People with diabetes often experience itchiness caused by poor circulation, yeast infections or dry skin, according to the American Diabetes Association. Poor circulation typically affects the lower legs and causes localized itchiness. A common fungal infection, known as Candida albicans, sometimes triggers moist, itchy rashes between the toes that are sometimes surrounded by scales or blisters. Skin discomfort is often among the earliest symptoms of diabetes.
One common problem that causes itching in people with diabetes is athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that causes redness, itchiness and cracking of the skin, explains Cleveland Clinic. Eruptive xanthomatosis is another condition that sometimes causes itching on the feet and legs. A result of poorly managed blood sugar or high triglycerides in the blood, this condition causes patches of yellow, pea-like bumps ringed by red halos on the skin.
Diabetics are at high risk of developing serious complications from minor skin problems, because high blood sugar impedes healing, Cleveland Clinic warns. However, they can prevent many skin-related complications if they practice careful hygiene, such as keeping the skin clean and dry and avoiding very hot water when washing, the American Diabetes Association notes. Experts also advise against bubble baths and recommend moisturizing soaps and lotions to prevent overly dry skin. However, they do not recommend using lotion between the toes because too much moisture aids fungal growth. Checking the feet every day for cuts or blisters, wearing properly fitting shoes and treating any problems promptly to protect against infections are very important as well.