There are a number of different reasons that people develop rashes on their feet. One of the main reasons is a fungal infection, which can easily develop because the feet are often exposed to damp, warm conditions. An allergic reaction can often be to blame, sometimes as the result of a systemic reaction but more often because of direct contact with an allergen. Chronic skin conditions that cause rashes may tend to affect the feet, particularly psoriasis. Rashes may also be the result of an infection, either in the foot itself or from a disease that causes a general rash that affects the feet along with the rest of the body.
Fungal infection is one of the most common causes of foot rashes. This is due to two problems. The feet are often exposed to surfaces that tend to have fungal spores on them, such as shower floors or areas around pools, where people usually go barefoot. They are then frequently inside of socks and shoes, where it is warm and where sweat and moisture are trapped against the skin, providing an ideal environment for the fungus to grow. This leads to rashes such as athlete's foot, which usually require anti-fungal medications to treat.
Foot rashes can also be caused by allergic reactions. They may result from an overall allergic reaction to something a person eats or a medication he or she is taking, though this type of reaction usually affects other parts of the body as well. A more common culprit is an irritant that causes contact dermatitis when it touches the skin of the feet. Some things that frequently cause reactions on the feet include plants like poison ivy or poison oak, insect bites, and chemicals in lotions or soaps.
People with certain chronic conditions often get foot rashes. Some of the most common ones are eczema and psoriasis. These skin conditions can cause scaling, inflammation, and itching on the feet, as well as other parts of the body. They typically come and go, flaring up for periods of time before clearing up, only to re-surface again later.
Another common reason for foot rashes is infection. Diseases like chickenpox can lead to rashes on the feet as well as other parts of the body. Bacteria can also get into the skin on the feet, particularly if it is dry or cracked, and cause a rash.