What is pitted keratolysis?

Pitted keratolysis is a skin condition that affects the soles of the feet and is characterized by the appearance of small, shallow pits or depressions on the skin. The condition is caused by the overgrowth of certain types of bacteria, particularly Corynebacterium species, in the moist and warm environment of the feet. These bacteria produce enzymes that break down the outer layer of skin, leading to the formation of pits.

Pitted keratolysis is more common in people who sweat excessively or who wear tight, poorly ventilated shoes. It is also more prevalent in people who have to wear shoes for extended periods, such as soldiers, athletes, and farmers. The condition is usually not painful or itchy, but it can cause a foul odor, especially when the feet are wet.

Treatment options for pitted keratolysis include topical antibiotics, antiperspirants, and regular washing and drying of the feet. It is also important to wear breathable shoes and socks and to avoid walking barefoot in public places. In severe cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

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