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I have swelling in my toes when I stand too long or walk. They itch and have spots in different places. putting my feet up seems to help, but when I don’t they swell a lot.! what is this!!!

Itchy and swollen feet as you are describing can be a number of possibilities including but not limited to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, dermatitis, insect bites, or fungal infections.

Given that you are complaining of feet swelling when you stand or walk, this could be an underlying sign of cardiovascular problems such as heart failure. Heart failure leads to poor circulatory effort and decreased venous return thereby leading to pooling of fluids in the lowest part of your body – your feet. A similar problem arises with diabetes whereby the small vessels and nerves in your feet are damaged by high blood sugar and fluid pools in your feet causing swelling. The itchiness and spots you are seeing could be a result of irritation due to this swelling.

Dermatitis and insect bites can both cause inflammatory reactions in your feet causing swelling and itchiness. Dermatitis results from contact with something that irritates your skin – the leather or dye on new sandals, nickel on toe rings, poison ivy, new detergent used to wash your socks, etc. Insect bites such as mosquitoes, bed bugs, etc. can cause similar symptoms.

Lastly fungal infections such as “athletes foot” can cause similar symptoms. This is a fungal infection causing itching and blisters to develop as well as scaling and flaking of the affected areas. Treatment can be with topical antifungals such as lotramin (available over the counter) or with prescription oral antifungals.

If your feet have been progressively swelling, swollen for weeks, you have heart problems, you suspect a fungal infection, or you have diabetes, a visit to your primary care physician to evaluate the symptoms and proper control of your underlying condition would be warranted. If you suspect dermatitis, remove the suspected irritant from your feet and treat with anti-itch cream such as cortizone or benadryl. If other people in your family have similar swelling and itchiness, you suspect insect bites, anti-itch cream such as cortizone or benadryl could be