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Pitted Keratolysis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is pitted keratolysis (PK)?

PK is a bacterial infection of the skin on the bottom of your feet or palms of your hands. It is usually caused by large amounts of moisture. You may be at risk for PK if your feet or hands sweat more than usual. You may also be at risk if you wear tight shoes or gloves for long periods of time, or you live in a humid place.

What are the signs and symptoms of PK?

You may have small cracks, pits, or holes in the bottom of your feet or palms. Your feet or palms may burn or itch. If PK affects your feet, your feet and shoes may smell bad.

How is PK treated and managed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your feet or palms. You may need antibiotics to treat the infection. Antibiotics may be given as a pill or a cream. You may also need ointments to decrease foot or palm moisture and help your skin heal. You may need other treatments to help decrease foot or palm sweating. Do the following to manage and prevent PK:

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.