Itchy Skin Below the Knees
Itchy skin in the area below the knees, also called pruritus, can be uncomfortable and debilitating. Although itchy skin can sometimes be normal in appearance, it can also look red, bumpy and rough. Because itchy skin can be frustrating, it is important for the sufferer to understand what kind of conditions can cause it and how it can be treated.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, itchy skin below the knee area can create an uncomfortable sensation that promotes the need to scratch. The itchy feeling can be localized just in the area below the knee, but it can also spread to other areas of the bodies. It can make daily activities difficult, especially if the itch is stubborn and lasts longer than six weeks. A prolonged itch such as this is called chronic pruritus.
Although the exact reason an itch occurs is not currently known, the American Academy of Dermatology explains that it involves the response of the body's nerves to chemicals such as histamines. An itch below the knee can be due to a skin disease such as hives, eczema or chicken pox. In addition, it can be caused by an internal disorder such as hepatitis, lymphomas or kidney failure. Parasite infestation, such as lice or scabies, can also cause severe itching on the body.
In order to treat itchy skin in the knee area, a doctor must determine the exact cause for the pruritus. To ease itchiness during treatment, the sufferer can apply a cold compress to the skin below the knees. In addition, lotions that contain camphor, calamine or pramoxine can also help to soothe itchiness. Large amounts of paraffin and petrolatum can also be beneficial. A doctor may also suggest a prescription antihistamine, opiod-receptor antagonist medication, or corticosteroid.
Even though there are a variety of conditions that can cause itchy skin, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests basic ways to prevent pruritus. An itchy skin sufferer should only shower or take a bath in lukewarm or tepid water. This is because hot water can strip the skin of moisture. In addition, it is important that all soap is washed off once bathing is finished. Soaps and cleansers should be mild with a pH balance that is low.
The Mayo Clinic warns that chronic scratching and itching may cause itchiness to intensify. Without treatment, this can cause a condition called neurodermatitis. This causes frequently scratched areas of skin to turn leather-like and thick. The color can be darker or redder than the surrounding skin. In addition, repeatedly scratching the area below the knees can cause permanent scarring, hyperpigmentation of the skin or even a bacterial infection.
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