Pitted Keratolysis

Pitted keratolysis, also known as keratolysis sulcata, is a bacterial infection of the soles of the feet or, less commonly, the palms of the hands. Pitted keratolysis is easily identified by its shallow, crater-like pits. It is generally caused by coryneform bacteria, though several other strains of bacteria have been discovered in the lesions, including Micrococcus sedentarius, Actinomyces keratolytica and Dermatophilus congolensis. The tell-tale crater-like pitting is a direct result of the proteolytic enzymes manufactured by the bacteria digesting the keratin, which is a resilient protein that gives the skin its strength and toughness. It is also important to note that pitting keratolysis is non-contagious.

Have a personal story with pitted keratolysis you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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- Comments -

  • ian thompson

    Hi I suffer from hyperhidrosis and continually get reccurant episodes of pitted keratolysis and have real problems at work because of this. I would like to provide my experience of this.

    • admin

      Thanks so much for the comment. We would love for you to share your experiences. Any information would be great. Maybe how things came about, what sort of things you’ve tried, what has worked or hasn’t worked, etc. Hopefully it will be a great opportunity for someone to learn, or at the least, be able to relate to your experiences.

      If you reply with your story, I’ll be able to copy and paste it onto it’s own unique page. Thanks again.

    • Stuart

      Hi everyone, I have had this condition for years, it recurs every summer due to me wearing work boots. Most doctors don’t have a clue so after some trial and error I found fucidin which is a skin cream for bacterial infection that has an acid in it. It works within a week and a tube had lasted me 4 years. It’s a prescribed medicine in the uk but just explain to the doc and no trouble. Hope this helps

      • Matt

        I wear Dr Marten boots, and a few months ago, they had a hole in the side. I stepped in a puddle on my way to work, and it rained all day. So I had soaking wet socks on for the whole day. When I went home, the soles of my feet were wrinkled very deeply like being in a hot bath for a few hours.
        For roughly a month after, they stayed wrinkled, but that subsidded and now I’m sure I have Pitted Keratolysis now, there are small, what I can only describe as holes in the heel of my foot, and on the ball of the sole of my foot it has deep ridges that kind of look like craters, when I have a bath they become very tender.
        Originally I thought that it was dead skin caused by the wrinkles so I tried to cut it off with a blade, but it just keeps coming back.

  • Andy

    I have had this problem for a couple of years now and have just come across this diagnosis. The pictures are extremely mild compared to outbreak I have and I regularly have a burning sensation when pressure is applied on my heels.

    I have regularly been to my GP and only been prescribed with an over the counter athletes foot cream. This does work for a while but its like the infection fights back. My work situation does not help this as I wear steel toe cap boots for around over 10 hours a day.

    I would like to hear any advice or similar experiences.

    • admin

      Thanks so much for the comment Andy. You’re absolutely right that the pictures are extremely mild compared to how bad Pitted Keratolysis can become.

      Years back I was prescribed basically a medical grade antiperspirant. I would roll it on just like an old school roll on deodorant. Similar to your experience, it seemed to work for a while. However, once I stopped using it, or my feet were wet for an extended period of time, the problem would quickly come back.

      Keeping my feet dry as often as possible as seemed to help, but it’s almost like it’s just laying dormant. As soon as the conditions are right, the problem always come back.

    • I just read this article and it says acne medication works very well. I would run this by your doctor or dermatologist first before trying. I have the same problem. I’m a carpenter and I wear gortex boots all day and I have had this for over ten years. Treatment for athletes feet had signs of improvement but afterward out comes right back. I just talked to a derma today (that’s how I learned this really is) and they prescribed some anti bacterial gel. What else I found works well is walking at the beach bare foot.Also, a boot dryer over night and two pairs of boots alternated daily. What I plan to do next week is bring socks to change at work and use sandals to drive to and from work.

    • Aaron palmer

      Hi I suffer from the same condition went to specialist got powders like u say doesn’t stop it for long then I found bamboo fibre socks they stopped my feet from sweating and smelling as I was usually wearing my steel cap work boots doing truck Tyre fitter for 12 hours a day

      • admin

        Thank you so much for sharing! We’ve gotten a lot of comments about pitted keratolysis being a problem with those who need to where boots all day. If the bamboo fibre socks are able to work for others like they did for you, that would probably be the most cost effective and practical advice I’ve heard. Thanks again.

  • Leann

    My husband has finally got a diagnosis after over 10yrs and many different speciality doctors. We finally found a dermatologist who knows what he is talking about! Over the counter stuff or oral antibiotics has never worked. He treated it with rx clindamycin gel twice a day it has conpletely gotten rid of the crator look and smell! He also has hyperhydrosis so being treated with rx generic got drysol (antiperspirant) and after twice daily swearing has stopped 50% already after only a few wks of treatment.the “bruised” feeling has went away as well!!!! He can enjoy wearing flip flops and no longer embarrassed to take his work boots off to try on shoes! Hope this helps someone out as we have went to podiatrist,orthopedic, family, well over 10 drs n a dermatologist figured it out Johnny on the spot! Also u may have a fungal problem which is another cream to use. All of these rx are very cheap!!!

  • So my derma prescribed Erythromycin typical gel 2% to kill the bacteria and hypercare 20% solution for the perspiration. 2 nights of once daily treatment and I’ve noticed huge improvements. I would say a 50% reduction in the size of the effected site and much more shallow. The hypercare is annoying because it must be used before bedtime and it is applied, wrapped in Saran wrap, and a sock placed over the wrap to hold it place. Then again, it is well worth the results.

    • admin

      The treatment may not be fun, but neither is having Pitted Keratolysis!

      • charlie

        Hello, I’ve also had this issue for quite some time and only recently got diagnosed of the problem. My doctor prescibed erythromycin gel 2%, there were some results, however, because my situation is severe I’m now taking the oral antibiotics to the gel (500mg). I hope to see some results in the next month.

        • admin

          Good to know. Let us know what results you see with the antibiotics. That may really help someone else here too. Thanks!

        • Pitted Keratolysis is a skin infection due to poor hygiene and/or excessive moisture. I am no doctor, but I don’t see how an oral antibacterial is going to work better than one applied directly to the affected site. One thing you must do is fix the hygiene problem. Maybe your shoes don’t breath will enough like my Gortex boots. Another thing that works well for construction workers and military is to have two pair of boots and alternate them daily.

          • Pam

            Hi I just found out that this is the condition that I have. I have suffered with this for at least 25 years. I have used athlete’s foot sprays, Drysol, and a prescription from the doctor called lamisil. I have suffered with really sweaty and smelly feet. My shoes and boots became very smelly. The insoles of my shoes would be wet from the perspiration. I found that my foot would be really itchy when I was going to bed. I remember getting up and using a hair brush to scratch my foot. When I went to get orthotics, the doctor gave me someDrysol to use. This has helped with the perspiration. I found that I needed to use this all the time and not how the directions suggested as my feet would start to sweat and my insoles of my shoes would be very wet. I have recently started to go for pedicures. I have found this has helped with the itching. My pedicurist suggested that when my foot was itchy that I use the foot scraper (what you would use to remove the dry skin from the soles of your feet)and this has helped. When I do this I do not wet my feet, I do this on my dry feet. My pedicurist also said that with the small holes in my feet moisture was getting trapped between the layers of skin and this is why my feet were itchy. I recently purchased some Terrasil cream and have been trying that. Other people suggested going to see a skin specialist but I need a referral. I hope this is helpful. I think my next step will be to get referred to a specialist.

          • Joseph

            Pam, I’m no doctor but I dissected the brain of a derma on this so I’m just repeating her info, the itch would most likely be athletes foot. Pitted Keratolysis doesn’t cause an itch. It isn’t unlikely to have both. Go see your primary doctor to get a referral and tell them it’s this Pitted Keratolysis. If you are right, they’ll give you the appropriate treatment, if you are wrong then they’ll tell you what you have. It took me over 10 years to be diagnosed. And some weapons grade acne medicine and anti persperant and my condition is nearly gone 3 weeks into treatment. After 3-4 days, it was no longer painful to attend for long periods and after a week my feet stopped smelling like a disgusting locker room. It has gone from most of the heel to just a shallow crescent.

  • Anonymous

    Buy Geox shoes. Works wonders :)

    • admin

      A breathable shoe…. nice.

      • Becky johndon

        I’m being treated for P K right now and I have to say my podiatrist and I are at a wit’s end. I took a ten day course of oral antibiotics (Cipro b/c my insurance wouldn’t pay for erythromicin)& I am applying topical clindomycin 1% to my feet twice a day, plus nystatin 100,000units/gram in case there is a little athlete’s foot there–she wanted to prescribe something else, but again my insurance blocked her, plus I’ve been using Hypercare 20% before bed, and scrubbing my feet with a nail brush & a cleanser containing 10% benzoilperoxide . One month goes by and my feet DO stop having a horrible smell, but the pits are still all over the balls of my feet and my toes. This week I added benzoilperoxide % acne cream leave-on to the cocktail. I am supposed to go back and see her on the 15 th–2 mo. It’s still here…frustrating,

  • Lisa

    I cured mine using methalated spirits. Works a treat!

    • admin

      Never heard of anyone doing that before! Thanks so much for the tip!

    • Mark Allport

      Hi can you tell me exactly how you used meths spirits and I will give it a try Thanks Mark

    • Jimbob

      Got rid of it by washing my feet with vodka every evening for a fortnight. A year and a half later still no return.

    • Joshua

      Curious to know what percentage solution of denatured alcohol (aka methylated spirits) works best. Can someone post? I recently tried a bleach solution and it seemed to be working, but I burned my feet and had to wait for them to recover. Don’t want to make the same mistake again!

  • Chloe

    Hi there,

    I just stumbled across this website while doing other research. For the passed number of months I have been treating my feet with Athletes Foot creams, and no matter how much I take care of my feet, when they get wet they show up with these crater like holes on my heels. My feet are no longer smelly (which maybe indicates that I did have a fungal infection which has now cleared) but the craters are still there and look very similar to this condition.

    I really dont know what to do :( I started a beauty course recently and am dreading having to show my feet when we are learning about pedicures, which will be in the next number of weeks. Is there some sort of quick fix or remedy that will really work? And is this condition definitly not contagious?

  • Tom

    Guys,

    I had this for a long time and it also came with a horrible horrible itch that was almost impossible to scratch.

    I went through a couple of years of seeing different doctors etc who often put it down to Athlete’s Foot etc, I had already been prescribed Clotrimazole and Aluminium Chloride etc.

    One doctor prescribed me a 4 month course of Terbinafine and all the symptoms went after a couple of weeks – I finished the course to make sure.

    It might be worth investigating!

  • Dave

    Hi Guys had this condition on and off for 20 years. Thank god for the internet as the doctors at my local clinic are hopeless and did no know what it was, they to kept prescribing athletes foot creams at £8 (approx. $12) a pop which were completely useless. Can I let you know how I control it as I now have come to the conclusion its a life long battle once you have it. This is what I do:

    I have to where shoes all day and this feeds the fungus & Bactria.So as soon as you get home flip flops saddles round the house and down the shops,driving, etc. The bugs love it warm and wet so dry and cold kills them off. Clean socks every day and use cotton socks not man made fibres,although you can buy antibacterial sock off ebay (a special mix of fibre). Microwave your sock occasionally for 1 minute slippers and trainers also, maybe not your best leather shoes ? The microwave swill boil the little crtters heads, the smell given of is them frying, very satisfying.

    Aloe Vera gel is cooling on burning feet, keep it in the fridge makes it even better.

    Eucalyptus oil, a small bottle is about $8 off ebay but you only need a few drops in a bowl of water (do not apply neat it will burn your skin it needs a carrier like water or olive oil to dilute it. Soak your feet for 30 minutes after work, when you dry them off your feet will feel like new. Don’t wash your towels, socks on a cool wash make sure its 60 degrees wash to kill the fungus & bacteria.

    Please read the overview of eucalyptus and do not get in in your eyes wash your hands properly after handling, burns like chilli in your eye.

    Overview:

    Oil from the eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) is used today in many over-the-counter cough and cold products, to relieve congestion. Eucalyptus oil is also found in creams and ointments used to relieve muscle and joint pain, and in some mouthwashes.

    The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia and serves as the main food for koalas. The oil was used in traditional Aboriginal medicines to heal wounds and fungal infections. Teas made of eucalyptus leaves were also used to reduce fevers. Eucalyptus soon spread to other traditional medicine systems, including Chinese, Indian (Ayurvedic), and Greek and European.

    In 19th-century England, eucalyptus oil was used in hospitals to clean urinary catheters. Laboratory studies later showed that eucalyptus oil contains substances that kill bacteria. It also may kill some viruses and fungi. Studies in animals and test tubes also found that eucalyptus oil acts as an expectorant, meaning it loosens phlegm.
    Plant Description:

    There are many species of eucalyptus. Some are the size of an ornamental shrub, and some grow to be giant trees. The type of eucalyptus that is most often used as medicine is called blue gum or Australian fever tree. It can grow as high as 230 feet. Its 4 – 12 inch leaves are dark green and shiny. Its blue-gray bark peels to reveal a cream-colored inner bark.
    Medicinal Uses and Indications:

    Although eucalyptus oil has been used orally to treat some conditions, the oil is toxic when taken by mouth and must be diluted. You should not take eucalyptus oil by mouth unless your doctor tells you to.

    Cough and cold

    Eucalyptus is used in many medicines to treat coughs and the common cold. It can be found in many lozenges, cough syrups, rubs, and vapor baths throughout the United States and Europe. Herbalists often recommend using fresh leaves in teas and gargles to soothe sore throats and treat bronchitis and sinusitis.

    Ointments containing eucalyptus are also applied to the nose and chest to relieve congestion. Eucalyptus oil helps loosen phlegm, so many people inhale eucalyptus steam to help treat bronchitis, coughs, and the flu.

    Plaque and gum disease

    Eucalyptus oil is also rich in cineole, an antiseptic that kills bacteria that can cause bad breath. Eucalyptus is used in some antiseptic mouthwashes, along with other oils, and the mouthwashes have been shown to help prevent plaque and gingivitis.

    Other uses

    On the skin, eucalyptus oil has been used to treat arthritis, boils, sores and wounds. The oil is also used in some insect repellents, and one study found that an oil of lemon eucalyptus product may also keep ticks away.
    What’s It Made Of?:

    The leaves and oil of the eucalyptus plant are used as medicine. Eucalyptus oil consists of the volatile oil made from the fresh leaves and branch tops of the eucalyptus plant. Eucalyptus leaves contain tannins, which are believed to help reduce inflammation; flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants; and volatile oils.
    Available Forms:

    Eucalyptus oil is available in many products, including liquids and ointments. The leaves of the eucalyptus plant are available fresh, dried (to be used in teas), and in liquid extracts. Commercial cough drops, syrups, vaporizer fluids, liniments, toothpastes, and mouthwashes may contain eucalyptus oil or its active ingredient, cineole. Some of the familiar over-the-counter remedies that contain eucalyptus oil include Listerine, Mentholatum Cherry Chest Rub, and Vicks VapoRub.
    How to Take It:

    Pediatric

    Do not give a child eucalyptus orally (by mouth), as it is toxic. Do not give cough drops containing eucalyptus to children under 6.

    For a cold, don’ t apply eucalyptus oil, salve or chest rub to the face or nose of a child under 2. Ask your doctor before using eucalyptus oil as a chest rub for your child or to inhale steam for congestion.

    Adult

    Do not take eucalyptus oil orally (by mouth) except under your doctor’ s supervision, as it is toxic.

    Eucalyptus oil (for topical application): add ½ – 1 mL (15 – 30 drops) of oil to 1/2 cup of carrier oil (sesame, almond, olive, etc.). For inhalation, add 5 – 10 drops of oil to 2 cups boiling water. Place towel over head and inhale steam
    Precautions:

    The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and that can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.

    Eucalyptus oil is generally safe when applied to the skin of adults. Don’ t apply eucalyptus oil, salve or chest rub to the face or nose of a child under 2.

    People with asthma, seizure disorders, liver or kidney disease, and low blood pressure should not use eucalyptus without first talking to their doctors.

    Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use eucalyptus.

    Eucalyptus oil is toxic when taken by mouth. Do not take eucalyptus oil except under your doctor’ s supervision.
    Possible Interactions:

    http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/eucalyptus-000241.htm#ixzz2AZpxTILl

    Don’t be put off this really works well !!!

    And my final tip and you will like this one, a minimum two week vacation in a hot beach type holiday.

    By far the best and most effective. The sea and sea salt heals broken skin, the hot sand fry’s any Bactria/fungus between your toes and you don’t need to wear shoes for most of the two weeks, and you come back tanned and feeling 100% again. The UV in the suns rays kills bactira they use UV in water filters so try and sunbath on your front soles up to the sun it also drys them completely.

    Hope this helps you folk :¬D

    • Linda

      http://www.comfortstationstore.com/eucalyptus_oil

      Hi my son has just been diagnosed with PK and after 5 years of trying drs methods and reading your comment I will give this spray ago and see how it goes…My GP told me today that my son needs to wear all leather shoes and cotton socks and use withfield ointment my chemist is getting it in for me to try. I have been soaking his feet in detol, pinetarsil, and baby oil and using diabetic moisturizer cream straight after covered with clean socks overnight and it seemed to be getting better then would return full swing so will take all these suggestions into account and will advise of reactions. Thx

  • lan

    i get this every time i’ve been wearing rubber boots for a longer time. (festivals in the summer).

  • Mtk

    Hi, i have the same, and today i heard thet for cholera, what is also caused by a bacteria, the best what you can use is vinegar or fresh lemon juice, cause this bacteria dosn’t rezist the acid, i will try out and if i have results, i will let you know.

  • Larry Pratt

    I was trying to treat my feet with tea tree oil and anti-fungal. After learning about pitted keratolysis and seeing some photos on the web, I switched to anti-biotics. It’s essentially gone after a few days of topical antibiotics applied in the morning and before bed. Yeah!

  • Michael Novak

    I’ve had this problem for about 2 years and I always thought it was just bad athletes foot. Recently I’ve been wondering how I can get rid of it, I’ve always tried athletes foot meds but they’ve never worked. So In doing research I saw what seemed like a mild case of what I have and I was shocked that’s its bacterial. I wash dishes for about 3 hours a day at work and its so bad my feet sometimes start bleeding. Is their anyway I can possibly get rid of this or possibly make it less severe?

  • lisa

    I just put neat meth spirits on a cotton ball then wiped all over my feet

  • mike

    I’ve PT since I was about 13.
    First: It is NOT a hygiene issue! If your feet sweat more than average and wear snug shoes for extended periods of time (i.e., you work for a living), you have a good chance of developing this condition. And, unfortunately, it will rear its ugly head every once in a while no matter what you do.

    I tried all the athletes foot treatments, otc anti-fungal creams, even perscription oral antibiotics. What worked the best and I still use today over 20 years later is a good strong pine oil cleaner. NOT PINESOL!!! You need to find something with at least 50% pine oil. I use a product called Hexol. I soak my feet in a tub of hot water with a few capfulls of my pine cleaner. You will know you have the right thing when the water turns cloudy white.

    Give it a try. Its worked for everyone I’ve known who had to deal with this.

  • keegan Ratajczak

    I have this same crap and have tried a ton of stuff. Im not a blogger but hate for others to walk around with this weird shit. Cheapest idea that works better then anything I have tried yet. BAKING SODA! ! Rub it into your foot good enough so it fry’s the spot and then dump good amounts in your sock and shoes. Only down side is walking on clumps and it kinda dries your feet out. Hope this helps.

  • Peter

    I have had PK for many years and only just found this website. I’ve tried the Vodka Method. It worked great – 5 days in and it is almost gone! I bought a large bottle of the cheapest nastiest vodka I could find and used cotton wool balls to apply it after a good wash & dry of the feet first. I find that doing this before bed works best, but I also apply the booze in the morning for good measure. My feet still get a wet throughout the day, but the skin is healing regardless.

    The only other thing that worked for me – and this is the most pleasant of all cures – sun, sand, sea. Go on holiday to the beach. Walk barefoot a lot. Get your feet wet in the sea. The salt kills it and dissenfects it, the sand exfoliates it and the sun … well that just keeps you nice and warm.

    Thanks & good luck to all.

    P.

  • i have just got pitted keratolysis, i was oblivious as to what it was and kinda confused. after seeing my GP i was told it was pitted keratolysis, and i was given something called fucidin cream. the results aresnt as great as i hoped them to be. and by the way pitted keratolysis sucks. it stinks and it looks gross, ic ant live my life like i used to.

  • Terri

    My son is dealing with this. His primary was treating it as athletes foot and it was not working, his brother is a medlab major and said because the smell was so bad that we are dealing with bacterial , we soaked his feet nightly alternating between mildly diluted bleach and the next night adding one cup of vinegar to 1/2 basin of warm water. After 6-8 weeks it was gone , but the smell was kept in check almost immediately.That was last summer and it is back again. Now the primary wants to send him to a derm and we found out an appt will be months. We’re back to the vinagar and hoping it will disapear sooner because we are catching it earlier.

  • jaj101

    Is it possible to have Pitted Keratolysis without odor? My feet have had a problem that looks exactly like this for about a year, and I wear boots and sweat everyday for work. However, I have never had smelly feet and my boots do not smell.

  • RM

    I first experienced PK this time last year. It would flare up 24 hours after working on my feet longer than 3 hours(catering), exercising and/or spending the day gardening in my rubber boots (Bogs). It calmed down during fall and winter and by June seemed to have completely healed. I had a huge flare up last week and finally decided to see a doctor. I was diagnosed with PK. My skin has never had a pitted appearance. Just swollen lumps on the ball of my right foot. Painful burn and intense itching from the swelling. I never experienced an odor whatsoever. The doctor prescribed erythromycin topical solution 2%. This is my second day of treatment and I plan to be diligent with doctor’s orders of managing outbreaks: keep feet dry as possible; wear wool socks to wick moisture; consider wearing sandals as much as possible; wash feet with antiseptic daily; minimize tight-fitting, occlusive footwear; and avoid wearing same shoes 2 days in a row. I feel great empathy for those that have severe cases. I don’t perspire very much and I can imagine how difficult this condition would be to manage with the tendency to sweat a lot.

  • John

    For years I was suffering from a bad case off this which was extremely unpleasant. Like others on this board I was using athletes foot treatments which do not work as the problem is bacterial rather than fungal. Fucidin cream is a godsend. The problem goes as very quickly with appropriate washing and treatment. Unfortunately it always comes back as my feet are always hot and sweaty as I wear boots at work – at least I can treat it easily and I now only have a very mild case of this horrible problem.

  • Jay

    Me and my younger brother both have this problem, i think i might have caught it from him by wearing his trainers! LOL
    We have not seen any doctor but my brother says he is recovering from it by using fucidin cream, he says the smell has stopped and the skin is recovering in few days of using the cream, also he said he has bought cotton socks to wear now got rid of sport ones and does not where the same shoes everyday, i will start this cream from today and will let people know in about 7 days time.

  • Jacques

    Hi guy’s.
    I just stumbeld onto this site trying to figure out wot the heck’s going on with my feet!!!!????? well everybody’s comment’s make sens, I spend all day every day in steel cap toe boots( average about 17hr’s a day and a maximum of 24-40hrs when work calles for it)when my shift end’s I can hardly walk on my feet thy are so sore. Well I’m going to be trying all of the above mentioned treatments and c wot works for me!

    thnks a lot guy’s

  • Anthony

    Hi guys.

    I had PK for a number of years and FINALLY did something about it.

    this worked a charm and I nailed the problem in about three weeks, using the following:

    In the morning:
    • Use pumice stone on feet on affected areas. (Store pumice stone in solutino of anti-bacterial liquid between use)
    • Before putting on socks and shoes, rub sole of foot with rubbing alcohol.
    • Use Tea Tree foot powder in socks (Be generous here)
    • Use Tea Tree powder in shoes.
    • Use inner sole in shoes you wear
    • Change shoes you wear for work (alternate between at least two pairs)
    • At night, before bed, clean feet, rub down with rubbing alcohol.
    • Apply Zam-Buk ointment to soles of feet before going to sleep.

    Killed the problem off in three weeks! Feet will get a bit dry due to use of alcohol so use a Tea Tree oil and moisturizing cream mix if this happens.

    Hope this helps out, guys!

  • Mr G

    This is a post to what I’m thinking is a ‘Eureka’ moment at the time of writing………

    I’ve had this condition for the last few years. It’s particularly bad if my feet get hot from wearing safety boots all day but occurs even from wearing trainers. It’s eating my heels away until they hurt to walk on. I’ve eventually got around to visiting the doctor about it as the smell and embarrassment has got too much.

    I was prescribed 5% BP Formaldehyde solution. 4 x 500ml bottles of it. I let my feet get hot to accentuate the craters and sweatiness. Poured 1 bottle into a bowl big enough to put both my feet in, ‘paddled’ for a couple of hours, dried them off and went to bed.

    By this morning it seems to have GONE! The damage to the soles of my feet is still visible but it will heal. My feet are now dry and don’t smell! I’ve kept checking them all day to look for the tell tale damp patch appearing on my heels. They’re still dry! I’ve sloshed some solution into my shoes and washed them out after. No more smelly shoes either. Wow!

    Words of warning for anyone who may try this: use it in a ventilated area or room. The vapour irritates the eyes very quickly. And keep it away from the kids.

    I haven’t tried the 12 hour working day test yet but will post back to give an update. But at the moment I’m one happy bunny.

  • John

    Oddly enough I only get these symptoms in the cold weather months. Never in the Summer no matter how long I wear the same pair of boots in one day. I guess that could be because I’m pretty much barefoot all the time from May through September if I’m not at work. I decided to start looking into the problem last winter when I was at a business networking meeting and I could smell that horrible stench wafting up from my shoes. If I could smell it, damn sure those close to me could as well. Anyhow, now that the weather is getting cooler again, those little craters are showing up again! I think I’ll start with the vinegar solution as I just happen to have a bottle of it at work. I’ve already been changing my socks and boots at least 3 times a day while at work. Hoping I will be squashing this issue this season!

  • mubeen

    Hi, I’m 24 years old male. Two monts ago i have few pitts on the ball of my left foot and from the first day they hurts a lot when i bend my foot or try to sit on ball of foot. First i thought it to be just a little skin infetion and hoped to go away in few weeks but it never happend. Now after three months these pitts are not more pitts but look a like planters wart and they hurt a lot when walk. Ican’t even walk properly and for the record my feet also sweats a lot.
    please hepl me know wether these are pitted keratolysis or planters wart and suggest something to treat them. Thanks

  • Samantha Petruck

    Hi All:

    I’m so excited to have finally figured out what this is!! I acquired this while in the military and thought it was super-aggressive athlete’s foot for over 10 years.

    I have very sweaty feet, so I frequently get athlete’s foot, but the little circles never go away- I have learned to manage both the pitted Keratolysis and the athlete’s foot, but it takes constant vigilance.

    First, take a long bath and soak your feet. Bye one of those Mr. Pumice food scrubby cubes and remove as much of the dead skin from your feet as you possibly can. Because I’ve become expert at this, I also went to Sally’s Beauty Supply and got a round-shaped pumice for doing in between the toes (this is very important).

    Once you have ALL the dead skin removed, trim the nails to get any nasties that are hiding under there.

    The constant removal of the dead skin almost makes this condition unnoticeable (it certainly keeps the stink down). I do have many pairs of shoes and never wear the same shoes two days in a row. I wear flip-flips till snow falls. And for Christmas, I ask people to get me the $12-(per pair) pairs of socks from the sporting good stores. There is nothing like good sox (as we all know). Don’t be cheap with your shoes and socks. This is serious and if you’re willing to pay a couple hundred to see a doctor- you should be willing to pay some $$ to take care of what you need to do for you.

    If you have super sweaty feet and get athlete’s foot also (as I do) Keep a spray bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar (I like the smell of this kind) and spray your feet when you get out of the shower until it is totally gone. This is SO cheap and will work. (vinegar is acid and fungus can’t live in that environment).

    For you guys that just couldn’t maneuver in the tub- or are too manly to get into the tub, go get a pedicure…but tell her what is going on and throw her a real nice tip so she really gets the job done. I usually do it myself twice a year, at least. During those two occasions I spend hours exfoliating every inch of my feet. It takes time, but then you’re good for a long time- at least until it gets cold and I have to put my feet back into covered shoes…then it always comes back- and the cycle begins again.

    Much love to all my smelly-footed friends.
    Hope this helped!

    Sam

  • Jay

    I have had this for years.I had to ring my socks out after I take my shoes off.My feet itched so bad I’ve used bricks and knives.I couldn’t walk for days because the puss and blood coming out of the pits in my feet.I wanted to just chop my feet off I was so bummed from this.It is from your feet overproducing sweat.The best way to stay on top of it is to wear well vented shoes,or boots,and keep a couple extra pair of socks with you and when your not working let them puppys hang loose in some flip flops or open toe shoe wear.Every chance I get the let my toes out to breath I do it.If you don’t it’ll flair right back up after they roast in sweat for a couple days.Alot of the things they suggest on here helps get rid of the pits,but remember that keeping your feet well ventilated and dry is key to keep the pk from coming back.I had to crawl four blocks to the Health Dept.because my feet was bleeding and full puss and,open sores to find out this is what I had,because I thought it was AF.

  • Dan

    Hi,
    I just wanted to share my thoughts on this.

    I suffered from PK for years and nothing seemed to help. Before I suffered from this, I wore 2 pairs of socks all the time and I never had PK. I thought I might try wearing 2 pairs of socks again as I haven’t anything to lose. Sounds simple but every week it got slightly better. Within 1 month it had all but gone. 2 months later all gone!

    Try it. Won’t cost a penny.

  • jay

    Hi
    I had PK for years, i have now fully recovered my remedy was stop wearing sport socks and change to cotton socks, also i used fucidin cream for a week to kill bacteria and smell, im so happy now and was surprised that the change of socks material was all that was needed.

  • Dustin

    I treated this as a fungus issue since October 2013 when this appeared (we built a new factory and I am responsible for part of the move… 14 hour days running around in sweaty steel toe shoes). I then found this site and realized it was a bacterial infection. I religiously scrubbed my feet with clean & clear facewash, which nearly killed all of it. A trip to costa rica wearing nothing but sandals for a week finished it off. I am still working the same job, but scrubbing my feet with facewash daily has prevented its return.

  • Mike

    This is exactly what I have been looking for! I am in the same situation as most (sweaty smelly feet, having to wear work boots all day). I have tried many OTC meds…couple prescription meds (that I found out later was for fungal infections)….now I have some new things to try….
    I work in mine and have to deal with brine so I know the salt water does help (I had to go swimming in it for about an hour for 5 shifts in a row (which really sucked because it’s 93% salt lol) but I noticed afterwards that while I had to wear my brine soaked boots for the rest of my 12 hr shift 5 days in a row it seemed to have cleared up by almost 75%..even the smell…but it destroys my work boots so this isn’t a very cost effective method at 4-5pairs of boots a month lol….
    I am going to try bring some of this brine home to try a foot soak and see if it will help..along with trying to get a prescription for antibacterial gel and maybe 2-3 pairs of work boots to change out on a dialy basis

  • Will

    Hi great stories from everyone. Have been diagnosed recently with pk but I’ve had it for a couple of years.

    I’m a martial arts instructor, working mainly bare foot on rubber mats so my feet get plenty of air and light, but My feet do get sweaty. I always thought all the tears and craters in my feet were just because my feet get flogged from all the training I do bare foot.

    Does anyone recommend tea tree oil for treatment? I was recommended using it for a fungal nail infection I had which seems to be working, reading up on it it seems to have antibacterial uses as well as antifungal. Been trying it on soles of my feet for a couple days, will post if I get any results.

    Hang in there team.

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