Itchy Calves

July 17th, 2009

I can already picture the responses I’ll likely get from this one: “TALK TO A DOCTOR!” I have. In fact, I have talked to five doctors about this and not one person has been able to tell me anything. The best response I’ve gotten is, “Put some lotion on it.”

This post might feature a little too much information. But what’s a personal blog without a little too much over-sharing? Am I right?

Here’s the skinny: My calves regularly itch something fierce. And red raised bumps form because I scratch them so much. And sometimes I scratch for so long, they bleed. It’s not all the time and it has nothing to do with an allergy. Nor does it have anything to do with shaving, the type of razor I’m using or a certain laundry detergent. It just happens for seemingly no reason at all. And I’m sick of it.

I’ve looked it up online and while I’ve found a lot of people complain about this exact problem, they always blame it on excessively dry skin. I am not convinced this is the case even though several doctors (including a dermatologist) have said the same thing.

Here’s why I’m not buying it. I’m blaming it on something bigger, something I refer to as “The Big H”.

One time I was sitting with an endocrinologist discussing my post-pregnancy hyperthyroidism (which is now gone, thank goodness.) He was trying to figure out based on initial tests if I had Grave’s disease. (At first glance people have thought this due to my large and relatively buggy eyes.) He asked me to look certain ways, do certain things with my jaw and facial muscles, and at one point he asked me to show him my shins.

“Why?” I asked as I pulled up my pant legs, which at that point were fairly normal and not covered in itchy red bumps.

He didn’t answer. I continued. “I’m asking because while you can’t see it right now, I get this strange itchy rash on my calves very often and it’s maddening. Sometimes I scratch them so badly they bleed. Is this related to my thyroid? Is this a hormonal thing?”

“No.” He said. “That’s probably due to dry skin.”

We moved on.

I still have no idea why this happens to me and it’s troubling. It still happens almost every evening. I apply lotion and nothing seems to help, in fact some of the mildest of lotions tend to burn.

I’m writing today to find out if anyone out there has ever had this. I know it exists for other women; I have had conversations with people about it, but no one knows why. We all just deal with it.

Here’s what I can offer:

  • It miraculously stop right at each knee.
  • It only seems to happen to women.
  • The red bumps appear at the hair follicles only.
  • It’s worse along the sides and on my calves, not as prevalent on the shins themselves.
  • It MAY flare up during certain times of month, I am not sure if I’m making this up or if it’s true.
  • It happens all year round.

If you have any information at all regarding this very annoying problem, please do kindly share it with me. If you just think I’m some kind of leper, keep that bit to yourself because I already feel that way on my own accord. :]


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107 Comments on “Itchy Calves”

  1. Milissa said at 8:14 am on July 17th, 2009:

    I had something similar. I’m sure you’ve probably tried some of these things, but I’ll chime in just in case.

    We started noticing that our water sometimes had a chlorine smell to it, a very strong smell. But only occasionally. I experimented with pouring a little bottled water over my shins after a shower to rinse them. It seemed to help.

    The other thing we did was switch soap. I tried Zest because it is supposed to rinse off better than other soaps and not leave as much residue. It also seemed to help.

    I have no idea if either of these things actually helped or if it was all just coincidence. And it sounds as though what you have is much more severe than what I had. So feel free to ignore me! ;-)

  2. Heather said at 8:36 am on July 17th, 2009:

    Ok, this probably isn’t it at all, but I’ll throw it out there for consideration.

    My husband had a rash on his shins that wouldn’t go away for ages.. then, when he went to donate blood, and they tested his blood, as they always do, they discovered he had West Nile Viris.

    Antibiotics cleared it all up.

  3. Karen said at 9:52 am on July 17th, 2009:

    I get the same thing quite regularly. I get this need to scratch my shins and calves. Sometimes it is so bad that I just can’t stop scratching and like yourself I end up making myself bleed and I can see nail lines in my skin. It is like no amount of scratching will take the itch away. I have noticed it happens mainly at night when I have changed for bed.
    I have not got dry skin nor have I got a problem with any washing powders or soaps etc. I do have really bad circulation and suffer from Raynauds Syndrome though and have always assumed it was my poor circulation making it happen.

    Thank you for bring the subject up because it would be interesting to find out what else it could be.

  4. Karen said at 9:55 am on July 17th, 2009:

    By the way I also get those funny red bumps you mentioned, like I am coming out in hives!

  5. mihow said at 10:03 am on July 17th, 2009:

    OMG! Karen!!! I have Raynauds Syndrome as well. I was diagnosed with it in my late teens. I never even thought that could be the culprit. So fascinating!

  6. Karen Abram said at 10:21 am on July 17th, 2009:

    I was also diagnosed with it in my late teens. It was so bad back then that I would get chilblains on my fingers!

  7. MommaA said at 10:47 am on July 17th, 2009:

    My little brother gets itchy legs for no apparent reason and uses aloe vera gel on them and it seems to help…

  8. Brad said at 10:51 am on July 17th, 2009:

    Doesn’t really say anything about the itching, but that doesn’t seem out of the question given the circulation issues. Also note, at the bottom of that page, a potential link to thyroid conditions. Worth considering anyway.

  9. Stacia said at 11:23 am on July 17th, 2009:

    wow you describe what i have… i’ve been to a dermatologist about the exact same problem and for me it’s got a name but i’m drawing a blank. it’s basically the hair follicels getting all jammed up. not like a zit though, just inflamed, causing the itching and red bumps, etc. i also get it on the back of my arms but those don’t itch like my legs. i notice the itching more when i’ve been working out and all sweaty for some reason…. the derm gave me a soap to use and lotion but i’ve been too lazy to use it yet. lol. so i’m not sure it works….

  10. Annie said at 11:27 am on July 17th, 2009:

    I’ve had a persistent, dry, itchy spot on the back of my left calve. it occurred during pregnancy, but did not go away after I had my son. I would make it bleed by scratching so much.

    then I found another spot on my thigh.

    yesterday I noticed my thigh spot was a circle – the calve does not have any pattern or shape. my husband, as well as a few medical websites, seem to think it’s ringworm. my hubby used bleach to get rid of his ringworm, so I’ll scrub the spots tonight. hopefully it works!

  11. Julie said at 1:00 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    have you tried applying a thin layer of 1% hydrocortisone? That seems to help my husbands mild case of eczema.

  12. Laurel said at 1:05 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    I have had some of this too, and I’ve come to the (tentative) conclusion that it’s related to easily ingrown hairs. However, I also have low blood pressure, so based on some of the comments, maybe I need to talk to my doctor. Rubbing alcohol and lotion have helped, but the problem has never gone away.

  13. Norm said at 1:38 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    Actually, I have something very similar going on! It’s like bites, only not. Same locations and so forth. So it’s not just women, not that that really helps.

  14. mihow said at 1:43 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    Laurel: Do you add the rubbing alcohol after shaving? Like aftershave? I thought about this, that maybe it’s something like razor burn (although, i have actually let my hairs grow to find out if it goes away and it didn’t seem to help.) Let me know when you use that. I may give it a shot.

    Norm: OK! That’s good to know. So it may not be some weird annoying hormonal thing after all. I would be happier if it’s not that.

    Julie: I have tried Hydrocortisone and it does lessen the itch but it doesn’t seem to solve the problem. :[

  15. jennifer said at 2:46 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    i would try either some jojoba oil (great moisturizer that doesnt clog pores – apply just after shower or anytime you want actually) or aloe from the plant – one of those two always work for my skin issues – hope you get better

  16. MommaA said at 3:01 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    When I went to cosmetolgy school they taught us that tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and clears many dermetological ailments up… I forgot about it until jennifer mentioned jojoba oil. Might give tea-tree oil a try it can be purchased easily at beauty stores for cheap.

  17. mihow said at 3:26 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    You guys are awesome. I will pick some up this weekend. (I LOVE both of those oils. Much thanks!)

  18. Enia said at 11:43 pm on July 17th, 2009:

    I totally get that! It kept getting misdiagnosed until I went to a fancy cosmetic dermatologist for something else who said the same thing as Stacia’s (it sounds like). It’s genetic so there’s no curing it but you can manage it with a prescription lotion that has ammonium lactate in it.

  19. Jonathan said at 12:51 pm on July 18th, 2009:

    So 3 comments:

    1) Is there any chance this could just be some sort of allergy or stress reaction ?

    I have both allergies and stress; until I was put on zyrtec it wouldn’t be uncommon for my entire arms , legs, or torso to get covered in giant welts. Depending on the timings, it would repeat in the same places.

    2) My gf kept having something similar in her armpits. She will kill me for sharing this , by the way. She would break out and get itchy rashes and pimples. It was, obviously, an allergic reaction to a few brands of all-natural deoderant , exacerbated by her insistence on shaving daily. I had her go on Amazon for customer reviews to find alternatives and other people with the situation, and CosmeticsDatabase too. Then I told her that I wouldn’t hang out with her if she shaved that week. “miraculously” the problem cleared up.

    3) I had a patch of eczema between my shin and calf. I have no idea what that area is. called. Being of European descent, my legs are overly hairy, and the medication wasn’t setting in. So I tried a tip I found online — I started shaving that 6″ round patch so the medication would go on it, and not my hair or layers of dead skin. Unsurprisingly, it started to clear right up.

    2+3) The moral of these 2 is that sometimes shaving can irritate the skin itself or make it easier for irritants to get in there… and conversely it can sometimes help medication sink in through the magic of eliminating hair and exfoliating the outer layers.

  20. jacqueline c said at 12:33 am on July 19th, 2009:

    I have also had this problem!

    I initially pegged it as dry wintry skin, so I bought a creamy body wash (something ‘natural’) to help moisturize. Strangely, the itching got worse, so I stopped with the body wash and bought some itch cream (Aveeno; again, ‘natural’). The itching became TERRIBLE after the cream but I couldn’t see any kind of redness or bumps, other than what I’d caused by scratching.

    Finally, through some miraculous accident I discovered that both the new body wash and the itch cream had an ingredient called Isopropyl Palmitate in them. Turns out that any time I use something with this, my skin goes nuts!

    I doubt this is your problem, though, since it’s a pretty ridiculous allergy to have. And I’m still not sure what caused the initial itchiness for me, either. I know chlorine makes me itch, and my old apt had pretty heavily chlorinated water. I do also have crappy circulation down yonder (and have experienced chillblains in my toes), so it might be related to that. Before I figured out my allergy, I thought it might even be folliculitis.

    I do find that shaving/exfoliating regularly actually helps any run-of-the-mill dry itch I might have. And after shaving, I usually use hand sanitizer to prevent razor burn. Oils, while I love them, make a mess of bumps.

    I hope you can find some relief!

  21. melhow said at 9:20 am on July 19th, 2009:

    For what it’s worth, you might look into Stacia’s response. Your brother doesn’t get the itchy calves but he has the red bumps she describes on the backs of his arms. Maybe it’s some sort of genetic thing.

  22. stacy said at 9:10 pm on July 19th, 2009:

    I also have thyroid problems and my itching was so intense that I scratched myself open on my arms. Check with your doctor– you may need your thyroid meds adjusted–I did and the problem went away! Thyroid meds and levels should be checked yearly, more if there are symptoms. Good luck.

  23. Kelly said at 9:04 am on July 20th, 2009:

    Hey! Don’t know about this specific problem but the best lotion/washes we’ve found for our daughter who had pretty bad eczema was California Baby Super Sensitive line… our grocery carries it, Target often does – in baby section but hey, if it works… I liked it because no parabens, nothing vaseline oriented, etc.

  24. La La said at 11:06 am on July 20th, 2009:

    Someone may have already posted this, so I’m sorry if I repeat something someone has already suggested. :-)

    I got this same exact thing about 2 or 3 months after my son was born. Doctors didn’t have a clue. No creams helped. This was my first child. I was barely 18. The marriage was already going down hill. I started the itching on my calves, right up to the back of my knees. Both of them. After a couple of days of this, as I was trying to go to sleep one night, I noticed that my jaw was clenched really, really tightly. I literally had to stick my tongue between my teeth to keep myself from clenching. I realized after a few nights of this, that it was stress causing the clenching. Once I made myself relax, I quit clenching and the itchy scratchy calves went away.

    I notice now, when life has got me stressed, these bump will appear. Maybe your monthly breakout has to do with your menstrual cycle, or ovulation. Our bodies tend to get a little more stressed during these times.

    You mentioned a good while back that you and Toby Joe were going through a “who needs to help out in other areas” type of thing. I believe I commented then and said something about always making time for some “me time”. Even if it’s just an hour a day. Well… I still suggest that. :-)

  25. Laurel said at 1:40 pm on July 20th, 2009:

    Followup: Yes, I swab on rubbing alcohol right after shaving in the shower, just like aftershave. It tightens up pores as well as killing bacteria that could infect the pores. Somebody suggested a weak bleach solution might be more effective as a disinfectant, but I hate bleach so I’m chicken to try it.

    If you have success with any of these remedies, can you please let us know? Thanks!

  26. aibee said at 6:17 pm on July 28th, 2009:

    Has anyone mentioned Keratosis Pilaris to you?

    I don’t have it, don’t know anyone who has it, have no idea why I know what it is, so can’t offer any first or second hand experience.

    But even if you don’t have KP, it at least sounds similar, doesn’t it? So maybe some of the remedies for that can do something for you too.

    One suggestion I do have, for the itching, it won’t do zip for the blocked follicles, is Vagisil. I’ve never used it for its, uh, “on label” purpose, but I bought a case of the stuff when I had chicken pox, and I covered my whole body in the stuff because nothing else worked. I’ve used it since,after an allergic reaction to god knows what. My eyes swelled up like cuh-razy and the itch, ohmahgawd, the itch. So out came the Vagisil, and I daubed it all around my swollen eyelids, and it worked there too.

    Good luck ;)

  27. Chance said at 11:46 pm on July 30th, 2009:

    I have this same problem. Except more on the shins and outside of the calves, never on the back sides. I also have never seen any abnormalities of the itchy area, bumps or otherwise. I’ve used goldbond lotion with fairly good success, but still constantly wonder what the cause may be????
    BTW, I am a man, so not a gender specific problem.

  28. Chris said at 3:20 pm on August 2nd, 2009:

    hmm, I goodled itchy calves due to my own recent onset of inssanity with this problem, and came up to you guys. It is very interesting, I have suspected I have Raynauds, as my mother does have it and I am a therapist who has treated it many times and am pretty familiar with the condition. After hearing from the couple of you, and thinking of my own troubles, now I am convinced there has to be some link here

  29. Monica said at 9:07 pm on August 3rd, 2009:

    Costco sells hydrocortisone cream for WAY cheap and it works much better than lotion. I think it’s like $6 for 3 big tubes. I went through it like crazy one summer. I had Annie’s symptoms which later spread to my ENTIRE body except my face. (Long sleeves and pants during summer in DC is awesome.) Finally got it diagnosed – nummular eczema. Stress really aggravated it.

  30. Tiffany said at 12:27 pm on September 6th, 2009:

    I get this itchy problem when im stressed and it does usually coincide with jaw-clenching. I found this page because I googled “jaw clenching and itchy” lol. my itchies are not always my calves, sometimes it might be my fingers, toes or the soles of my feet. when the itchies are on my calves i get the bumps in the hair follicles like you say but when its on my fingers and toes there are no real marks it just gets red and like i got mosquito bite or something…

  31. Danielle said at 12:13 pm on September 7th, 2009:

    Huh. I have Raynauds, and really bad circulation as well, and I have the calf-itching thing all the time but I never considered that it could be related to that. I used to think it had something to do with shaving, ’cause it’s at the hair follicles, but the timing never made sense… plus I always thought why would it stop at my calves. I’ve kind of been subconsciously blaming it on dry skin… it’s been happening for years and I’ve never considered it as potentially symptomatic of anything else.

    A lot of the above commenters said it was stress-related… that makes sense, whenever I’m stressed out my arms and legs start to itch and usually I get hives… so maybe it’s something like that? I’ll have to keep thinking about this.

  32. cheryl said at 4:18 pm on November 13th, 2009:

    I have itchy calves also. it just started out of the blue 3 days ago and has not stopped day or night. i have tried rubbing alcohol, Calamine lotion, anti itch creme and nothing stops it. i can’t afford to go to a dr. and be misdiagnosed. So I will guess I will try some of those things the rest of you has tried already. if it gets worse though, I guess I will have to go to a dr. Thanks everyone for your feedback.

  33. Jimmy Terry said at 2:43 am on November 19th, 2009:

    I found this site just doing a google on the symptoms. I itch mostly on my sock line, shins (front side of the leg) just short of the knees. I used to ignore it, figuring dry skin, but after years, I started trying to exfoliate often because nothing really helps. Gold Bond, tea tree (I use Miracle Oil) lotions, alcohol, peroxide. I’ve experimented and haven’t found an answer yet. Am too scared perhaps to go to a doctor and find it’s some sort of Auto Immune something or other. It isn’t that it’s that bothersome until I scratch, it’s just that it doesn’t go away that’s annoying.

  34. Chili said at 8:56 am on December 7th, 2009:

    Im getting the impression that with all the mention of stress and jaw clenching alongside our common phantom “itchy calf syndrome” that there is a strong possibility that anxiety/hyperactive adrenals is behind this.
    Adrenaline heats the body, and people who suffer anxiety often also suffer from skin problems. I wonder if the calves are more susceptible because they are a leaner area of the body?
    I have found that cold water is great to reduce inflammation such as exzema and allergy rashes.
    The ocean is great to disinfect with the salt component, draw energy to calm the nervous system and cools the skin simultaniously (but fresh water to rinse after or its too drying).
    Its a strange and incredibly annoying affliction, I’d like to see more research on the correlation beween anxiety/stress and skin disturbances??
    Hope I was remotely enlightening?

  35. Dan said at 9:43 am on December 13th, 2009:

    I get patches of red, rashy skin on my calves, on the sides of my calves and on my forearms. a patch in the exact same spot on each arm and leg – and they itch. I too have scratched until I bled, which is horrid – and even then – it’s still itchy. It gets much worse in the winter for me – so I have always assumed it was some kind of eczema.
    The one and ONLY cream I have tried that seems to work – is called Elocom. It’s a prescription cream – and i have to use it religiously whenever i get an outbreak. I usually apply it at night. The next morning much of the redness has gone down – so I’ll apply it again and that really keeps it under control. Ask your doctor about it. It’s a strong hydrocortisone cream – you’ll need a prescription, but – it works – at least for me.
    Good luck.

  36. Simon P said at 6:12 am on December 14th, 2009:

    I’ve suffered with this for a few years, it seemed to start following surgery (which was on my wrist, not on the legs!). Always goes away in the summer, recurs with colder/ cooler weather. No dryness. My cure — heat the affected area with a hair dryer for a few minutes. The itching disappears completely for several hours, recurrence depends upon how cold my legs get. Going out on my bicycle in the cold weather always brings it back with a vengeance!

    Hope my rather unorthodox solution helps a few others.

  37. Don said at 9:02 pm on February 7th, 2010:

    I fell in the ocean a few years ago, scratched up my shin. From that point on I had an itch there that would not go away. Sometimes I thought it was about to end, then it would becoming absolutely intolerable, with the skin burning, besides the intense itch. Scratch till bleed, welts etc. like others here.

    I tried every cream listed with no luck. I thought I has some sort of infection, but the Derm said it was common, there was no cure, and wouldn’t go away. The cream they gave me for “flare ups” was a steroid cream and the only thing that did help: Desoximetasone. This comes in various strengths, the strong one can only be used for a short time ’cause it weirds your skin somehow (thins it or something, I forget) but it does help you stop itching for a few days/week.
    No luck in terms of a long term solution. I went so far as to apply a mild bleach to it a few times and may go back to that. This occupies way too much of my consciousness and gotta find some way to diminish the itchy feeling.
    Other rituals: wash feet to remove perspiration before bed. This does reduce perspiration collecting in the sheets. Perspiration does aggravate it for sure, as others here have mentioned.

    Thanks everyone for posting.

  38. Jennelle said at 2:25 pm on April 8th, 2010:

    I’ve had this problem since my son was born 17 years ago. Went to the dermatologist to get help but was told to stop shaving and stop using soap. Didn’t help one bit. My favorite treatments (but not cure!) are: new shaver every week; shave every day; Jergens Ultra Healing lotion (nothing else works); soft water. I still have occasional flareups but this combination seems to keep this mess at bay. And after reading other posts, I am noticing that stress increases the condition. Hmmmmm. thanks everyone for your help!

  39. Elaine said at 10:50 am on June 8th, 2010:

    I found this blog because I was trying to figure out why I have this one cirlcular redish, idented dry patch on my right calf on the outside above my knee. The skin is a dry, bumpy area. My sister, oddly, has the same on both legs! As I was reading above, I noticed I had my leg crossed which was pressing on that very spot–could the poor circulation of the contant pressure be the reason? So weird how I just figured it out–it must be a genetic thing too on the skin type my sister and I have. I will try hard not to cross my leg in future. If this helps anyone else-that would be great.

  40. Christian said at 10:44 am on September 15th, 2010:

    On the general subject of itchy skin, on the calves in particular, but the whole lower body at its worst, and particularly in winter, I’ve found something simple to be ludicrously effective. I tried all kinds of moisturizers, oils, etc., and found that they were only semi-useful. Some better than others, most better than nothing, but none managed it well enough to be comfortable, or get rapid relief. I had to remember to use it every day, sometimes more than once.

    Until I noticed a couple articles that said to make sure to moisturize right after showering, while your skin was still damp. That did help, some, but is hard to replicate, and skin dries fast in winter. So I simply started squirting some water into my hand along with the moisturizer, and mixing. Voila! Now, moisturizer provides instant relief, and my skin stays moister for longer, allowing me to forget for a day or two. You can “dilute” your moisturizer with water in the bottle to get the same effect. What you’re doing is just giving the fats and oils in the moisturizer the chance to blend with and bond to the water, taking it into your skin and keeping it there, where it’s needed. I think the moisturizer companies have become convinced that people like their product goopy-er, and imagine this makes it more useful. For me at least, watering it down makes it work far better, and far longer. FWIW. YMMV.

  41. Tracy said at 8:06 pm on October 4th, 2010:

    I think your suspicion of thyroid is likely correct. Thyroid problems are autoimmune related. I have Sjogrens and Rheumatoid which are both auto immune diseases I get flare ups of insane itchinf on both calves, inside my legs and arms. The weird part is they are on the same location on each arm and leg. I believe its part of an autoimmune flare up related to the central nervous system. I have no rash but the bumps and sometimes bleeding after itching so much. I know if I go to the doctor it will be the same old, dermititis dx or they won’t know what is causing it. This seems unlikely because the itching is on the exact same spots on both arms and legs and none on my body. Sometimes my face flames bright red for no particular reason. I’ve been given steroid cream for that, but no doctor really knows what it is. At least I’ve had no straight forward answer so far. Well good luck to us all.

  42. Melissa said at 2:57 am on December 26th, 2010:

    Like many of you, I Googled “itchy calves” and it led me here. It’s 2:54 a.m. and the itching is keeping me awake. It’s driving me insane.

    It’s been like this for weeks now. It’s on my sock line, on the fronts of both calves. It’s not red (at least, it wasn’t… until I began scratching). To the naked eye, my skin doesn’t appear dry. However, when I wear dark pants and then take them off, I do find flakes of dry skin inside the calves of my pants.

    I had been writing this off as winter dryness. However, I’m also overweight, so naturally I got concerned about diabetes (which I don’t have) or poor circulation.

    Regular lotion just burns, as does calamine and hydrocortisone. Lately I have been wearing long-legged pajama bottoms to bed so I don’t scratch myself open in my sleep.

    I have gotten some relief just seeing the rest of you suffer (sorry) :) and am going to try some of your suggestions as soon as possible.

  43. Kendra said at 5:52 pm on December 28th, 2010:

    Just like everyone else on here I found this site thanks to googling red bumps calves. I have had the same symptoms since my 10-year-old was born. It only took me 10 years to decide enough was enough. I looked up Keratosis pilaris like Aibee suggested. It does sound quite similiar and I think I may try and get my hands on Tretinoin (which Wikipedia suggested so it must be true, right? lol) I have it mainly on the sides of my calves, that’s where the bumps are the most and it burns. I decided I was going to try waxing my legs, because I am tired of the doctor’s telling me its razorburn (even though my legs have an inch of hair on them, hmm) and I have the same bumps on the backs of my arms and I don’t shave them. I waxed one leg yesterday and though my leg burns today it looks like the red bumps have decreased. I also put Finipil on after waxing, so I think that may have had a large part in it. Something else I find interesting is I also have Raynaud’s, and seeing how many not just on this sight have the same issues I am starting to believe it all has something to do with it. My bumps never go away, always constantly there, just depends on how bad they itch, sometimes not as bad as other times. I also grit my teeth at night, even though I don’t feel stressed lol I’ve never liked exfoliating my legs cuz I feared it was some sort of rash like razorburn and the exfoliation would only make it more painful, but enough is enough! I plan on exfoliating and medicating and if I ever figure out something that will make it go away I will shout it out to the world! But, I have already chalked it up as something chronic and hope in the very least to be able to get it under control so I don’t look like I’ve been shaving with rusty razors everytime I go to the beach…not to mention the burning from the saltwater! Ugh!

  44. mihow said at 6:21 pm on December 28th, 2010:

    Y’all: mine ended up being eczema. I was prescribed a steroidal cream and it cleared up immediately. Granted, I am unable to use it while pregnant and so I’m itchy and suffering again, but come February! I’m bathing in it!

    Anyway, I highly suggest asking your doctor about eczema. A dermatologist FINALLY diagnosed me and I’ve had much better luck with it ever since. :]

    I hope this helps!

  45. Kendra said at 12:13 am on December 29th, 2010:

    Yeah I thought mine might be eczema as well. My youngest son had it really bad when he was a baby and its much better now. I never had it on my legs until I was pregnant so that’s strange that you have it during your pregnancy too. I used to use the same stuff on my legs as I used for my son and it helped sooth it but never went away. There is, however, a noticeable difference in my red hair follicles on the leg I waxed versus the unwaxed leg (yes I am experimenting by only doing one leg…actually its more cuz I needed to take a break from the pain lol) Anyways, I used to buy this lotion stuff for my son that I got at Walgreens. It was sold in the baby aisle so I bet you could use it now while you are pregnant. I got into a normal regime with him after getting him out of the bathtub. I would lather him up with hydrocortisone and this lotion (I think it was called Eczema Care or something like that) It came in more of a plastic white jar with a green label. I kept stock in it cuz it really helped. He had it so bad his skin would crack and bleed so sometimes I had to use polysporin as well. That’s why I just figured it was the same thing that I have on my legs but no doctor seems to agree with me…they stick with the “razorburn” theory lol

  46. Kendra said at 12:23 am on December 29th, 2010:

    Ok so I hunted down the stuff I was talking about. I just found it on this website, but like I said, I used to buy it at Walgreens (even though that’s the only place I could find it…8 years ago). I think I might go down tomorrow and see if they still carry it and maybe I will see if I can get this to clear up completely. Good luck!

  47. Kendra said at 12:23 am on December 29th, 2010:

    Helps if I add the link lol

  48. ellen said at 8:20 pm on January 14th, 2011:

    Wow others out there…really hot showers help temporarily and I do mean hot…then I take Benedryl to sleep..because if not I might be up all night…I am going to a dermotologist…what should I ask?…I went to an allergist, but tested negative to everything…Like others said creams don’t work…I thought is might be our three dogs and cat; but I have had animals for years…It sometimes goes away; but then its back again…HELP ! thanks..I am going to try the hair dryer, it couldn’t hurt.

  49. jodie said at 7:19 am on February 13th, 2011:

    omg – i have an over active thyroid, and excema. I have been treated with massive amounts of oral cortisone in the past. Diprosone provides some relief as well as the solarium/sunburn ( crazy i know) The ocean is fantastic when I can stand the pain. I run on like a nervous energy constantly and I am unable to sleep, therefore creating fatigue during the day, therefore making me drink rediculous amounts of coke, and leading to too much caffine bla bla bla. * you get the idea. I am not allergic to anything. I seem to scratch cause it feels good. I scratch when Im angry or tired. I scratch in my sleep. I dont have a full nights unbroken sleep cause I wake scratching, or with athsma. I am constantly exhausted or running in some kind of overdrive. I have also found that strangely enough a blast with the hair dryer will provide instant relief if a cold shower isnt an option. I am thinking about going to a hypnotherapist to try and break the ‘habitual’ and subconcious scratching I do. I am 38 and have only started to analyse when and why im scratching now. Im just so freaking over it its not funny. No one has answers, not dietitians, herbalists, natropaths, dermatologists,acupuncturists, allergists…I mean f**k we can put a man on the freaking moon, cant someone stop me scratching…
    Sorry – end of rant just ge a little pissed off with it sometimes :)

  50. Mike said at 9:07 pm on February 28th, 2011:

    I’m a 17 year old male who was also diagnosed with renawds and have poor circulation. I also have an extreme itch exactly of which you speak of. I agree it has to be more than dry skin.

  51. Teresa said at 4:59 pm on March 8th, 2011:

    For the last 10 years I have suffered with a recurring itchy blistery rash on my lower back (I had many other health problems. I just thought they were normal since I had lived with them for my whole life: chronic fatigue, Strep throat all the time, GI issues, etc.). About a year ago I went to a doctor who gave me a diet to follow basically removing me from everything except fresh cooked meat, vegetables, fruit and water. I noticed my symptoms improving after about 3 months. Turns out as I started adding things back to my diet we discovered that I have celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis and I’m dairy intolerant. The reason I found this blog today is because my calves are itchy (not blistery)! It takes about 2 + years to get the gluten out of your body when you have the dermatitis herpetiformis so that is why I’m still experiencing problems. I have experienced a lot of healing but I’m still learning some of my triggers: iodized salt and ibuprofen (NSAIDS) in addition to the others. When you have celiac though you are prone to alot of the other auto immune disorders such as thyroid problems, Sjogrens, diabetes, etc. It took me a long time to find out what was wrong with me and I would hate for anyone else to suffer. It may be as simple as removing gluten from your diet. Try it for 3 months, see if you notice any impovement. Better than itching! If you do have celiac, even if you don’t experience the GI problems it will still cause damage to your small intestine and lead to many other problems such as causing lymphoma. So I would check it out. My life has improved dramatically from it. Gluten is in alot of stuff that you would not even think it is in so if you try it make sure you do your due diligence. Good luck!

  52. craig said at 9:03 pm on March 26th, 2011:

    I have had a problem for the last 13 years since I moved to Michigan. It started on my shins, mostly in the summer, each year it seemed to get a little worse…then fade away by fall. last year was terrible, shins itching, calves, like mad. this year it spread to my upper arms, “love handles” , and a bit on my thighs and buttox. Not really a rash but very itchy. well I looked it up on the internet and got a dozen or so causes, (i simply wont quit coffee either), spent the money at the doctors (70$ office visit)…(he said it was exsema) anyways , rubbing a thin layer of VASALINE into my skin in the affected areas , once every day or three, aleviates all symptoms and itching! I cant wait to see if it works in the hot summer sun, as sweating in the heat always made it worse. try it!

  53. Debbie said at 3:29 pm on March 29th, 2011:

    Hi Mihow!
    I think that this is due to varicose veins. I also get the itch and sometimes a bit of a raised bump thing going on from all the scratching, and I have pretty bad varicose veins for someone of my size (120 lbs, 5’6), and age (30).

    Google it – varicose veins can lead to dermatitis, which is itchy rash. You don’t mention if you have a vein problem, though.

  54. NEW YORK MAN said at 8:51 pm on April 12th, 2011:

    OK… SO READ ALL YOUR POSTS. Pretty sure its not linked directly to pregnancy since was born without a uterus, (darn penis thing- gets you into so much trouble) I dont have Reynauds, and I refuse to take oral or topical steroids… well, i am obiously still searching since Im on the site. After reading this all, I believe it is a combination of a disposition to allergy (hayfever twice a year) as well as stress, but perhaps chlorine is a factor?

    I think so because I had this in NY, went to Arizona, with much less stress, no chlorine in the water ( and was on a raw vegan diet, while meditating) and it went away.

    I am now back in New York, Stressed out and allergy season is starting. COCONUT OIL with Shea butter applied after it, did a lot to make the itch go away, applied Young Living’s Roman Chamomile oil as well.

    The recurring complaints about this happening after pregnancy makes me believe that stress, possibly combined with some kind of immune system compromise is the most common denominator here.

    COCONUT oil definitely helps- get it Raw.

    Cheers, good luck.

  55. NEW YORK MAN said at 9:14 pm on April 12th, 2011:

    One quick addition… NUMMULAR EXCEMA seems to be the diagnosis that the best of doctors will give you. These websites are helpful…

    For the Allopathic Medical site:

    For natural cure ideas:,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=7ddfcab4a94a31d1&pf=p&pdl=300

  56. Ruth said at 2:26 pm on April 22nd, 2011:

    Hi- I didn’t have an itchy calf until after I had knee surgery. It itches mostly on the back and side of my leg, at times I scratch until I force myself to stop. I’ve been using Aquaphlic Ointment. It helps, but just for a short time. I wondered if this is related to my knee surgery. I never had it until after that. My surgery was 6 montths ago.

  57. missp said at 12:09 pm on July 22nd, 2011:

    I have this problem too. Especially in the evening my calves and back of knees start to itch like crazy. What i have in common with the other posters is bad circulation, clenched jaw when i sleep (stress?) and possibly thyroid problems. The itch is exacerbated when i run for exercise, in which case it also occures on my stomach.
    My legs arent dry, nor do they have bumps, but it could possibly be due to shaving, since the skin there is delicate.

  58. Carrie said at 11:16 am on September 25th, 2011:

    I also have itching of the calves and like you it does not extend beyond my knees. It itches the most along the side of my shin. I do not have a rash but will get red bumps if I scratch it obsessively. I too have Raynauds. Mine is much worse when I am extremely warm or cold. It makes sense that Raynauds could be the cause.

  59. william gundry said at 10:10 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    I’ve had this 5 years. It breaks out at periods of stress. Also have herpes, chronic fatugue syndrome and neuralgia.perhapps All these things are related?

  60. Robert said at 5:22 am on December 19th, 2011:

    I have complained to the doctors for years about this. I have Raynauds as well as poly-neuropathy. They always tell me it’s the neuopathy acting up, and the last one said to take Benedryl. Unfortunately it didn’t help. This appears to be manifest in both sexes. My symptoms are intense itching on the back and sides of both calves, worse at night. It’s now two in the morning and I’m bleeding and it still itches. I have gotten some relief at times applying petrolium jelly and a zinc cream in the morning.

  61. Trina said at 2:13 am on January 4th, 2012:

    I have the same itching problem and the only common denominator I can decipher is stress. I’m going to really try and pay attention to when my ” episodes” with itching occur to further explore that possibility…I have also wondered if it’s due to poor circulation although I haven’t been diagnosed with that condition. I do have PCOS which is a hormonal disorder; maybe that’s related? Good luck to all, I feel your pain!

  62. JohnnyBoy said at 10:44 pm on January 11th, 2012:

    Okay, read all your posts – I am 65 yr old male, in pretty good health. For about a decade I get a progressively worse itch each year, primarily on the backs and sides of the calves. I notice that my hair follicles seem to be red. I sleep with light covers and a temp of 68 degrees. I don’t have this problem until winter onset. It becomes a burning itch that will prevent sleep. It seems that I have raised bumps that are extra itchy, and I think my scratching makes them bigger. I have found, by accident (son’s script for something else) that clears it up for several days – Dermatop ointment. But…then, it always seems to come back. Help.

  63. Wade Nelson said at 6:25 pm on January 14th, 2012:

    Two solutions. One is UV light, either tanning booth or natural sunlight. The other is Dr. Scholl’s foot powder, which contains talc and salicylic acid (basically, aspirin). I find it gives immediate relief when I sprinkle it on after a hot shower, which seems to aggravate the itching.

  64. Joe said at 3:09 am on January 17th, 2012:

    Same problem, found this site the same way. I am sitting here at 1:58 in the morning searching for any way to stop my calves from itching.
    After reading everyone else’s post, I tend to agree with poor circulation. I am fat, 6’3″ 380 lbs. I was hurt at work last nearly a year ago and have gained a ton of weight. I sit all day long keeping my knees bent, cutting off the circulation.
    Once I finally lay down at night and blood can flow a bit more freely to my legs, it gets CRAZY!
    The fatter I get, the worse my circulation gets, the worse my problem gets.
    My starts out as red hair follicles, originally I mistook them for flea bites, if they get bad enough they can look and feel like pimples. The only cure I have found is super-hot water, it does work miracles.
    I have already started a very intense diet to lower my weight; I hope it will ease my symptoms. I am going to start taking an aspirin a day to help my circulation and find a chair that promotes better circulation in my legs; my current chair is a bit too low to the ground.
    I will be back in a few weeks to let everyone know if it helps…. Yes, it does feel better knowing that I am not the only one. TY BLOG

  65. See said at 2:12 pm on January 27th, 2012:

    I have the same thing. One thing that helps is getting acrylic nails so that when I scratch it doesn’t bleed. Hope this helps! :)

  66. Shannon said at 1:08 am on February 9th, 2012:

    Hey have you actually figured out an answer?? Because to be honest, I have the same thing, in everyway but now it’s shin (along shin bone) and one area starting about twice the size of a twoonie but ends up being the size of my fist when I’m done scratching. I just went to the Dr AGAIN Monday and again she said try Gold bonds cream. It helps but this is beyond frustrating. I’d love an actual answer.

  67. Shannon said at 1:10 am on February 9th, 2012:

    Lastly… I am in very good shape. I’m 5’9 and 130pds and I work out regularly. So I know it’s not poor circulation.

  68. mihow said at 11:57 am on February 9th, 2012:

    No, I never figured out the answer. I’ve been tested for everything. I’ve been to every doctor there is. Blood tests. Gave up foods. Tried every cream known to man and my rash has spread to basically all over my body. I was told I have an autoimmune response problem and am basically “allergic” to touch. Clothing bands, socks—everything aggravates it. I am trying to live with it but it’s hard. It’s the worst it’s ever been present day (Feb 2012) and I just take a lot of Benadryl and try and cope.

    I too am in decent shape. I run four times a week. I work out. I am not overweight. The best explanation I have received was the autoimmune response one from my dermatologist. And, no. There is no cure. To put it bluntly? It fucking sucks.

  69. jenine said at 12:45 pm on February 12th, 2012:

    My mom has this problem mostly after showering and the only thing that gives her relief is soap made from goats milk. I use the same and it is incredibly healing. Great for acne, cracked hands (due to dry skin), too! We get ours from

  70. Hassan said at 10:32 pm on February 16th, 2012:

    I’ve also had this itchy calves problem even on my buttocks it’s excruciating ive scratched so much I have scabs on my calves n buutocks it’s so painful my sheets are blood stains at times when I sweat it’s hurts wat can I do I can’t sleep stressd going fucking crazy I’ve tried super hot showers wit some Epsom salt that werks n disinfects 4a while until he’ll breaks loose again idk wat to do hydrocortisone has helps alot but it still dosnt go away helppppp WTF there has to be some kind of cure

  71. Trish Mcleod said at 4:51 pm on March 22nd, 2012:

    Hi, I have been suffering with this for years and although I certainly don’t have the answer for the cause yet, I do have some things that help, and some suspicions as to the cause.

    First things that seem to help better than anything. for topical. ItchX, has a drug that a numbs the skin an has aloe. Vagisil Extra Strength. Works like magic. Before using either of these, use a soft nail cleaning brush to as lightly as possible, brush the skin to try, to get some of the itch out. This works well and is better than using fingernails that break skin. After this apply the topical. you can use both at the same time but use one and then if needed use the other. Antihistimes, Zyrtec can be helpful. Also along with this, you can take a Tylenol or Advil or Motrin etc. to take the edge of. It really does help.

    Somethings that I think may be causes are certainly allergies to some things ingested, such as sugars, carbs, etc. Mine seem to get worse with the above and things with wheat and yeast. When I am doing mostly protein in my diet I do not struggle a much with this, it seems. Also, When I get a flare up I do drink a good bit of water and this seems to help some. I do highly suspect inflammation as the underlying cause. Inflammation can be caused by so many things so this could certainly be a link to many different causes. Different health issues cause inflammation as do certain foods such a sugars carbs., drugs,etc.

    Last suggestion. When you get a flareup, do the topical things to help with the discomfort, then start drinking a good quality water and do some fasting off of everything except for a couple of no carb , no star, no preservative foods and see if you can get things to calm down. this is a type of an elimination diet of course, but hopefully this will help with linking the possible cause if it is food related. I particularly notice that this happens to me when I eat salad dressings or anything else that has multiple ingredients.

    I know this is a lot of information, but hopefully it may help in some way.

  72. Kelly said at 7:58 am on April 7th, 2012:

    At first I was so excited to find this to know I wasn’t going crazy. Other people had this same exact thing. But now I see there is no clear reason, no clear antidote and possibly only temporary relief in sight. Take a hot shower? Don’t take a hot shower? Stress? Goat’s milk? I mean I am grateful and will start trying everything but I was hoping for one good answer, you know? *sigh* Pass the Vagisil!

  73. Eric said at 9:31 pm on May 7th, 2012:

    Have had that. Agree with someone above that it gets worse after long active walks, or bicycling in the cold. I am in great shape, but sit at a desk for a living, and had bad Lyme’s disease 12 years ago… I had bad hives after a long walk on more of my legs after taking antibiotics at high levels and assumed it may be a Herx reaction. not sure if related at all… Otherwise just red itchy bumps on calves and itchy in center of calf. Sad that there is no reasonable answer as to what could cause each of these very definable conditions listed with any level of confidence above… BTW Could this be a manifestation of a dairy protein allergy combined with dehydration and poor leg circulation? hope to see more ans’s

  74. Lisa said at 10:19 pm on May 29th, 2012:

    All I have to say is “thanks” to each and every one of you…at least I have company out there. Around 2 weeks ago I started breaking out in these little bumps all over my legs, my wrists, and the insides of my arms. I hadn’t been in the woods or changed soaps…nothing different. I assume it was not an allergy because my stomach & back did not break out. I itched like crazy. Well, the bumps and itching are gone with the exception of my calves. They itch so badly that it wakes me up at night. I’ve literally scratched until I bleed. I’ve tried every possible over-the-counter thing out there for itch…with no results. My doctor called in some vistaril for night use, but I’m still waking up itching. It’s driving me crazy!! I just have no idea why I’ve suddenly got this itch that never goes away. The only relief (barely) that I’ve gotten is from using a “burn” spray that has some lidocaine in it. But it doesn’t last…in going back to the doc & praying they can give me something for the itching.

  75. Tracy said at 3:06 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    I also found this blog when I searched for itchy calves. I get very itchy patches on the back of both calves that burn like the worst stinging nettle rash and then I scratch till it bleeds.

    I had very dry skin during both my pregnancies, but nothing like this.

    The only definite link I have found so far is that I only get it if I let up on taking my Omega 3 fish oil supplement, and within a day of taking it again, the rash lets up.

  76. Kiki said at 11:27 pm on June 20th, 2012:

    Glad I found this site…I too have had itchy shins/sides of calves. I also find that I can scratch until I get little bleeding bumps. I do have a smooth rash that is the main itchy spot, but it seems that once I start scratching, the whole front of my leg gets itchy up to my knees and around the sides even though there is no rash evident there. I had this problem on one leg for a couple of winters, then it would go away in the summer. This winter is showed up on the other leg, and is still bothering me now in June. My blood was tested last year and it showed that I had Lyme Disease, low vitamin D, and some sort of possible auto-immune issue…these tests were done as kind of “lets just be sure your are healthy” kind of thing because I hadn’t had a physical in a while, and have “always” had some low-grade pain in my least for a long time. I was kind of surprised with the results. I didn’t even think to tell the Dr about the rash as I don’t think it was an issue at the time of the test. The rheumotogist that I saw said no issue with autoimmune and even thought the Lyme was probably not accurate, but that I did have low vitamin D which was causing the joint pain. I’m uncertain now what to think. I have a daughter who had terrible cradle cap as a baby and now has psoriasis. I also have a niece who has rheumatoid arthritis. My sister-in-law said there is a correlation between these 2 issues. My sister is on a steroid for a rash she gets on her arms, and I have another daughter who has a form of contact dermatitis..and is very sensitive to latex. I guess I am writing all this to see if anyone else has similar symptoms or diagonoses.

  77. Susan said at 6:15 pm on July 13th, 2012:

    I got here because I googled “itching Lyme calves bumps”. I have lyme and a lot of itching problems since about Jan. 2012 (diagnosed as dermatographia), but the red raised bumps on my calves have been around for over a year. I thought it was ingrown hairs from shaving but nothing has really given lasting relief, just temporary relief. I have ulcerative colitis too and was worried about erythema nodosum but it just doesn’t look like that. Through a chance comment today, I heard about someone with a tick bite related allergy to beef. I googled it and found that some researchers are associating lone star tick bites with sudden allergic reactions to beef, pork, and lamb. I realized my supplements are not all in veggie caps, and since I’ve had a lot of tick bites, this could be a possibility. A few weeks ago I tried CLA for the ulcerative colitis and had unbearable itching and red fluid filled blisters on my palms (along with throat/breathing difficulties and racing heart). It was synthetic CLA but natural CLA is found in butter and meat; and the synthetic CLA was still in a beef gelatin capsule. So I’m going to lay off any of the beef products and see what happens (I’m already gluten and practically everything else free except for fish and vegetables). Good luck, I’m sorry to hear you all have this problem, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  78. mihow said at 12:07 pm on July 16th, 2012:

    I don’t eat red meat at all, haven’t for 15 years. So… I don’t think it’s related to beef. :[ Yeah. It sucks. I still live with it. No doctor can help. It’s just awful.

  79. Diane said at 11:07 am on August 28th, 2012:

    It’s amazing that this was first posted in July 2009 and it is still getting responses. I found it, like most others, by a keyword search. I can add myself to the list of hypothyroid, suspected auto-immune issues and bad circulation to lower legs. There seems to be a suggestion of some common denominators. Suzanne Somers mentions this same thing in her books on natural approaches to health. She was plagued by it and thought is was menopause/hormonal related. Like others, I’m somewhat relieved to know that I’m not the only person with fucked up mysterious health issues that doctors can’t fix. Diane in Florida.

  80. mihow said at 11:21 am on August 28th, 2012:

    I’m positive it’s hormonal related. But I can’t help but wonder if something I eat triggers it or makes it worse.

    And I’m still plagued by it as well, all these years later.

  81. Holley said at 1:33 am on November 19th, 2012:

    I suffered from the same exact shin rash for the last year. It was excruitiating itchy and an embarrassment this summer. I saw two doctors before I searched in Angie’s list for a highly recommended dermatologist. Dr. Love (yes, that was his real name) said it was called lichen simplex. Google it..and select images. This mysterious rash starts for unknown reasons, but is a cyclical syndrome where you scratch which thickens the skin, making it more itchy, causing more scratching. I bled nightly from my scratching. Dr. Love prescribed Desoximetasone and I am jubilant with the results. Less than 8 days later and it is finally almost gone. It’s pricey if you don’t have insurance ($150) but I would pay many times that to cure that horrible rash. Wishing you luck with your rash. I feel your pain.

  82. Lisa said at 3:09 pm on November 27th, 2012:

    I have suffered with this for years and the best I have been able to do is get this condition into remission for a year. My dermatoligist prescribed Clobetasol Propionate Ointment, USP, 0.05%. It’s a synthetic corticosteroid for topical use. I used it every day for 2 weeks and had no itching at all for a year. Then it came back and I used the same ointment which worked again but not as fast nor as good as the first time. I’m going through my third cycle of this and I’m losing the battle. One thing I can say for sure is that putting an ice pack or anything really cold directly on the itch stops the itching instantly (almost). Splashing very cold water on your legs in the tub works great too.

  83. Ron said at 9:44 pm on December 28th, 2012:

    My calves, sometimes both, sometimes only one, will itch like crazy. It seems to make it feel better the more I scratch it but never completely stops itching, at least not immediately. And other times, neither calf itches at all, like right now. I haven’t been to the docs yet at least not with this problem. I have been to the dermatologist before for a rash but he doesn’t know any more than I do. He just guesses.

  84. LN said at 1:01 am on December 30th, 2012:

    I found this site like many others before, googling itchy calves! I’ve had this for a couple of years now, and I have no idea what caused it! Like the others the drs suspect an auto immune disorder, cutaneous lupus, a diagnoses I disagree with. I also clench my teeth horribly at night. I’ve tried tea tree and vitamin e oil as well as a blend of emu oil, lavender, and melaleuca, all with moderate success. I plan on talking to an autoimmune specialist as well as a dermatologist. I’m going to show them this blog, maybe a doctor will take the time to figure it out!

  85. Bill said at 8:29 am on February 11th, 2013:

    Have you checked you bed for BEDBUGS?

  86. mihow said at 9:21 am on February 11th, 2013:

    We don’t have bedbugs. :) I just have skin problems associated with an autoimmune disease.

  87. Julz said at 2:20 am on February 18th, 2013:

    Same symptoms, red raised areas on both calves and now on two of my fingers and behind my ears. Clobetasol ointment is the only thing that makes it go away for a while. But it always returns. Started during my last trimester of pregnancy with my third child and has never completely resolved. Doctor has no answer other than continuing with the Clobetasol. Strange that the symptoms are so similar to many of the previous responders.

  88. andy said at 6:33 pm on March 2nd, 2013:

    i have extremely itchy calves and i claw at them so vigorously i can see marks where im dragging my fingers and little spots of blood. i get this oftern but not all the time. i can go weeks without it happening then it starts. i know when its going to start because when i get in a nice hot bath they burn and sting and i have to scratch at them. i thought this was triggering it off so cooled my baths down but it still happens. this weekend for the first time its spread above the knee just onto the inner thigh but right by the knee and a patch on my side above my waist. im male 46 and ide say its been happening on and off for 2 years….its nice at first..i really like it but after a day or 2 its sore. ive started to use a soft hair brush to itch my calves as its softer than finger nails…trying to lessen the damage to my skin….but its no good…it feels nicer and i just press harder ?? whats that all about ?? anyway ive not found a cure but thanks for letting me get it off my chest :)

  89. andy said at 6:44 pm on March 2nd, 2013:

    ive just found this which suggests it is heat…and alcohol… and i do like a bottle of wine

  90. mihow said at 8:34 am on March 3rd, 2013:

    It’s not alcohol. At least not for me. I had this while pregnant too and I didn’t drink while pregnant.

    I have it now and haven’t been drinking.

    Heat? Definitely something there. I also think it’s touch. I don’t get it until the end of the day when I remove my socks or clothes I’ve been wearing all day. Simply stimulated the skin triggers it.

    It’s weird. That’s for sure. And I’m not convinced it’s not linked to stress as well.

    Mine also flares up during certain times of the month, specific times. I think, for me, there’s also a hormonal relationship between the two.

    Good luck. All. It’s frustrating. I wish there was a relief.

  91. michael said at 2:06 am on March 15th, 2013:

    I too suffer from itchy scratched raw can calves and forearms. Started the winter after getting my hip replaced almost4 years ago. Seems to be worse each winter….

  92. Al said at 3:20 pm on March 29th, 2013:

    I have had itchy calves for a couple of years…
    my doctor recently reccomended ammonium
    lactate…I haven’t itched since…I put it on every night…what a relief.

  93. Mendy Atchley said at 7:28 pm on April 13th, 2013:

    Ok, found this site, like a lot of people, by googling itchy calves. Yes, it helps to know I am not the only one. No, I have no solution. But I am adding myself here to help with the ” common denominator ” issue. My shins and calves itch horribly and rather suddenly, never above the knee, never in the morning, no rashes but I itch so bad that I get nail marks and little bumps that bleed. Lotion burns. Yes, much more likely after clothing change. Three Benadryl coupled with a pain reliever is my go to treatment of choice. It has happened more and more frequently in the past three years, since I had my son. Yes, I have horrible ulcerative colitis which is an autoimmune disorder, even had some problems with my adrenals because of past steroid use. And yes, I have low blood pressure and bad allergies and circulation issues and am not obese. I have had two doctors tell me that they have rarely seen a patient whose body was so susceptible to inflammation. I am starting to see the pattern of autoimmune response and /or adrenal response in all of these entries. I think I am gonna keep a food diary too and see if wheat or carbs could be causing an inflammatory response once my skin is stimulated by changing clothes or activity. I will try almost anything.

  94. jackie said at 9:30 pm on April 23rd, 2013:

    I have the thing many here are describing. Itchy calves and shins. Now progressing actually to lower thigh. Bumps are flesh colored unless I scratch them. sometimes difficult to see. I originally thought it was bc I changed detergents but I changed back to my old without relief. I have been tested for almost everything and nothing. I’m going to an allergist next week so will post if I get answers. I have refused steroids thus far bc I want to know the reason behind this not just treat a symptom. I have no known medical issues. Please post if you have answers. I am desperate. I’m considering a cleanse and maybe a functional medicine doctor.

  95. Cure yourself said at 4:51 pm on May 3rd, 2013:

    Alright…fasten your computer seat belt……I’m going to let loose….RANT,CUSS, AND BITCH… have been warned!

    It’s been three long years, started with fingers, hands, wrists and arms.

    Steroids prescribed by fucking useless western(american) doctors who only practice with big pharma interests and don’t forget their pay outs they receive for being LEGAL drug dealers.

    Then comes the steroid withdraw (look that up fun,fun!) which may take you 1 to 5 years to detox …..this means you body breaks out so you’ll cave and run to you drug dealer (doctor) for more “medicine” and it’s a vicious cycle….took me 6-9 months to wean off that poison.

    Do you know the difference between poison and medicine………….IT’S DOSAGE!!!

    This is what works for me (so far).

    very well washed vegetables and fruits w/ vinegar or organic, and no waxy ass feeling skins…my chickens won’t even eat that shit.. leave nothing to chance.

    organic chicken or fish (fish from nature not a farm).

    This is what I did…bought a juicer…about 32 oz of juice in morning and night and snacks all day of approved food not processed junk or fast shit..I.E. FUCKING Poison!

    There is no “street” food you can eat ,so don’t even try to convince yourself there is.

    After three short days my hands were improved by 90 percent and my arms took two more weeks to completely (99%) stop itching!!

    Also I only drink real (NO FUCKING HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP) pomegranate juice and DISTILLED (research it) water with purified ice cubes.

    Frozen cold compress (wet wash clothe in ziplock baggie) really helps with urges to scratch at night . But don’t leave on skin directly for too long or will damage skin.

    Goat milk soap only (hair and body)

    Homemade laundry detergent (look it up..not hard really cheap and effective)

    luofa (spelling..I’m male I shouldn’t know how to spell that.) for light exfoliate area.

    Slightly warm showers, NOT hot ever…rinse with cold only.

    Loose clothing on calves.

    No lotions they all SUCK, only Bacitracin zinc ointment or neo..whatever.

    covered with “cut out” sock to pull over calf
    to protect from dirt, clothing, scratching…

    Then cover foot and calves with a pair of diabetic socks to stimulate circulation…IT WORKS..and prevents you from scratching.

    I even put a second pair of tube socks over the diabetic ones for comfort.

    When you are done with work I.E. first get home take everything off (yea baby!)get in shower right away with cold water rinse effected area and slightly raise tempature of water to luke warm ONLY.

    Then exiting shower cool down water for 2-3 minutes and pat dry effected areas.Now reapply bacitrcin and cover with clean cut out sock.

    Before bed carefully reapply more bacitracin
    and clean diabetic socks.

    In the morning remove everthing let skin breath ….rewash with goat soap lightly..pat dry and you know the rest.

    This is all I can think of for now…..
    NOT sorry if I offended anyone…


  96. Cure yourself said at 5:39 pm on May 3rd, 2013:

    I forgot… as for my leg-right calf…the damage I did is healing well because I have not scratched it for four days.

    I can’t say how much the cold-frozen compress helps….make two of these for work and home…so you’ll always have one cold.

    I also didn’t mention that the pomegranate juice thin blood to help circulation…and the distilled water is to carry toxins out of body. This is what is used in kidney dialysis
    machine to purify patients blood.

    I also think ( according to my wife) that there is a stress factor involved……she’ll catch me scratching when I listening(yelling at) to the talking heads spewing their lies to the american people on the nightly (propaganda) news, so there’s that.

    Also I notice when we attended my sons wedding out of state (vacation, no stress) I
    only had one mild scratch attack… but that was when it was my hands/arms before extreme diet change.

    I’ll update with changes…good or bad.

  97. Morgan said at 3:44 am on September 6th, 2013:

    I have been experiencing the same problem and it just started happening 2 days ago. I have always had a thyroid problem and very sensitive skin. I had a baby July 3rd and anything that happens around my pregnancy, I tend to blame it on that because the body changes dramatically. Mine is just on my calves, feels to me like an allergic reaction. I’ve always seemed to have a folliculitis problem though and I also noticed that this hadn’t happened until I shaved my legs for the first time in months haha Anyway, I don’t exactly know why I’m breaking out, but I put some baby lotion on it and it has subsided a pretty good deal.

  98. Jim said at 1:42 pm on November 4th, 2013:

    In March, I began suffering itch in certain places including my calves. After battling it 8 months I’ve concluded sugar was the culprit. Interesting sites now blame sugar for all kinds of ailments. Also, lack of sufficient intake of water. I now intake plenty of water, use Walmart’s moisturizer, and avoid sugar, although there are now healthy sugar substitutes like Monks fruit.
    As for soda pop, which I love, I found that Canada Dry’s diet ginger ale tastes like regular soda. Still I limit my intake.

    I also discovered that Sarna cream can be very helpful when the itch has reached unbearable stage, plus any antihistamine pill. But mainly, I think it was the sugar and lack of water.

  99. Rebecca said at 3:57 am on February 10th, 2014:

    My left calf has been itching at all times of the day and night(I’ve just sat up and told myself I’m getting to the bottom of this bc I’m fed up it’s now 3:13am.)
    I had 4 discs removed on Halloween and the surgeon added bone of mine to the L4 site and 2 bars and 8 titanium screws.
    I responded wonderfully and was so happy to have a new back. I developed a blood clot and after approximately 8 weeks a aren’t was inserted into,the large iliac vein. Finally the swelling went down two days after that January 9th. The size of my left leg has gotten smaller even more and now February 10 it’s almost the size of my right leg.
    The past two weeks this itching has been ridiculous and it’s almost the same type as you’d experience with a mosquito bite or poison ivy. In 3 days I’m Schuler for another doppler of the pelvis area. My estimation of time and condition tell me that it’s a circulatory thing or the valves are getting back to work properly as they couldn’t while the blood was “pooling” in my poor leg. As you I’ve seen a mark on the area but mine is a white bump right in the center of this unnerving itch on my upper left calf, I have nearly raw now. Justwantes to share that bc as,I said it’s now 2 weeks time and it’s awakened me resulting in my choosing your site to do my search. I didn’t read but perhaps 5 of you and others testimonials but it has committed and somewhat soothes my mine knowing it’s most Likey a circulation and valve issue for me. One thing I might add is that prior to this blood clot I had no knowledge that our legs veins had valves. Cortisone cream helped today for several hours but it is an internal issue not cosmetic for me. I worked in Dermatology for awhile years ago and never heard of this complaint by patients, theirs were always skin issues.

  100. Rebecca said at 4:07 am on February 10th, 2014:

    This darn auto speller has caused yet another error. I apologize. My vascular surgeon inserted a STENT into the iliac vein. They punctured a whole behind my outer left knee and with the aid of a small balloon the STENT was inserted deep in my pelvis where the damn clot was hiding. For several days my calf muscle hurt but only lasted 3-4 days. The swelling did take nearly a month to go down. So now my calf itches like crazy, I’ve always was told “if it itches, it’s healing.” I’m going with that , my mom’s-logic!!

  101. Brett said at 11:14 pm on February 15th, 2014:

    I had this very issue for much of my youth after breaking my leftlower leg in 2 places. My doctors said it was psoriasis. They prescribed a lotion, but all it did was burn and nothing hsppened. In my 30′s, I decided to go see a dermatologist. He told me it was a circulation problem. He prescribed a cream and told me to wear support socks(like elderly people usually wear) and avoid hightop work boots like I had been wearing. Bingo!!! It cleared up. That was like almost 20 years ago. Now I have gotten something similar only on both legs and on calves and shins. I wear low cut work socks that are fairly loose and low cut shoes. Not sure if it is curculation problem again, soap that I started using or our water which has a chlorinated odor to it. Haven:t been into a doctor yet to get their diagnosis.

  102. Leian said at 2:48 pm on March 18th, 2014:

    My daughter has the same problem, itchy lower legs, rash, bumps, scratching until she is bleeding, and I get the same run around from all the doctors. I wish there was a fix. I would pay horrific amounts of cash to make it go away for her. She wont wear shorts and is always miserable. While there are no answers, it’s nice to know she isn’t alone.
    Thanks for sharing.

  103. Brianna said at 11:37 pm on June 24th, 2014:

    I’ve bee having this problem for a couple of months or so. I have Crohn’s disease and always thought it was related to that. But now that my Crohn’s is getting better, the itching to the point of bleeding is still going on. I’m not sure if anyone else has this, but I actually will wake up scratching my calves so bad that my boyfriend has to rip my hands away from my legs. If anyone has answeres for this I would appreciate some kind of help. I’m afraid that some of the scratches will get infected./:

  104. Alanna said at 8:53 pm on November 3rd, 2014:

    I have had this issue for awhile now and i thought it was just dry legs but it wont go away and gets much worse in fall and winter. I dont notice it as much through the day but as soon as I take my pants off at night, I cant stop itching. I feel like a doctor will just brush it off as dry skin but I cant take this itching much longer!!! Itchy on shoulders and arms as well.

  105. Dylan said at 8:17 pm on January 21st, 2015:

    I have the exact same problem! One thing no one has mentioned is scabies? I was prescribed the cream for it and it went away for a couple of weeks then came back, I have no idea what to do as I feel like cutting my legs off haha.

  106. Whit said at 4:17 am on February 24th, 2015:

    Good News! I have suffered with this problem as well and although this may not work for everyone, this lotion has been an absolute life saver for me. Go to SALLY Beauty Supply and grab/ask for the Hemp with Argan Oil Lotion…MUST be with Argan oil. The lotion will cost you less than $10 or you can get the smaller bottle for much less, but, use it every day and eventually (or for me immediately), you won’t allow your skin to ever get to that point. Also, some things I do NOT know but have noticed; never shave without shaving cream (as in – don’t use conditioner or lotion to shave… Maybe I’m the only one who has ever done that but I know it definitely doesn’t help). Also, be careful not to keep your shower water at too high a temperature, and, of course…dun dun dun… When you’ve got the urge to itch – RESIST!!!! It may very well be a seasonal issue and by continually itching and irritating your skin – especially to the point where it bleeds (similar to my circumstance), you yourself may make it a year round nuisance. Most importantly………Thank you HEMP with ARGAN OIL LOTION!

  107. Whitney said at 4:27 am on February 24th, 2015:

    PS, (not that I know much of anything) but, pain may manifest itself via irritation that makes you want to ITCH!

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