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Martin Foot & Ankle

Feet Can Have Allergies Too: the Shoe Allergy

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Allergy season conjures images of pollen-laden trees, flourishing goldenrod, sneezing, and a mountain of tissues. Anyone who struggles with allergies understands how it can be a miserable time! Most people don’t realize, though, that allergic responses aren’t limited to your eyes and sinuses. Believe it or not, your feet can suffer, too—someone with sensitive skin can testify that a shoe allergy is a real problem.

A shoe allergy is actually a reaction to the chemicals, dyes, and even glues used in the fabrics of your shoes. The irritants cause your skin to develop allergic contact dermatitis, which is a rash. Your feet become red, irritated, and itchy. Sometimes your skin can be tested for a reaction to the specific chemicals used in footwear. Even then, it can be hard to find shoes that you know will be made without those substances.

The reaction first develops when you buy a new pair of shoes and begin to wear them. The chemicals and dyes that cause problems are more highly concentrated in new shoes and are more likely to cause issues. Sometimes, wearing socks so your skin doesn’t come into direct contact with the chemicals can help prevent the problem, but not always. The best way to prevent the contact dermatitis is to avoid the reaction-inducing shoes. Often times, this simply means trying the new shoes for a few hours and returning them if they cause issues.

If you happen to be one of those who suffers with an uncomfortable and inconvenient allergy to your shoes, know that there are treatments to relieve your symptoms. Contact Martin Foot and Ankle in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz and York, PA, and make an appointment to take care of the skin on your lower limbs. You can reach us by calling (717) 757-3537 or using our online contact form.

Photo Credit: Hyena Reality via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dr. Bronwyn Wilke
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