15 answers

3 Year Old, Peeling Toes


I recently noticed that my 3 yo daughter has peeling skin on the tips of her toes. It is not red or itchy. She does not complain about it either, and when I ask if it hurts, itches etc. she says no. My first thought was too small of shoes, but I checked the sizing of her shoes on her feet and she has plenty of room to move her toes around, and they dont rub on the toe of the shoe either. I couldnt find much by googling, and thought maybe you Moms would have some advice for me!!


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If she runs a fever or has other symptoms, I'd get he in to see the doctor. I had Kawasaki disease as a child and I remember that was one of the symptoms... but it was combined with a host of other things, so check out this website and see if it fits... I don't want to scare you, Lord Knows we mama's scare ourselves enough the way it is! but I wanted to pass on the info.


1 mom found this helpful

My sister had this problem when she was little and I have a friend who is experienceing the same thing with her daughter right now. Both situations were due to poor quality shoes. I'm not sure what brand of shoes you are using but most of the cute really affordable shoes are made from imitation leather and that doesn't breathe very well. For my sister we found that if we put her in real leather shoes during the cold months her feet were fine, and my friend is finding the same results. The summer months don't seem to be a problem. Hopefully this is helpful. Good luck with your little person and her feet :-)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.!
A silly question of me but do your have your little one in socks while wearing shoes? If not wearing socks try them. It just sounds like a rubbing issue. Also try to put lotion or even vaseline on those little tootsies!Put some on yours too!
Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like the skin is dead skin that just isn't getting scrubbed off in the bath. Just start washing her toes with a washcloth each bath and it should get better.

1 mom found this helpful

C. I don't want to scare you but you may want to take your child to the doctor IMMEDIATELY especially if she has or has had a fever recently....there is a virus known as Kawasaki Disease and it can potentially cause a lot of harm to your child...here is a website to read up more about it http://dermnetnz.org/bacterial/kawasaki.html .

My cousin's child had the same symptom and she luckily caught it and mentioned it to her doc....her son ended up needing to be put on high doses of children's tylenol (for clotting) for 6 months and he was hospitalized for a few days. She was lucky she caught it in time because it can cause a lot of harm to the heart. I believe John Travolta's son Jett had this when he was a child and to my knowledge they didnt get it treated because of religious beliefs...

anyway....i really dislike when people come up with the worst scenerio and try to scare me about things...but I really feel like it is worth considering this possibility.

1 mom found this helpful

My 7 year old daughter has peeling skin under her toes. I try to buy canvas shoes as much as possible & never let her wear synthetic material shoes. As much as she will try to have her sleep bare foot. She still gets peeling skin just less of it. She has her father's really sweaty feet. No croc's or anything like it. You could use powder just make sure there is no corn starch in it, that is hard to find though.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,

Her feet are probably just growing and shedding some extra skin. My kids' feet peel from time to time when they are having a growth spurt. As long as it doesn't bother her, I wouldn't worry about it. There is no need to put anything on it as long as it doesn't bug her. It will come off more rapidly if she takes several long baths, or runs around barefoot. If it starts to crack and get red looking, maybe try putting straight coconut oil on them, that works really well for my dry skin. And it is a great antifungal as well.

I too grew up in Alaska and my husband goes up to Bristol Bay every summer for 5 months, so I am right there with ya sister. :) We go up every summer after school gets out and spend summers there, I love Alaska and miss it a lot. Can't wait to move back. :)

Hi C. - I too had peeling feet when I was a child (and seem to have passed it onto ONE of my sons). My mother didn't do anything, the doctor didn't think it would become a problem..
It did, and it still is.
My feet cracked and bled ALL THE TIME as a child, and still crack a lot as an adult.
You need to make sure to lube up her feet anytime after a shower, and when you are just around in the house I would recomend lotion with some socks on over the lotion.
For me, sandles, particularly flip-flops are killers. If I wear them for two days I will have cuts all over my heels and on the "palm" of my feet.
Lotion now, get her in the habit so that as she gets older she continues to do it.
My mom took me to all kinds of podiatrists as I got older and nothing worked except lotioning morning noon and night.
HOPEFULLY she does not have this "condition", but I would still lotion her feet up.

Just for testing it out purposes, try putting athlete's foot cream on it and see if it gets better. Have her go bare foot in the house. Put the medicine on twice a day. If it gets better it was athlete's feet, if not it is something else.

Do her feet sweat alot? My kids had the peeling toes when their feet would sweat in their shoes. I wanted to compare it to athlete's foot, but it wasn't that, no itch, no pain. But I sprinkled baking soda in their shoes at night, took a hair dryer to remove the moisture as well. Then when I put their socks on, I dusted their feet and in between the toes with baby powder. They loved the extra attention and it didn't take long for the peeling to stop. Their shoes were leather and didn't breathe like a fabric tennis shoe or sandal would. So it was just a habit we got into, one that my boys continue to do as teenagers/young adults. They are distance runners, and their feet take quite a pounding and work out. This just provides that extra protection from any mold or fungus that might take up in their shoes or in their toes. Take good care!!

I doubt very much that this is anything serious. If I were you I'd try some home remedies or even just wait and see before I spent very much money on a doctor. If you have insurance you could take her if you are worried.

I've had peeling skin on my toes and was told that it was caused by my feet being too warm and moist. One time it was when I hiked in leather boots. Both my daughter as a child and myself as a child and an adult have had peeling skin without pain or itchiness when we've worn shoes made of man made material causing our feet to remain moist and warm over a period of time.

I think that my mother called it scald. The cure is to keep one's feet dry and cool. Change socks whenever they are moist. This may be more than once a day especially if shoes are made of man made material that doesn't breathe or allow moisture to escape.

I am now sure to buy only fabric or leather shoes and change my socks every day whether or not they appear soiled.

My grandchildren wear croc style shoes mostly with socks except in hot weather. Their "crocs" have many open spaces which allows moisture to escape. I'm guessing that when it's rainy or wet and the temperature is cold that the moisture might not evaporate.

When my daughter and now my granddaughter wear thongs most of the day their toes peel even tho they don't have blisters. I think, as another mother suggested, that gripping the plastic rubs away skin.

I would suggest you that you see a dermatologist. I have eczema and exfoliative keratolysis on my feet. This makes my skin peel off on the bottom of my feet and sometimes on my toes. It does not hurt or bother me (I have a pretty mild manifestation) and there is no real treatment or cure. It does get aggravated by having wet feet though. There are a few other related conditions, and you should make sure to exclude a fungal or bacterial infection.

This happened to my boys.. because they love to wear 'Crocs'
I try to have them wear them with socks sometimes and not wear them so much this winter at all.
But i'll likely have them right back in them this summer :)
it's important to have the right size,. my doctor had checked my 5 yr old for this very thing at his appt. and said it was from the way kids hold the shoes on by scrunching their toes up. He didn't tell us to stop wearing them..but just him checking clued me in.


The tips of my fingers and toes peel because the air is so dry around here, especially in winter. However, when my daughter had peeling skin on her feet, it turned out to be a fungal infection. We thought it was just dry skin and the home treatments we used actually made it much worse. The doctor recognized it and prescribed lamisil which is now available over the counter. After our goof, I think I'd check with a doctor first before treating by trial and error.

Maybe dry skin? Get some good lotion and lube up her feet and see if that helps.

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