Itchy palms or soles of feet – is this a sign of an allergy?

Just this week I’ve noticed something strange has been happening. When you have allergies and eczema you get used to that – makes life interesting (Not!). So this is the thing. The palms of my hands and the soles of my feet have been itching, they’ve been on fire and so tight and scratchy but I cannot see any rash or obvious hives to show for it.

If I feel the skin I can just detect tiny bumps under the surface. The tops of my hands are also not great, covered with the usual hives, nodular prurigo and eczema. They’ve gone off the scale in the last month or so but why suddenly the palms? I’ve never had itching palms or soles of my feet before.

Nothing seems to help except plunging them into really hot water and keeping the moisturised.
And now I’m writing this I’ve noticed that my eyeballs are also tight and itchy. Yes my eyeballs. What on earth is happening to me? I thought I was just tired and needed to shut my eyes. That’s what they feel like.
Maybe I am just tired. Well yes I am tired.
And as I write breaking off to rub my hands together but not with any glee.

I wouldn’t advise googling for causes of itchy palms etc. because the results are scary.

I just wondered if anyone else has this symptom with their allergies? Thanks to twitter friends I know that itching palms and soles of your feet can be a sign of an allergy to something. But what?

coffee allergy

Could it be the coffee?

I’m experimenting with different shampoo so I’ve stopped that for a bit to see if it helps.

Could it be dust?

Could it be wheat allergen which is flying all over the place since the big field opposite is STILL harvesting?

Or could it be some other kind of airborne allergen? But why the soles of the feet too? Could it be a food allergen?

You do have to employ the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes sometimes when you have allergies.

I’ve also been drinking a lot of fresh coffee so I’ve been cutting that out too just to see if it’s got any connection. Can you be allergic to coffee?

So watch this space. The tiny lumps have receded and I’m not itching anymore. So what was it? The shampoo or the coffee?

Please NO… not the coffee…

Does anyone else get itchy palms of soles of their feet? and what was causing it?

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About RuthS

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.

Comments

  1. Hi Ruth,
    I write this more for other readers than yourself. So sorry to hear that you are experiencing these very irritating symptoms of itch.
    As you will know from your net searching there are many possible reasons for itchy soles of the feet and palms. It is good to have a high level of ‘alert’ to possible allergy as a cause but I tend to try to keep an open mind despite being biased towards allergy. In the presence of additional allergy symptoms i.e. swelling, vomiting, hives I would have a higer degree of suspicion of allergy and conversely, without these additional symptoms my immediate thoughts would not be of allergy. However if you can easily identify a particular food/drink that immediately and everytime seems to elicit the localised itching then I guess the ideal would be to take the item out of their diet for two to four weeks, note if symptoms continue or if there is a relief from symptoms. If symptoms go then reintroduce the food/drink and check if symptoms return. Allergy to coffee protein is possible but very rare. If you were allergic to coffee…you’d probably have other symptoms too. I don’t mind being wrong, it’s just my take on it.
    However I would not rule out anything and definatly not assume it is IgE mediated allergy. This may not be of much practical help but I’m trying to pitch from a clinical evidence based background.

    All the very best, maybe see you at BSACI. Thanks for your continued blogs and journalism recording and exposing the real issues that those with allergy and other food hypersensitivities face each day
    Kind regards
    Andrew

    • Thanks Andrew, this is indeed excellent advice, as always. I tend to agree that it possibly wasn’t an allergy. I also had a large mug of freshly brewed coffee this morning and, touch wood, no itching palms. They have miraculously stopped itching, after about a week of intense itching which was worse at night. I wonder what it was? I’m not even going to go and google it again… I’m going to assume that it’s gone away. What made me think it was possibly allergy related was that my eyes were very red rimmed, slightly gummy, watering, itchy and my eye balls felt itchy too. Now I think about it the insides of my ears were itching too – weird aren’t I? Also, I do get quite a few delayed symptoms – it’s definitely an allergy but I don’t get the eczema flare up until the next day. With other things like nuts and soya the reaction is immediate and full on. My problem often is that I change too many things all at once, like cleaning in case it was dust, stopping drinking coffee, changing from the new shampoo, eating a very basic diet… so who knows.
      And yes you will be seeing me at the BSACI. I’m speaking on behalf of NASG about quite what I’m not sure yet! Waiting for my final brief nearer the time but it will the patient’s perspective.

  2. My son and I go experience these exact symptoms. Ours are from chemical sensitivities. I experienced this for most of my life around my temples and my lower arms. When I deleted nightshades from the diet, the problem ceased.

    • Hmmm… well my palms were itching again like crazy when I cooked my lunch just now. Mushrooms, courgetts, kale and garlic in rape seed oil with salt and pepper. Nothing strange there. Or is it something in my house somewhere… Poirot! Where are you?

      • Hi ruth,
        I also get very itchy palms and feet (drives me mad) is eczema related I think but what triggers it I am unsure, better since moisturising with natural coconut oil.
        Hope you find the answer out soon.
        I don’t drink coffee and rarely tea so in my case not that, is worse if eaten dairy .

      • It might be the garlic.
        Try it and test it out: rub some garlic (juice) on your hands, wait like 5 minutes and see how that goes.

  3. Maybe gluten sensitivity? Right now I’m experiencing itchy feet & just recently self-diagnosed myself with gluten sensitivity. Before I cut out gluten all together, I did have a huge plate of spaghetti with garlic bread. A huge gluten-filled meal…and the results were astounding! Try maybe a food journal to see what symptoms arise from foods you’re eating…?

    • Hi Rita
      sorry to hear that you’ve had such symptoms.
      If you require further assistance and prescription for gluten free foods you’ll need a specialist in gastroenterology to make the diagnosis. For a diagnosis to be made one is required to continue eating food containing gluten for at least 6 weeks (though not loads) prior to test.
      Of course you may have you own plan worked out. All the best
      andrewallergy

      • I think I would explode if I had to eat wheat for six whole weeks. I get nauseous when I eat wheat, bloated, cramps and pain in my stomach but I know I’m allergic to wheat from blood tests but it’s not like my other allergies at all. Weird but wonderful. Do you do many tests for coeliac disease Andrew? Can you get tested for gluten sensitivity?

  4. I have the same symptoms tingly not much itchy reddish palms and soles idk what is causing this
    I am coffee drinker but never been itchy.
    I woke up one day my palms are like burning
    but no rashes.
    I recently changed my dishwashing liquid
    facial soap but i dont think i am allergic to it
    the thing is maybe too much rubbing or friction cause imbusing my hands all the time doing household chores. Then using different chemicals ive been doing it long long time.
    Idk what is happening to me. Im scared.

    • Hi Kar, the problem is it could be anything causing the reaction. If you have just changed anything that could be the culprit. Try cutting out for a week or two to see if the symptoms go away. My itchy palms and soles of feet haven’t come back, except only very mild reactions. I think for me it’s contact dermatitis and not anything I’m eating and tends to happen when other things are giving me a problem, like during hayfever season for instance. It’s weird how they can itch and hurt with no redness or rash isn’t it? Mine were like that. I could feel bumps under the skin but see nothing just looking at them. Seems to have just gone away now and I am still drinking coffee so it’s not that, although I don’t have much coffee, one a day and not every day otherwise I can’t sleep. Hope you get this sorted or find some relief. It’s no fun being itchy.

      • Hi Ruth,
        Thanks for you reply. Yes i tjink iys conract dermatitis too. can you share me what kind of treatment you have made? Thanks so much dear.

  5. Hi Ruth,
    Your ‘symptoms’ sound to me like a food allergy to nickel…yes, nickel.
    Please explore online…ie foods which contain nickel and which are contraindicated.
    You could of course be tested by an allergist.

    Good luck!
    Anon.

    • I do have a nickel allergy and have researched foods with nickel. Perhaps I was eating something containing nickel at the time, but the symptoms faded in the end and haven’t returned. I wonder what caused it?

  6. These symptoms look like Delayed Pressure Urticaria (DPU)

  7. Natalie says:

    I’ve had itchy hands and feet in the past, once it was after eating celery which is a known allergen. I’ve had it twice in two weeks now after eating salted chilli prawns from the same Chinese restaurant so I’m pretty sure that if it’s not celery (which is often used in stock) it’s another food allergy.

    • Natalie, here in the US, they’re selling ‘natural, no msg’ packaged deli meats. They are causing the same reaction as the msg because the ingredient used to replace the msg is tons and tons of celery powder which is high in glutamates. Seeing your problem with a Chinese restaurant and with celery…

      • Natalie says:

        Thanks Heath that sounds like it could be it, I can tolerate celery in small quantities but larger amounts seem to cause the reaction. I’m in Belfast, UK. It is now law that allergen information must be on all menus in restaurants but I ordered online, will be more careful next time!

  8. I have the same itchy palms and feet when I start to break out in hives. For me, it’s an allergic reaction to something I’ve eaten or drank. I’ve had this problem for over 20 years. It took me many years to pinpoint the allergen. An allergist test never could point anything. I finally narrowed it down to dark soft drinks i.e. Coke Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper. There’s something in them that I’m allergic to. I suspect it has something to do with the dark dye. Also, if I drink too much coffee or iced tea (only with caffeine) I will get the the itchy palms and soles of my feet followed by sever stomach cramps. My hives and allergic reactions get so bad that I’ve had to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital. It always starts with the soles of my feet itching and palms of my hands. When it begins I know what will follow – severe stomach cramping, my eyes itch, I’m in the bathroom forever just cramped over and sometimes this will last for an hour and then go away. With the severe reactions I get, large welts cover my body. First it’s the face and then my wrists and then my abdomen and sides of my torso. When it’s really bad it can cause my tongue to swell and affects my breathing. You can always get an allergy test but if that comes up inconclusive, try removing different things from your diet to see if you can narrow what the culprit is. Good luck! I feel for you.

  9. Hello,
    It’s dreadful to suffer such difficult symptoms. Some people are allergic to one or two foods, rarely more. It is very important not to presume all symptoms are related to foods. 50% of people or their GP who have assumed that their symptoms are caused by food allergy will find on seeing an NHS allergist that that the symptoms are related to another mechanism, not allergy. This tends not to go down too well. Andrew. Worked in NHS allergy for 16 years. Open minded and desire to help whether or not symptoms are related to food.

  10. cristopher says:

    HEY GUYS I NEED SOME HELP I PINCH IT THEN WATER CAME OUT , AFTER A DAY IT IS NON STOP WATERING , IS THIS INFECTED? IT IS ITCHY AND NOW IT HURTS

    • Hi Christopher, I’m not a doctor but I’ve had this before. I’d say if it’s clear it’s not infected. Anyone able to give Chris any further advice on this?

  11. I have been tested and have numerous food allergies. I had to go on an elimination diet for several weeks, not eating any of the foods I tested positive for. Walking into a grocery store caused anxiety attacks for me the first few times I went shopping after my allergies were revealed as it was scary to see everything I’m allergic to vs what I can eat! Anyway, after my body was “clean” of all allergens, my doctor said I could slowly try some of the foods (in small amounts with no other foods) that I had tested positive for to be sure it was a “true” allergy. I noticed immediately that I began itching on my palms and soles of my feet when I tried a food I was allergic to. In a way, it has been a Godsend signal for me as with my body’s immediate reaction, I was able to know right away and stop eating that food. Yes, the itching endures for a few hours, but does go away with no treatment. I am doing so much better now! I had been dealing with terrible eczema around my eyes and was totally wiped out from all my allergies. I highly recommend you get tested and do the elimination diet to cleanse your system of all the things you are allergy to and find out your “true” allergies. Good luck!

    • Hi Robin. Thanks for this comment, and I’m so glad you got the elimination diet. I too did this some years back and it’s really tough and surprising sometimes the foods which end up to be the problem foods. It’s often what you suspected but sometimes you can find out a really strange food is causing massive problems. I do had bad eczema from some of my allergies, and some now cause anaphylaxis so the only answer then it total avoidance. Some people get itchy ears too. The body is very clever with its early warning signals. I get itchy lips and throat within seconds of eating something I’m allergic to so stopping eating usually means I only get a mild reaction. By mild I just mean, not anaphylaxis, these mild reactions usually cause nausea, stomach cramps and all over whole body hives and days recovering but if I stop quick and take antihistamines I can usually avoid anaphylaxis and breathing problems. Fingers crossed. What were you allergic to then in the end? I’m allergic to nuts, dairy, soya and wheat. Also celery and tomato cause me massive skin and stomach problems. And recently kidney beans and broad beans cause massive hay fever episodes with eyes and nose streaming and itching all over. Weird!

  12. I get itchy palms when I eat raw carrots and also cantaloupe at times and it can turn into full blown hives. Not all orange colored foods – oranges are fine! Don’t like sweet potato so I can’t speak about that. WEIRD. The only thing I’ve learned lately, is if I don’t drink enough water the symptoms are much worse. Drinking a lot of water helps flush the toxins and get my body to stop trying to protect itself.

  13. myrna lacy says:

    i am just now experiencing severe itching in the palms of my hands. Really severe. I have not eaten any new food today or few days other than what i had been eating regularly. I have not changed my shampoos nor soaps nor perfumes. I have not drank coffee today and have always drank same brand of brewed coffee. BUT just 30 minutes ago, both the palms of my hands became very itchy. i washed them and even rubbed them with hand sanitizer that i regularly used just to get out any that i might have touched. But the itch is still severe. Now, even the soles of my feet are itching too. My palms are not dry and there are no welts or hives, same in the balls of my feet. what could have caused thi sudden severe itching?

    • It could be something you ate as it can be a sign of allergy. I never got to the bottom of my itching. Keep a food, mood and symptoms diary and if it persists speak to a doctor. It could be a sign of something else for all I know. Mine lasted about a week and then went away.

      • Jason Ducat says:

        Ruth, same for me. It even went away for about 4 years and then just returned. Seems to be when I eat food or drink
        Water. I was in the hospital for something unrelated and it was the only day it hasn’t been an issue-the day I didn’t eat or drink. Ate a bowl of cereal last night and my hands suck so bad today.

  14. Believe it or not, this could be a MOLD ALLERGY. Black pepper, mushrooms, grains all have mold on them! I would look up a mold free diet and see if that makes it go away ;). Same thing happens to me!

  15. Kiwinana in Canada says:

    Please go & see a Dr. & ask for autoimmune disease testing. Request an IgM blood test, liver function tests,& an ANA as well as AMA test.
    Don’t want to scare you but itching & tingling is a very common early symptom of an autoimmune disease that affects the bile ducts of the liver.

  16. I developed these symptoms when we moved to Wales. The only thing that helped was a daily dose of Claritin. When we moved back to the states, it went away. I visited England 5 years later, and on the return flight: return of itching. Just this morning, 20 years out of Wales, it’s started again. I vote for mold. This has been a weird spring following a very mild winter. Scratching my hands and feet, waiting for antihistamine to do its thing.

    • Oh no! I feel for you and frustrating not knowing quite what is causing it. My symptoms haven’t returned to my hands… just to my eyes and nose. Glad you’ve found somewhere that you don’t react though. Great news.

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