Are you experiencing itchy knees? Itchy knees can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions that range in severity, from common conditions like eczema to rare conditions like dermatofibroma. Read more below to learn 7 possible reasons you're experiencing itchy knees and how to treat it.
7 knee itch causes
This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a non-contagious chronic skin condition that produces an itchy rash. It is caused by a genetic condition that affects the skin's ability to protect itself from bacteria and allergens. The most susceptible are those with a family hi...
Allergic contact dermatitis of the knee
Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.
Top Symptoms: knee redness, knee itch, scabbed area of the knee
Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the knee: knee redness
A dermatofibroma is a common skin growth that usually appears on the lower legs, but may appear anywhere on the body. These growths are benign (noncancerous). Dermatofibromas are most common in adults and are rarely found in children.
Symptoms include a hard, raised growth that is red, pink, ...
Insect bite from a chigger
Chiggers are mites that feed on humans and animals only while they are larvae, or their infant form. People can contract chiggers when they contact infected grass. Chiggers feed for three to four days on a piece of skin, and secrete a fluid that causes intense itching.
Top Symptoms: lower leg itch, lower leg redness, knee itch, ankle itch, ankle redness
Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit
Irritant contact dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis means a skin reaction that is caused by directly touching an irritating substance, and not by an infectious agent such as a bacteria or virus.
Common causes are soap, bleach, cleaning agents, chemicals, and even water. Almost any substance can cause it with prolonged exposure. Contact dermatitis is not contagious.
Anyone who works with an irritating substance can contract the condition. Mechanics, beauticians, housekeepers, restaurant workers, and health care providers are all susceptible.
Symptoms include skin that feels swollen, stiff, and dry, and becomes cracked and blistered with painful open sores.
A medical provider can give the best advice on how to heal the skin and avoid further irritation. Self-treatment can make the problem worse if the wrong creams or ointments are used.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, to find out what substances the patient comes into contact with, and through physical examination of the damaged skin.
Treatment involves avoiding the irritating substance if possible. Otherwise, the person can use petroleum jelly on the hands underneath cotton and then rubber gloves.
Top Symptoms: rash with well-defined border, itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, painful rash, red rash
Symptoms that always occur with irritant contact dermatitis: rash with well-defined border
Symptoms that never occur with irritant contact dermatitis: fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes
Psoriasis causes an overgrowth of surface skin cells, creating a red, scaly, itchy, and painful rash.
It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its own healthy skin cells. It may be genetic in origin but triggered by anything that further strains the immune system, such as infections, skin injury, alcohol consumption, obesity, smoking, and stress.
Symptoms may come and go in cycles lasting weeks or months. They include red patches of thickened skin, sometimes with gray-white scales; dry, cracked, bleeding skin; stiff and swollen joints; and thickened, misshapen nails.
It is important to see a medical provider for care, because psoriasis can interfere with quality of life. It is associated with higher risk of arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
Treatment involves different combinations of topical medications, oral medications, and phototherapy with natural or artificial light. Lifestyle changes such as improved diet, quitting smoking, and managing stress are very helpful in many cases.
Top Symptoms: itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, rash with well-defined border, painful rash, scaly rash
Symptoms that never occur with psoriasis: fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Scabies is a rash caused by the microscopic human itch mite. It burrows into the top layer of skin to feed and causes severe itching and irritation.
The mite spreads through direct contact or through infested bedding or furniture. It can infect anyone, though most susceptible are:
- Sexually active young adults.
- Anyone with a weakened immune system.
- Patients in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Symptoms include intense itching, especially at night, and a rash of tiny red bumps. Scratching may cause the rash to form sores, scales, or crusts. The rash most often forms between the fingers, in the folds of the wrists and elbows, and any place normally covered by clothing.
It is important to get treatment because the scratching can cause an infection in the skin. In children, mites can cover nearly the entire body.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination and skin test.
Treatment involves a prescription for skin cream. Everyone who has come into contact with the affected person must be treated, even if they show no symptoms.
Top Symptoms: vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal redness, feeling itchy or tingling all over, butt itch, elbow itch
Urgency: Primary care doctor
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Questions your doctor may ask about knee itch
To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:
- Did you possibly brush into poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac?
- Any fever today or during the last week?
- Do you have a rash?
- Do you have skin changes anywhere that skin touches or rubs other skin (such as the back of the knee, inside of the elbow or wrist, or the armpit)?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.
Knee itch symptom checker statistics
People who have experienced knee itch have also experienced:
- 14% Lower Leg Itch
- 11% Upper Leg Itch
- 6% Ankle Itch
People who have experienced knee itch were most often matched with:
- 66% Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
- 33% Allergic Contact Dermatitis Of The Knee
People who have experienced knee itch had symptoms persist for:
- 28% Less than a day
- 26% Less than a week
- 24% Over a month
Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.
Female, 24. Frequent itching around knees, up to thigh. No visible rashes. Little rashes after scratching. Itching occurs night and day. No other health complications.