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What are the Most Common Causes of Hives on the Feet?

April S. Kenyon
April S. Kenyon

Hives on the feet can be caused by any number of factors, although allergic reactions are generally the most common causes. Other possible reasons that a person might get hives include stress, medications, overexposure to sunlight or cold, perspiration, illness, and infections.

Allergic reactions to laundry detergents, insect bites, pollen, certain foods, and medications might be the cause of hives on the feet. Some individuals may even develop them due to an allergy to the material used in the socks they wear. In other instances, the soap used in bathing or the laundry detergent used to wash the socks might be the cause of feet hives. Food allergies, such as shellfish, dairy, or nut allergies can also cause this reaction, as can exposure to excessive amounts of sunlight, cold, and sweat.

Stress may cause hives on the feet.
Stress may cause hives on the feet.

Some medical conditions and illnesses might also be an underlying cause. Examples of diseases that might bring about an outbreak of hives include autoimmune diseases, lupus, and leukemia. Infections such as mononucleosis might also be an underlying reason.

High levels of emotional stress can also be the cause of hives. Stress can result in an imbalance of the hormones in the body, and any chemical imbalance in an individual can have an effect on overall health. In some instances, the skin may be affected and hives on the extremities might appear.

In some instances, an exact reason that someone gets hives cannot be determined. While they may cause a certain degree of discomfort, hives are generally not harmful, and they often disappear quickly on their own.

Hives on the feet may occur as a result of certain medications.
Hives on the feet may occur as a result of certain medications.

Symptoms of hives include raised welts on the skin, itching, and swelling. The majority will have well defined edges and may be either red or skin-toned. Often, these welts will expand and spread, joining to form large areas of raised skin. Feet hives may appear suddenly and disappear just as quickly, or they may stick around for an extended amount of time.

Overexposure to cold may cause hives on the feet.
Overexposure to cold may cause hives on the feet.

While hives generally will disappear on their own, some treatments may help alleviate itching and irritation. In some instances, however, hives on the feet may not require any treatment at all if the outbreak is mild. Treatments include showers, hot baths, antihistamines, or wrapping the foot in a tight fitting bandage. If a person has a severe reaction, or the symptoms persist for a prolonged period of time, a medical professional should be consulted.

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

We found out my little girl was allergic to our carpet shampoo when she started walking. She didn't have a crawling stage. She went from creeping to pulling up and then walking. Really, we noticed it when she started pulling up. She would get welts on her feet.

I took her to the pediatrician, who was a little puzzled. I mentioned I couldn't understand why the welts since we had just had the carpet cleaned. The doctor said she might be allergic to the carpet shampoo and suggested making sure she had socks on when she was in the den. Her room wasn't carpeted. We did, and sure enough, the hives cleared right up.

She must have grown out of the allergy. She's nine and hasn't had any recent issues.

Grivusangel

My husband got hives on his feet after taking an antibiotic. He'd never had it before, and he was on it for about two days when he started complaining of itching on his back. I looked at his back and he had big welts coming up. Then they spread down his legs to the tops of his feet.

We looked up the antibiotic and found that hives were a side effect -- not a common one, but still found several people on forums who had experienced it. Apparently, it was common enough that the medication was taken off the market. I haven't seen a reference to it in years.

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    • Stress may cause hives on the feet.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Stress may cause hives on the feet.
    • Hives on the feet may occur as a result of certain medications.
      By: blackboard1965
      Hives on the feet may occur as a result of certain medications.
    • Overexposure to cold may cause hives on the feet.
      By: laszlolorik
      Overexposure to cold may cause hives on the feet.
    • Hives.
      By: Rob Byron
      Hives.
    • Anti-itch cream can be applied to alleviate the symptoms of hives.
      By: picsfive
      Anti-itch cream can be applied to alleviate the symptoms of hives.
    • Hives on the feet may come from an allergic reaction to laundry detergent.
      By: Gra├ža Victoria
      Hives on the feet may come from an allergic reaction to laundry detergent.