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Itching of the skin between the fingers and toes: causes, types, diagnostics

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021
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Not many people know that the itch between the fingers is one of the clinical symptoms of not only dermatological diseases, but also neuropathology, systemic and psychiatric diseases. It turns out that the symptom is similar, and the approaches to treatment are completely different. What you need to know about this uncomfortable condition, and in what case should I go to the doctors?

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Causes of the itch between the fingers

Itching, which bothers in the area between the fingers, is able to appear due to many reasons. The most frequent of these are:

  • hypersensitivity to the composition of cleaning and cleaning products, cosmetics;
  • allergic mood of the organism to certain types of products or medicines;
  • a microbial or fungal infection;
  • dryness of the skin (for example, with excessively zealous hygiene compliance);
  • permanent mechanical damage to the skin between the fingers;
  • defeat of scabies mite;
  • autoimmune processes, which are accompanied not only by itching, but also by peeling, reddening of the skin;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • neglect of hygienic norms.

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Risk factors

Itching between the fingers of some people occurs often, but others do not happen. This is because there are a number of factors that favor the appearance of the disease. If these factors are neutralized or eliminated, then the problem can be eliminated forever:

  • Rare, or vice versa, too frequent washing hands or feet with antibacterial soap.
  • Inadequate wiping of hands or feet, permanent moisturizing of the skin (waterlogging, for example, when working as a cleaner, washer, etc.).
  • Excessive dryness of the skin.
  • Features of professional activity (work associated with constant contact with chemicals, refined products, land, etc.).
  • Abuse of sunburn.
  • Hypovitaminosis associated with poor nutrition, with digestive disorders, etc.
  • Disorders of endocrine function, high blood sugar.
  • Fungal and other skin diseases.
  • Wearing substandard footwear (or shoes not according to season), ignoring the rules of hygiene.
  • Chronic diseases of the digestive system, or other organs or systems.
  • General hypersensitivity of the body, a tendency to allergies.

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Pathogenesis

Itching between the fingers is one of the symptoms of many painful conditions. For example, this is often observed with dermatological problems, neurological pathologies, systemic and psychiatric diseases. Because of the constant itching, a person becomes emotionally unstable, irritable and even aggressive, or falls into depression.

The stimulating factor of the itch may be different. It is he who determines the basic tactics of treatment. As a rule, the problem originates when histamine-sensitive peripheral nerve endings are activated. Histamine-insensitive terminations are also involved in the transport of the itching sensation signal. At the same time, the responsibility for this signal, which is transferred to the center from the periphery, lies on histamine, opioids, protease, cathepsin, neural growth factor, interleukins, prostaglandins, gastrin-bound peptide. With a pain signal, a reflex of "alienation and avoidance" is observed, and when itching appears between the fingers, a reflex treatment is formed. So, combing, rubbing, pinching between the fingers gives one-time and short-time satisfaction. With severe discomfort, a person can comb the troublesome places before the wounds, which leads to the replacement of the sensation of itching with pain.

With constant itching, the cortex forms a zone of painful arousal. In turn, this leads to an excessive reaction of the skin to any stimuli. As a consequence, the threshold of susceptibility decreases, which significantly complicates the treatment of the disease.

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Epidemiology

According to medical statistics, every second case of itching between the fingers is caused by fungal disease. In turn, a fungal skin infection is detected in almost every fifth adult patient.

Over the past decade, fungal diseases have become diagnosed 2.5 times more often.

Neuropathic pruritus - for example, one that is associated with diseases of the endocrine and nervous systems, bothers about 6-7% of the inhabitants of our planet. A similar problem can manifest itself in patients with stroke, diabetes mellitus, etc.

The itch between the fingers, associated with allergic processes, worries about one in five people who have consulted a doctor.

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Symptoms

Visually similar symptoms can have absolutely the opposite aetiology, which often causes difficulties in diagnosing.

As a rule, the itch with a fungal infection begins to disturb after the appearance of a slight reddening, small bubbles on the skin or microcracks. After a while, the skin is loosened, swells, and then becomes dry and covered with small cracks. The skin begins to peel off, exfoliate, there are small blisters. In the painful process can also be involved and nail plates.

The first signs also depend on the underlying disease, and sometimes they generally can not be: itching is often the only painful symptom.

Itching between the toes often intensifies in the evening, or after moistening the skin. In most patients, discomfort occurs not only between the fingers, but also on the entire surface of the foot. If timely treatment is not taken, then after a while other symptoms are found:

  • increased sweating of the feet;
  • formation of cracks, unpleasant odor;
  • peeling, redness, swelling of the skin;
  • pain when walking, standing.

Itching between the fingers is especially worrisome for patients, because the skin in these places is more tender and sensitive. Often patients complain of redness, the appearance of cracks and irritation, dryness. In neglected cases, small lesions become an "input" for infectious agents, an inflammatory process develops, the patient's condition becomes worse. General symptoms may appear: fever, nausea, drowsiness, irritability, headache.

The presence of other specific signs is associated with the root cause of the appearance of pruritus.

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Forms

When making a diagnosis, doctors often use the pathogenetic classification. For example, a strong itch between the fingers can accompany skin or systemic diseases, but sometimes the cause remains unknown: in such a situation, talk about idiopathic itching. In addition, itchy sensations are acute and chronic, limited or common.

  • Itching and burning between the fingers, more often than other symptoms, indicate the development of mycosis. Fungal infection affects the background of weak defenses of the body, after the operations, medical rehabilitation, as well as in the presence of bad habits. The signs of mycotic lesions are:
    • blistering rash, inflammatory phenomena;
    • burning, itching between the fingers and toes;
    • formation of scales, skin detachment.
  • Redness and itching between the fingers, resulting from contact with the irritant (drugs, chemical solutions, cosmetics), indicates the allergic nature of the symptom. The skin is irritated, swollen, and there are single or multiple eruptions. In severe allergies, there is an itch between the fingers of the hands and a red wound to the blood: the skin exfoliates, the general state of health suffers. Rashes and swelling can spread throughout the body.
  • Peeling and itching between the fingers affect approximately the same in both mycotic and eczematous lesions. However, in patients with eczema, there are other painful signs: coarsening of the affected epidermis, exfoliation, changing the color shade of the skin, which simply begin to "peel off" layers. In addition, the doctor can pay attention to violations of the work of other systems and organs, the presence of areas of skin irritation on the body.
  • Redness between the fingers without itching occurs with psoriasis. In this case, the affected skin becomes red, covered with scales (often - wet). The disease is difficult to treat and in the vast majority of cases it takes a chronic course with intermittent periods of relapses and remissions. Peeling between the toes without itching can also indicate psoriasis, but this condition requires additional diagnosis. It should be borne in mind that lesions occur almost anywhere in the body, but the interdigital spaces, the outer and inner surfaces of the joints are the most frequent places of localization of the problem.
  • Itching between the fingers and bubbles usually indicate the development of a fungal infection. Such an infection can be infected in public places (in baths, saunas, sports locker rooms, gyms, swimming pools, etc.). By the way, itchy bubbles often become only the first signs of defeat. Over time, the condition of the skin worsens, which "oblazit" disappears. In the future, the nails are involved in the process.
  • Cracks between the fingers and itching occur with a banal lack of vitamins in the body. However, at the same time, the general condition of the patient worsens: the work capacity is reduced, there is a violation of appetite. First and foremost, the quality of the skin is affected: cracks, dryness, and scaling are found. In addition, you should pay attention to the condition of nails and hair, which in most cases suffer no less.
  • In an adult or a child, the itch between the fingers and in other parts of the body can be a consequence of scabies - a disease that is caused by a specific itch mite. Most patients with scabies have the same complaints - they are strong intolerable itching sensations and areas of redness on the body. The disease is transmitted from person to person, as well as through personal belongings of people, through bedding and household items.
  • Cracks and itching between the toes appear with close contact with chemical solutions, as well as against dermatitis and eczema. The presence of cracks is also recorded with candidiasis infection. Since only two symptoms are difficult to put a preliminary diagnosis, then it is necessary to conduct complex diagnostic measures.
  • Peeling and itching between the toes, which spreads in the form of peculiar spots, can be a sign of depriving, which sometimes get infected from animals (dogs, cats). Individual inflammatory elements of red color strongly itch, flake, and tend to spread and merge. Leaving should be treated only by a specialist. If the infection has occurred from a pet, you will have to treat it as well.
  • Itching and skins the skin between the toes not only with fungal lesions, but also with certain diseases of the digestive tract, with incorrect function of the sweat glands, with hormonal problems, and even with helminthiasis. The main point of diagnosis is the exclusion of each of the listed pathologies, for the establishment of an accurate diagnosis and the appointment of the right further treatment. Be sure to take into account other complaints of the patient - for example, the instability of the stool, the unpleasant odor of the feet, the headaches, lack of appetite and other troubles.
  • The smell of the legs and the itch between the fingers - these symptoms do not always become a manifestation of a fungal infection. Often the causes of such problems are diseases of the cardiovascular system (in particular, hypertension), tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, insufficient thyroid function, obesity, elevated blood sugar levels, hormonal changes (for example, during pregnancy or with the onset of menopause in women) . The banal reason may be the wearing of incorrectly selected or substandard footwear: under certain conditions, on the insoles of shoes, on the surface of the feet and between the fingers, the reproduction of bacteria begins, which provokes the appearance of the problem.
  • The itch between the child's toes can be caused by insect bites - for example, ants (if the baby walked barefoot on the grass before). Such bites do not always have a clearly localized focus: depending on the reaction of the child's body, the process can be limited to a site of irritation and redness.
  • The redness between the toes in a child is not always a sign of a pathological process. In some cases, this is simply a feature of the body, in which there is excessively dry skin. The cause of the problem is hereditary predisposition, as well as frequent use of detergents (or insufficient washing of interdigital spaces with running water while washing the child). To clarify the origin of the problem should be a medical specialist.

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Who to contact?

Diagnostics of the itch between the fingers

If the patient does not make any other complaints, except for itching between the fingers and superficial skin changes, then there is a special need for further diagnosis. First of all, the doctor should clarify such points:

  • how discomfort began (abruptly, gradually);
  • whether there is always an itching sensation, or periodically, under certain circumstances;
  • accurate description of sensations (burning, tingling);
  • the duration of itching, the frequency of its appearance, the relationship with anything, the presence of provoking factors.

In addition, the doctor collects data on the patient's professional activity, about his lifestyle, about the body's allergic mood, about the traumatic events that have taken place recently.

It is necessary to pay attention to the general symptoms:

  • increased temperature, increased sweating of the affected areas between the fingers, total body weight loss;
  • the state of the skin (appearance of pigmentation, dryness or excess fat content, etc.);
  • the condition of the nails;
  • mental state of the patient (mood stability, sleep quality, depression, excitement, etc.);
  • signs of digestive disorders.

Laboratory tests consist of a general blood test, determination of iron, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, urea, creatinine. In some cases, it is necessary to assess the level of TSH, T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones). Mycological analysis of scraping of the skin is mandatory, application tests are performed, and feces are given for the presence of helminthiosis.

Instrumental diagnosis is not always necessary. Only in some cases there is a need for an ultrasound study to assess the quality of the internal organs.

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Differential diagnosis

Differential diagnosis, in the first place, is carried out between acute and chronic itching: the main parameter of the difference here is the time interval of six weeks. On the etiological factor differentiate such kinds of itch between the fingers:

  • Dermatological (caused by primary dermatitis, psoriasis, infectious skin disease, xerosis, etc.);
  • systemic (caused by various systemic pathologies - for example, diseases of the liver, blood, kidneys, etc.).

In addition, neurogenic pruritus is clinically significant, which becomes a consequence of a disorder in the functioning of the peripheral or central nervous system. It is especially difficult to diagnose psychogenic itching between the fingers. This pathological condition is observed with mental disorders, depressive and delusional disorders, anxiety, etc.

In the case where the cause of discomfort between the fingers can not be determined, then the diagnosis of the primary idiopathic pruritus is indicated.

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Treatment of the itch between the fingers

The itch between the fingers can be eliminated by directly influencing the root cause of such a symptom. To do this, use external and systemic medicines, as well as alternative and cosmetology methods.

Complications and consequences

The likelihood of developing adverse effects in skin diseases is often underestimated, and in fact itching and redness between the fingers or toes is not only a cosmetic problem. There are many cases when refusal to visit a doctor with such a pathology led to serious complications. Fungal and other infections are prone to generalization, and the result can be a general intoxication and disruption of other organs and systems.

Defects, cracks, ulcers on the skin can easily become open gates for an infectious agent. In addition, neglected skin pathologies tend to malignant - malignant degeneration of tissues.

All unpleasant consequences can be avoided if the treatment is started in a timely manner. Older painful processes are much more difficult to treat, and more expensive - both for the wallet, and for their own health.

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Prevention

Measures to prevent the appearance of itching between the fingers include:

  • the use of healthy food (excluding sweets, salty and spicy foods, baking);
  • Exclusion of products, medicines, or other factors that may cause an allergic reaction;
  • use only clean and fresh bed and underwear, timely replacement and washing of socks, insoles, cleaning and airing shoes;
  • observance of hygienic rules, proper selection of hygiene means taking into account allergic inclination of the organism;
  • the use of protective equipment when working with chemical and other aggressive substances, mandatory putting on protective gloves during cleaning, washing or washing;
  • conducting periodic preventive examinations at the doctor;
  • regular body care, the use of moisturizers and nutrients;
  • observance of special hygiene rules when visiting swimming pools, beaches, gyms, saunas, etc.

The fingers of the hands and feet are more prone to various adverse factors than other parts of the body. Therefore, care should not be neglected - on the contrary, it should be especially careful.

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Forecast

The itch between the fingers is a symptom, not a diagnosis or a disease, so its outcome is determined by the primary disease, quality and timeliness of the treatment.

The possibility of complete and irrevocable elimination of itching depends on the prognosis of the underlying disease, which led to the appearance of an unpleasant symptom.

Idiopathic itching between the fingers is rare and difficult to treat, because it is impossible to clearly identify the cause of discomfort, as well as affect it. Nevertheless, this type of problem also has a favorable prognosis for the life and health of the patient.

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