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501096 tn?1320878532

Itchy ankles without a rash

For the last 18 months I have had recurring problems with itchy ankles.  It is intermittent, but lasts for weeks or months at each occurrence.  The 1st time it happened it also spread to my upper thighs, lower abdomen and even my armpits a little, but it hasn't been as bad since.  There is no rash, but I scratch until it bleeds and then I have sores/scabs.  My internist, allergist, and dermatologist each gave it a different name and each prescribed a different medication.  The high-powered steroid ointment only helps a little and only after days/weeks of use (makes me wonder if the ointment helped or if it just got better on its own).  I find myself using Caladryl and Lanacane in between uses of the prescription ointment (twice a day).  My ankles start itching in the evening (after supper) and keeps on until I fall asleep.  I shower at night, but it doesn't seem to affect the itching.  My belly seems to itch when I'm dressing or undressing, but occasionally bothers me at other times.  No new soaps, etc. and I use dye & perfume-free detergents.  Anyone have any ideas?  I, too, am tired of itching and being told it's stress.  The scars look awful, but I can't stop myself from scratching.  I also have hypothyroidism and 2 clotting disorders, if that matters.
13 Responses
Avatar universal

This itchiness or known medically as pruritus may be due to several factors. Differentials shall include genetic and autoimmune factors like allergies. Also environmental or external triggers like extreme temperatures, heat, dust and chemicals need to be considered. Importantly, internal disease conditions which may manifest as pruritus need to be ruled out.

In your case, you have mentioned of hypothyroidism and clotting disorders. Would you be able to elaborate more on these clotting disorders?

Also ,is your hypothyroidism well managed and the thyroid hormone levels well controlled?
Ankle itching could be due to pooling of venous blood due to venous insufficiency. Keep legs elevated or wear stockings when sitting for long.
501096 tn?1320878532
Thanks for taking time to help me.  In March I suffered my 2nd miscarriage (I have 3 healthy kids) and given that my sister had recently had a blood clot in the lung, my OB thought it prudent to run some tests.  He discovered that I have MTHFR and Factor V Leiden clotting disorders.  For now I am on low-dose aspirin and Metanx.

He also checked my TSH which was 2.74 in October.  My TSH had risen to 3.11 in April.  He increased my dosage of synthroid from 50 mcg to 75 mcg about 2 weeks ago.  I have to go back to be re-tested in another couple of weeks.  I've read that up to 4.0 is in the "normal" range; however, I also saw that if you do have a problem, your TSH should be kept under 2.0.  My OB consulted an endocrinologist who said he too preferred to keep the TSH close to the low end.

I had allergy testing done shortly after this problem first started and was taking bi-weekly "maintenance" shots until 2 weeks ago (my decision to stop due to the SLIGHT chance that it contributed to my miscarriage).  I had several allergies, but not a lot and none were extremely severe.  This problem does not seem to coincide with my seasonal allergies and I am not an "outdoor" person.  My allergist also confirmed that I have mild asthma.

I appreciate anything you have to offer--I am sick to death of itching, scratching (or bruising if I try not to use my nails), sores, and small blood stains on my clothes.
Avatar universal

I have the feeling that your thyroid problem may be associated with the itching. Continue with your thyroid medications and let us await the results of your thyroid tests. It is best to see how things will be once the thyroid hormones are more stable and maintained.

Also, you are not on any allergy medications now?

Do you have any known allergies to medications?

Any other known conditions like diabetes ?
501096 tn?1320878532

I'm hoping that's all it is and that the increased dosage will help.  So many of the "problems" (reduced fertility, m/c, fatigue, weight gain, unable to lose wt, frequent heavy periods, hair loss, etc.) I have seem to trace back to hypothyroidism, but I can't seem to get my doctors to agree with me.  How long do you think it will take for the new dosage to take effect?

My allergist recommends Zyrtec since I'm trying to get pregnant again, but it makes me so sleepy, I just can't take it.  I did try using antihistamines at one point, but it didn't seem to do any good.

The only med I'm allergic to is Compazine, but I don't tolerate e-mycin very well.

Aside from being a little overweight, the clotting disorders, asthma, allergies, and hypothyroidism, I'm relatively healthy.  We have a family history of kidney problems (stones, infections, malformations) on my dad's side, but I've only had 1 bout with a kidney stone in 2001.  All 3 of my kids have suffered from ureteral reflux as well.  Both my parents were diagnosed with diabetes, but not until late in life (60's & 70's), but I don't have it.  I believe the dermatologist checked for that last year.  I never even had gestational diabetes.

I'll let you know what the TSH level is in a few weeks.

Thanks again.
501096 tn?1320878532
Hi, again,

I thought I'd let you know that my TSH results came back--my dr. ran it early since I had to come in to have my progesterone checked.  My TSH was down to 2.68 from 3.11 and my legs have improved.  The dr. had hoped my TSH would be lower, so he increased my dose from 75 mcg. to 100 mcg.  I will have my level checked again on 6/23/08.
Avatar universal
Hi i have itchy ankles only in the day its unberable...i dont know if its caused from my diabetes. i have no rash or no marks just itches...i think i should get it checked out but i hate the doctors i dont like bad news...
501096 tn?1320878532
I know the feeling!  I'm no expert and I'm still not sure if my problem has been "permanently" resolved or not, but since my OB/GYN increased my synthroid dosage, my itching has disappeared.  My dosage was 50mcg which he increased to 75 in April.  In May he again increased the dosage to 100mcg and I am feeling like a normal human being again.  Of course, my itching tends to come and go (for weeks at a time), so I may just be having "good spell" right now.  I don't have diabetes, so I don't know if that could be causing the itching or not, but--like you--there is no rash or anything except for the sores/scars from where I've scratched.  My itching doesn't wake me at night, but apparently I have scratched in my sleep because I would sometimes awaken with blood on my sheets or pajamas.

I have seen my internist, an allergist, and a dermatologist for this, but all they did was prescribe ointment which I felt was just treating a symptom and not addressing the cause.  Check with a doctor (or 2 or 3) until you figure out what's wrong.  I think liver problems can cause itching.  Make them do bloodwork if "simple" solutions don't work or are only temporary.

Let me know what happens.  Best wishes.
554173 tn?1215351279
I have type 1 diabetes and for a couple of months now I've had the same problem with my ankles. First I noticed my feet were swolen, then my ankles started itching so badly they would wake me up every single night.

If I put hydrocortisone cream on them and let it soak in before lying down at night, I can usually sleep through the night. That might be worth a shot while you're trying to figure out what the cause is. I definitely want to find out the cause so I can put an end to this misery.
501096 tn?1320878532
Thanks for your input.  I think kylie_Chantelle would also be interested to hear about your experience.  As for me, I tried Cortaid, Lanacane, and Caladryl at different times, but if they worked, it was only a little and only briefly.  The dermatologist gave me a super-strong cortisone (?) ointment and it helped eventually, but I got really tired of using sticky, greasy ointment twice a day.  My OB/GYN recently increased my synthroid and the itching disappeared.  In the last couple of weeks I've been getting little hints that it might be coming back, but I don't know...we'll see.  Thanks again.
501096 tn?1320878532
Sorry to be so long in getting back with you, but it's been a roller coaster ride for me.  To re-cap: In April my doctor increased my synthroid from 50 to 75 mcg, but my TSH only went from 3.11 to 2.68.  My itching went away in the meantime; however, it has always had a tendency to come and go.  My synthroid was increased again from 75 to 100 mcg. in May.  In late June, my TSH was re-checked and it came back as 0.18, so the next week the doctor decreased my synthroid back to 88 mcg.  About the same time, the itching returned, but it hasn't gotten too bad so far.  I know the timing of the itching's return and the reduced synthroid has to be coincidence, since the change hadn't had time to affect my symptoms.  Unfortunately, I feel like I'm back to square 1 with this itching.  Any other ideas?
Avatar universal
HI, i m suffering from itching near my ankle but on 1 side and it has swollen up and its in one leg only and in the itching side only and the other side of the same ankle is normal and not itching too. i strached it and i hv pain in my knee too is that due to increase in uric acid?
Avatar universal
I have itchy ankles on and off for a few years..  I tried Cortisone, Calamine, Aloe, and epson salts. All these things helped but only to a point. I recently read online about Aveeno Anti Itch lotion. I figured it was worth a try since it seemed to help a lot of people. I have got to say that it cured my problem completely. I put it on twice a day for a few days just because I thought I would need it. Especially before bed where I was sleeping with my legs out from under the covers since the contact with the sheets increased the itch.  I have not had an itch since I first tried it. I havent put it on for 2 days now. I may wait to see how long I go before it returns but at least I know how to fix it now. Just be sure it says "Anti Itch" on the front of the bottle. 4 oz between $6 and $10.  About $10 at CVS and $6 online at Walmart. and Amazon.
I have had this same set of symptoms which is what motivated me to google search the itchy ankles syndrome. I have tended to think it was related to dry skin and have tried to use skin lotion. This seems to have some effect, but not consistently and lately it is driving me crazy. I also think it is related to wearing wool socks - it is winter now. I will try the Aveeno Anti Itch lotion and see if that helps. I think this is one of those issues that doctors do not really know how to diagnose yet.
14688142 tn?1435895676
I used to manage my bedtime itchy ankles problem taking Waldryl (Walmart benedryl).  But I prefer a cure rather than just masking symptoms.  By chance, I noted when I began taking ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium & B6) at bedtime to try to get better sleep and balance hormone levels, the itch condition went away.  I used Optimum Nutrition brand which I got on Amazon.  Good luck!
Meant Waldryl = Walgreens Benedryl... not Walmart.  :D
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