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White patches on feet turn white with moisture

Please read carefully! Most would think this is a podiatry issue, however I have been to two renowned podiatrists who were stumped which leads me to believe the root of my problem is dermatological.

I have four hardened patches on the sides of my feet that are symmetrical on my two feet- they are on the outer sides of my heel and on the sides of my foot right below my pinky toe. both look the same on both sides. When my feet are dry, these spots are pinkish/red in color and different texture (more hard/rubbery) than the rest of my skin. Whenever my feet come in contact with moisture for even a short period of time, these spots quickly begin to retain moisture and become raised and turn WHITE! The longer my feet are wet and soak, the whiter they become. This happens after showers/baths, swimming, and even wearing socks for more than an hour. They typically appear to have stay contained to a distinct border and do not appear to drastically grow larger or get smaller in diameter throughout the year.

I have had this problem for MANY years and have not found a solution. It does not appear that this is a commonly diagnosed problem as the only evidence I see of others with this condition are from forums such as these where people are desperately searching for an answer. No it is not pitted keratolysis because there are not pits. It's also not athlete's foot because there is not a smell.

I have tried tea tree oil, callus creams, and wart removers with no effect. The only way I have been able to combat this is by using a pumice stone or foot file to break down the patch each time I shower to reduce the white color. I have scrubbed to the point of bleeding in hopes to get to the "bottom" of whatever it is, but it still reappears. This is not dead skin that can merely be scrubbed away, because these come back in a matter of days. It's like they are alive and just regrow every time they get wet.

My first podiatrist said it was due to the way my feet were rubbing against my shoes near my toes and that orthopedic surgery would fix it. I tried to explain to him that I really think it is a skin issue because why would I have the same issue at the back of my heels where there is no rubbing! Plus, I have mostly been off my feet and barefoot this whole quarantine and no difference. The next doctor said we would break them down by putting a callus cream on each night, wrapping my feet in plastic wrap and covering with socks to soak the spots, and then scrub them away when I wake up in the morning. All this did was give me a terrible foot and ankle rash from sleeping with Saran Wrap around my feet.

These failed attempts and my own research believe me to be that it could be an internal fungal issue as is does not appear to be something that topical treatments can easily fix. However, I still don't know where to go with that information, what type of doctor to consult with, or how to get a doctor to actually listen to me and believe me! This has deeply affected my self-esteem and inhibits me from partaking in social events including pools, lakes, beaches, hot tubs, pedicures, etc or even getting out of a shower when staying with friends or a significant other because it is so damn embarrassing for someone to see my feet and ask what is that??? Also, about every time I get a pedicure, my technician (people who see dozens of feet every week) either tell me they have never seen anything like it before or have an obvious visual reaction.

Please please help. I'm so absolutely desperate to fix this. I would really like to explore all options before going on an elimination diet or paying for a procedure to remove them that will permanently scar my feet.

Thank you in advance.

7 Responses
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Avatar universal
I am having the same exact issue on the heels of my foot and sides of big toe. No doctor can help and I live in Florida, beaches and pools are life. This is awful.
Helpful - 1
have you figured this out??
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did you get this resolved??? don’t leave us hanging
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I have the same.  Have soaked in vinegar and tried many other things.  Doctors don’t help and way too much money spen
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Has anyone figured this out yet? I have the exact same thing on the inner side of both heels. The spots are circular and turn super white when wet. I scrape or pumice them off and they just come back.  The areas also become slightly raised like a blister then they recede when fully dried out but are still noticeable. I’ve been to a podiatrist who gave me 40% Urea cream, a dermatologist who gave me Halog ointment, and neither worked. I think it’s fungal so I went to another podiatrist who gave me Terbinafine Hydrochloride (I previously tried Lotrimin Ultra, also didn’t work)  which I just started a few days ago. Doesn’t look like it’s improving, but I guess I should give it more time. What else could it be? I’ve tried everything and these doctors are clueless!
Helpful - 0
Same as me!!! I went AGAIN to Derm 2 days ago and got antibacterial cream for my feet. He seemed to think it was just peeling skin from the sweatiness of my feet. Because I have peeling/ cracking feet when they’re dry, when they’re wet, moisture gets in quicker and easier making them white! The skin on my arch (non pressure baring) is perfect which made him think it’s to do with contact areas and sweat. Pitted keratosis is what he thinks its similar too hence the bacterial lotion. I’ll keep you updated
@emhxhsh, has the bacterial lotion worked at all?
I have the same problem On my toes ! I've bad it for years and I even had it on my fingers on my hands. The way I got it on my hands was because I use to work with gloves and my hands would sweat ALOT. I went to Mexico and they prescribed me some sort of antibiotics. The ones on my fingers went away but not on my toes! I went to a dermatologist last year and she didn't help AT ALL basically said to just deal with it. So it has to be bacterial since the ones on my hands went away after antibiotics
Still dealing with this issue. It’s not fungal and I had the podiatrist scrape it. Lab said it’s actinic keratosis and he put me on fluorouracil 5%. Still not helping and been using it two months. Anything help for you guys?
Ok, try tea tree oil and Vitamin E oil. You can get them from Whole Foods. Apply tea tree first then vitamin E. Rub in well 3 times a day. You should see improvement. My areas have changed dramatically after a few weeks. Hope this helps!
@jdlaws84 how is the situation now??
@wannaseeaki the tea tree oil and vitamin e helped some, but it sort of  reverted. I got the area biopsied and the results were inconclusive. Not cancerous and no known cause or treatment. My podiatrist is still waiting to hear back from the pathologist on next steps. I’ll keep you guys updated. Sigh… I hope we figure this ish out!
@jdlaws84 oh my goodness! I truly hope  you can find a cure for good, for us all, good luck, keep me posted ;)
@jdlaws84 any update??
i’m assuming the bacterial lotion worked for @emhxhsh^
@wannaseeaki no the bacterial lotion didn’t work :( helped it dry a bit but didn’t cure me
so you’re still dealing with this??? omg
and do you know what the name of it is/was?
@emhxhsh & sorry did you ever use one of those foot file things or did it just show up?
Any updates guys? Nothing helps me!!! Tried using like callus solutions to soak the skin with and then scraping the skin off with a blade- it just comes off and off and off for days?!  So much skin!? It’s like my feet over produce skin to the point it does go white when wet because there’s just so many layers. Not sure there will ever be a cure :( I’m so sad it could be genetic x
Hey guys, so the spot on my right heel went away completely! I used a mixture of hemp oil, vitamin e, frankincense, myrrh, tea tree oil, sandalwood, neem, and calendula oil. Apply oil 3 times daily - sometimes up to 5.  The spot on my left heel is significantly smaller and it doesn’t turn as white when wet, but I’m still treating it praying it goes away just like the spot that was on my right heel. Fingers crossed. Hope this helps!
@Jdlaws84 how long did it take for you to see a change using the oil mixture?
@IS635 about two months. Both heels are completely healed now, and the areas look like the white scaly spots were never there.
@Jdlaws84 oh wow! Thanks for responding, so happy to hear the other one went away too!
Thank you as I suffer from the same problem. Did you mix equal parts of all oils? I’m going to try this.
@Jdlaws84 did you mix equal parts of all oils? I have been suffering from this and appreciate your advice!
I used the hemp oil and vitamin e as a base - about two tablespoons worth each. The rest of the oils were about 8-10 drops each. Make sure to shake the final solution up well before applying. My heels are still healed with no scaly patches whatsoever, thank God! The only thing I do now is apply lotion and petroleum jelly post shower and at night to keep them soft. Hope this info helps!
Avatar universal
Hi there, do your feet sweat a lot from this condition?  Hyper hydrosis is excessive sweating and exfoliative keratokysis can cause the white patches and cause peeling after touching water. The dermatologist may recommend Drysol. An over the counter antiperspirant called Certain Dri you can buy at Walmart in the deodorant section or this product from Amazon which is a foot cream that uses urea and   Lactic acid https://www.amazon.com/Valjean-Labs-Repair-Foot-Cream/dp/B07K7YJ1NP/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=valjean+labs+foot+cream&qid=1626370572&sr=8-3
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Avatar universal
Help! I’m the same
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Avatar universal
I suffer from the same thing. I did see one dermatologist but she seemed like she didn’t want to be bothered with anything regarding the foot. And recommended a podiatrist.  I have also gone to two podiatrists with no luck. I have spent so much money on creams and nothing seems to work. Have you gotten a diagnosis?
Helpful - 0
any update??
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