What You Should Know About Pitted Keratolysis

One of the diseases people diagnosed with Type II diabetes should be aware of is pitted keratolysis. This bacterial skin infection targets the pals of hands and soles of feet. If you have a job that requires you to wear closed footwear for long periods, you are prone to developing this condition. As you know, bacteria survive and thrive in moist and dark environments.

What Pitted Keratolysis Is
This condition affects the skin. It can target the palms of your hands, but it usually affects weight-bearing areas of the body like the soles of your feet. Pitted keratolysis creates pits or depressions in the skin’s top layer. It also produces a bad odor. It is also common in tropical regions where people are always barefooted.

The Causes
Corynebacterium, Kytococcus sedentarius, Actinomyces, or Dermatophilus congolensis are the common causes of the condition. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology says that pitted keratolysis is usually associated with diaphoresis or excessive sweating. This and tight shoes and socks are all contributing factors for the causative bacteria to proliferate. Additional risk factors for pitted keratolysis are:
• When you share your towel with others
• When you don’t dry your feet completely after you bathe
• When you don’t wear sweat-absorbent socks
You have a higher risk of developing pitted keratolysis if you are any of these professionals:
• Farmer
• Athlete
• Sailor
• Fishing worker
• Military personnel
• Industrial worker
Other factors that increase your risk as well are:
• Excessive sweating on feet and hands
• Hot and humid weather
• Thick skin on soles of feet or palms of hands
• Compromised immunity
• Aging
• Diabetes

Symptoms
Here are the following symptoms of pitted keratolysis:
• Clusters of 1-3 millimeter size pits in the skin’s top layer
• Clusters are usually on the soles of your feet
• The skin may appear wrinkly or white
• Clusters of pits usually appear around the heels or balls of the feet or in both areas
• They are more visible when they are wet
• When untreated, the pits merge to form a large lesion similar to a crater
• Gives off an unpleasant smell

Pharmacological Treatments Available
Pitted keratolysis is usually treated by antibacterial medications such as:
• Benzoyl peroxide
• Erythromycin
• Fusidic acid
• Mupirocin
• Clindamycin
• Erythromycin
Your physician may also treat excessive sweating with 20% aluminum chloride solution.

Natural Remedies
In addition to medications, you can also perform these preventive measures to help keep pitted keratolysis from recurring:
• Avoid sharing towels and footwear with others
• Avoid wearing the same kind of shoes for 2 days straight
• Wear absorbent wool socks or absorbent cotton
• Wash your feet with antiseptic cleanser or soap twice a day
• Apply antiperspirant on your feet
• Keep your feet and dry all the time

People with Type II diabetes have a higher risk of having pitted keratolysis, especially they are exposed to factors that encourage the growth of bacteria in their feet. Elevated sugars in the blood provide more food for bacteria. It is always best to have good foot care. Talk to your doctor about pitted keratolysis and see about treatments if you’re already struggling with the condition.

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