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.