What are These Red Spots on My Feet?


If you’re experiencing red spots on your feet, assess yourself for other symptoms. This will help your doctor diagnose the red spots and figure out why they’re there.

Insect bites

Have you been outside barefoot or wearing sandals? If so, then you may have been bitten by an insect, such as a:

  • chigger
  • mosquito
  • fire ant

Bites from any of these insects can produce one to several red bumps on your skin.

If you’ve been outside or around an animal that has fleas, you may have fleabites. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as corticosteroid creams or lotions, can help the itching.


If you have a history of psoriasis, the red spots on your feet may be a new flare-up. But if you’ve never had psoriasis, this might be the first sign of it. Figuring out the trigger is next. Psoriasis triggers can include:

  • dry air
  • infection
  • stress
  • excess sunlight
  • lack of sunlight
  • weak immune system

Psoriasis on the feet usually appears as pink-red patches on the bottom of your feet. The skin may be itchy, raised, and thick.

Talk to you doctor about treating your psoriasis. They may prescribe topical ointments to help.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease

If the red foot spots appear on a child less than 5 years old, they might have hand, foot, and mouth disease. This condition is a viral infection passed from person to person. Along with red spots, other symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • lack of appetite
  • sore throat
  • general sick feeling

The red spots will usually appear on the soles of the feet. Typically, there’s no treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease other than OTC pain relievers or fever reducers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Instead, the virus must run its course.


If the red spot is also filled with clear fluid or blood, you likely have a blister. Blisters are typically the result of continued friction or stress to the skin. Blisters on the feet can be caused by:

  • sunburn
  • sweating
  • tight shoes
  • allergic reactions
  • poison ivy, oak, or sumac

Blisters will typically heal on their own. Don’t pop the blister. If it pops itself, don’t pull the skin off the top of the blister. The skin helps keep infection out of the wound.

Allergic reaction

If you’re allergic to grass, other plants, or another allergen and come in contact with it, you may develop a rash. A rash is usually red, itchy, and may appear swollen.

If you have a rash on your feet, it’s important to find out the trigger of the allergic reaction.

Your doctor may prescribe allergy medication. OTC topical cortisone creams or an OTC antihistamine may also help relieve your symptoms. OTC options include:

  • fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • loratadine (Claritin)
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • brompheniramine (Dimetane)
  • chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
  • clemastine (Tavist)
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)

We don’t often inspect our feet for signs of sun damage. Sometimes, this means early stage melanoma can go unnoticed on the foot or ankle. This is the most treatable stage.

Risk factors for melanoma include:

  • having lighter skin
  • being in the sun often
  • having numerous moles

Melanoma on the feet can appear mostly red. It’ll be asymmetrical and have an irregular border. Melanoma can also occur underneath your toenails. Regularly check yourself for possible signs of melanoma.

See your doctor right away if you think you might have melanoma. The sooner you receive treatment, the better your outcome. Your doctor will take into account the severity of your melanoma to choose the best treatment option for you.

Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that typically occurs between the toes and on the foot. The area usually appears red, flaky, and can occur in just one spot or spread across the foot. Here’s how you can prevent athlete’s foot:

  • Avoid wearing tight shoes.
  • Dry your feet well after washing them.
  • Wear flip-flops in communal showers.
  • Don’t share socks or towels.

Treating athlete’s foot is relatively easy. Your doctor might recommend OTC antifungal ointment or powder for more moderate cases. If the OTC medication isn’t effective, your doctor might prescribe a topical medication or even antifungal pills.


Red spots or patches can be caused by conditions or diseases such as allergies, athlete’s foot, or blisters. Be sure to monitor the spots on your feet to ensure they don’t worsen.

Most causes aren’t serious and are easily treated at home. But if you suspect melanoma, see your doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

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