Do I Have Pitted Keratolysis?

July 5, 2022 • • foot carefoot conditions
Do I Have Pitted Keratolysis?

Those indentations on your feet may look scary. But don’t worry! Pitted keratolysis is an easily treatable condition.

Have you noticed small indentations on the bottom of your feet lately? While the pits may look unusual and alarming, you needn’t worry. You have a very treatable condition known as pitted keratolysis.

Pitted keratolysis is caused by bacterial infection and typically appears on the pressure points of your feet, including the heels, toe pads, and balls. Although not painful, the condition’s most distinct symptom other than the pitting is a strong smell from the feet. Pitted keratolysis sometimes produces an itching sensation, as well. Because you may not feel any physical discomfort, you may be tempted to ignore pitted keratolysis. But without treatment, the condition will not go away on its own. 

What causes pitted keratolysis?

Pitted keratolysis is caused by bacteria that thrive in warm, moist environments, including sweaty feet. Wearing tight, rubbery boots or socks that don’t allow air to circulate provides the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria. If you live in a hot, tropical climate, you stand a greater risk of developing keratolysis. 

The pitted appearance of keratolysis is caused by the bacteria burrowing into the outer layer of skin and leaving small indentations. Although tiny at first, the pits may enlarge and form one large crater. The bacteria releases sulfur compounds, which account for the intense, unpleasant odor.

A circle of white skin usually surrounds the pits. However, in some cases, the skin takes on a reddish color.

Treating & preventing pitted keratolysis

To diagnose pitted keratolysis, your podiatrist will review your health history and work situation. In addition to a physical examination, your doctor may take a sample of your skin to determine the type of bacteria causing the condition.

Treating pitted keratolysis involves both medication and lifestyle changes. Your doctor may prescribe topical antibiotics such as clindamycin, erythromycin, and mupirocin to clear the infection. Other options include antiseptics in gel or cream form (including benzoyl peroxide)can. If your feet sweat profusely, your doctor may also prescribe drying agents such as botulinum toxin or iontophoresis. 

Attempting to treat the condition with at-home remedies (essential oils, bleach, or apple cider vinegar) or over-the-counter medication is not recommended. But you can take these at-home measures to help prevent pitted keratolysis: 

Keep your footwear dry. If you need to wear heavy footwear for your job, be sure to keep the shoes dry. Air them out thoroughly before you put them on again. Loose-fitting shoes are also a good choice.

Change your socks. When your feet sweat, your socks may become soaked, which allows bacteria to breed. Choose moisture-wicking socks made of nylon, polyester, or cotton to keep your feet dry.

Clean your feet daily. Wash your feet twice a day with soap or an antiseptic solution. Then, dry your feet thoroughly.

Wear sandals. The best footwear for keeping your feet dry is a pair of sandals. So, whenever possible, slip into sandals. 

Are you having problems with your feet?

Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group deals with all types of foot problems. We can diagnose and treat your condition with the latest treatments to get your feet beach-ready. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.

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