Pressure Urticaria

Pressure urticaria is an uncommon type of physical hives (urticaria) that occurs after the skin has been under pressure. It usually occurs on the feet after standing or the buttocks after sitting for a long time or in areas where the clothing is tight.

Pressure hives normally runs deep into the skin tissues and are invisible to the eye. These hives can occurs hours after the pressure has been applied on the body.

Pressure hives are more painful than any other hives and may last for 8 to 72 hours.

The hives can cause itching and burning sensation. Some other symptoms include low fever, chills, fatigue, joint and muscle aches, or headaches. This skin condition can tend to be chronic and may last, on and off, for years.


Most likely triggers that can cause pressure hives are –

  • Using tools such a screwdriver or a hammer
  • Clapping the hands
  • Carrying a heavy weight object like a bag or a suitcase
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Wearing tight clothes

Symptoms of Pressure Urticaria

  • Pressure urticaria is usually painful unlike other hives
  • Pressure urticaria can be itchy and can cause burning sensation
  • It is seen that with the onset of pressure hives, people get low fever and chills
  • Persons suffering from pressure urticaria may experience fatigue and may seem lethargic
  • People with pressure urticaria can experience joint and muscle pains
  • Pressure urticaria can also cause headaches

Diagnosis of Pressure Urticaria

Diagnosis of pressure urticaria is done on basis of the appearance of the rash in areas where pressure has been applied to the skin. There are no lab tests available to diagnose pressure urticaria.

Treatment of pressure urticaria

The best way to keep pressure urticaria at bay is to avoid circumstances where pressure is applied to the body. It is difficult to avoid pressure on the body and thus people suffering from pressure urticaria may get frustrated and feel distressed. Below are some ways to prevent pressure hives from occurring.

  • Wear loose fitting clothes, to avoid pressure on the skin. Tight clothing can create pressure at different areas of the body which in return can cause an outbreak of pressure hives.
  • Avoid standing for long amounts of time, as this will create pressure on the feet that will cause pressure urticaria
  • Avoid sitting on hard surfaces for prolonged periods as this will create pressure on the buttocks that could lead to pressure urticaria.
  • Do not carry any heavy weight objects as this will again create pressure on arms and hands.
  • Do not indulge in any heavy duty work, such as hammering nails or using the screw driver.

Once pressure urticaria occurs, then the line of treatment will be oral corticosteroids. Antihistamines do not work in this case because pressure hives do not occur due to the release of histamine in the body. However, one can use topical antihistamine creams or sprays to control the itching and burning sensations.

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