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Tips to Manage Pitted Keratolysis

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sandesh Gupta 91% (5199 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD)
Dermatologist, Delhi  •  24 years experience
Tips to Manage Pitted Keratolysis

Pitted keratolysis is a skin condition that affects the soles of your feet. As a result of this disease, the skin on the forefoot or heel turns white with pitted clusters. This is often accompanied by an offensive odor and is worse when the skin is wet. This odor is the main reason patients seek treatment for this skin condition. If left untreated, this can last for many years.

People who suffer from excessive sweating and those who wear closed shoes for extended durations have a high risk of suffering from this condition. Pitted Keratolysis is a bacterial infection where the bacteria multiply in moist conditions and release enzymes that destroy the horny cells of the foot soles. 

With time, this turns into characteristic crater like pits on the skin. They also produce sulphur compounds simultaneously that lead to the odor.

Treatment for this skin condition can be categorized under medicinal treatments and home remedies.

Medicinal remedies:

  1. One of the ways to treat this disease is to treat the hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating that triggers it.
  2. Topical fusidic acid ointments or clotrimazole ointments can also provide some relief.
  3. Your doctor may also prescribe oral antibiotics to clear stubborn lesions.
  4. Other treatment options include anti-bacterial soap and injectable botulinum toxin. Using a strong antiperspirant with aluminum chloride can also resolve the issue.

Home remedies:

  1. The first thing you must do if you suffer from this condition is keep your feet dry. Wearing socks with your shoes is a good idea as this keeps your feet dry and ventilated. Thus, keeping the bacteria from multiplying. After having a bath, pay special attention to drying your feet. You could even use a hair dryer on your feet.
  2. Wash your feet with soap and water at least twice a day. You could also use an antiseptic cleanser or antibacterial soap.
  3. Try and reduce the number of hours you wear closed shoes. Whenever possible, wear open toed sandals. Do not wear the same shoes for two days in a row without giving them time to dry out.
  4. If possible, change your socks at least once in the day.
  5. Do not share footwear or towels with anyone else.
  6. Apply antiperspirants to the soles of your feet.
  7. Soak your feet in half a bucket of water with 15-20 drops of tea tree oil.
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