Ankle overtakes the back as our top spot to scratch
The old phrase ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ may need updating.
For the ankle has overtaken the back as the most satisfying spot to scratch, according to researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.
In the study, reported in the British Journal of Dermatology, healthy volunteers were made to itch on the forearm, ankle and back by rubbing them with cowhage, a plant with tiny hairs that irritate the skin.
Relief: Scientists have discovered the ankle is the most satisfying spot to scratch
For five minutes they were banned from scratching, and asked to record how itchy they felt at each spot.
After scratching participants awarded marks out of ten for how pleasurable the sensation had been.
Fashion changes may mean the ankle is now more often exposed to itch-inducing insects and germs.
Relieving an itch on your back is one
of life’s simple pleasures but now scientists have found that the ankle
is the most satisfying spot to scratch.
Professor Francis McGlone, a member of the International Forum for the Study of Itch, said: ‘It was interesting that the ankle was the itchiest site and that the most pleasure came from scratching it, because the back has been well-known as a preferred site for scratching.’
Scientists believe the ankle has evolved as an itch-prone area because it comes into contact with insects and germs, which can be removed through scratching.