents, household cleaners, soaps, chemicals etc. The more contact there is, the worse the flare-ups can be. Special creams can be used to bring down the swelling but the best prevention is total avoidance of all irritating substances.
Allergic contact dermatitis on the other hand is often caused by an allergic reaction to a product such as a scratchy fabric like wool, a food that a person is allergic or a fabric softener. The symptoms of this type are very similar to those of irritant contact dermatitis in that skin becomes red, itchy and swollen.
Finally, varicose eczema is common in those who already have varicose veins. This form of eczema leaves skin itchy and speckled in appearance with lesions that are swollen on the legs and feet. The ankles are most likely to be the area where varicose eczema settles into. If varicose eczema becomes serious enough, it can lead to ulcers forming on the legs and feet, which would require a patient to be hospitalized.
Treatments in this case need to begin early so the eczema does not graduate to higher levels. A variety of steroids as well as emollients are often put into play here.
Many patients who have eczema on their feet are sent by their doctor to see a special foot doctor known as a chiropodist. A chiropodist will discuss options for treatment with you and will explain which creams and/or topical steroids he or she feels are most suitable for your condition.
Also the chiropodist will tend to any oozing lesions or open cuts that you have on your feet and make sure that they are taken care of so they will heal properly. For those suffering with varicose eczema, bandages or dressings will be applied to the lesions so they will not become infected or cause any more lesions to appear.