Pitted keratolysis is a skin disorder that affects the soles of the feet. Here are four things you need to know about this condition.
What are the symptoms of this condition?
If you have pitted keratolysis, you will see shallow pits in the skin on the soles of your feet. These pits are circular and may overlap with each other to form larger pits. Sometimes, the pits have a green or brown hue, but they may also be the same color as the rest of your skin.
These pits tend to occur on the pressure points of your feet like your heels and the ball of your feet, but anywhere on the sole can be affected. Usually, the condition occurs on both of your feet, not just one. This condition may also make your feet smell quite bad which can be embarrassing for sufferers.
What causes pitted keratolysis?
Pitted keratolysis is caused by a bacterial infection on the soles of your feet. Many types of bacteria are naturally present on your skin, and given the right conditions, they can grow out of control. If your feet are exposed to excess moisture, the bacteria may be able to proliferate and lead to pitted keratolysis.
The excess moisture responsible for this condition may be the result of working out in shoes that don't allow your feet to breathe or working in wet environments. If you have a condition that makes you sweat excessively, such as hyperhidrosis, you may also develop pitted keratolysis.
How do dermatologists treat it?
This condition is treated by keeping the feet dry. You may be given a medication such as aluminum chloride 20% solution to keep your feet dry. You may also be given a medication to kill the bacteria on your feet such as an antibacterial cream. In severe cases, oral antibiotics may also be given. You will also be instructed to wash your feet twice a day.
How common is pitted keratolysis?
Pitted keratolysis occurs throughout the world and is a fairly common condition. The prevalence rates vary based on the occupations and environments of the people studied; people whose feet are in a wet, hot environment are more likely to have the condition. Here are some of prevalence rates reported by studies done throughout the world, including in America.
- 20.4% among homeless men in Boston;
- 13.5% among athletes in Germany;
- 42.5% among ride paddy workers in India;
- 53% among American soldiers stationed in Vietnam;
- 2.6% among boarding school students in Turkey.
If you notice small pits on the bottoms of your feet and a foul odor, see your dermatologist (like those at Advanced Dermatology Care) right away. You may have pitted keratolysis, a treatable condition.