Pitted keratolysis is a skin condition affecting the soles of the feet and, less commonly, the palms of the hands. It is caused by a bacterial infection of the skin and may give off an unpleasant odor. The condition causes pitting (crater like shapes) on the soles of the feet (characteristically, on weight bearing areas) together with a strong odour.
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.
Pitted keratolysis can occur in people of any race, any age, and either sex, though it is more common in males. Athletes and military personnel tend to develop this condition most commonly. Conditions that make people more likely to develop pitted keratolysis include:
Treatment and Prevention
Keeping the feet as dry as possible is important. Try the following:
In addition to recommending the above steps to minimize moisture, your podiatrist or doctor may advice any of the following treatments:
With some combination of these treatments, the skin lesions and odor of pitted keratolysis usually disappear within 4 weeks.