I'm a 48 year old woaman from the UK. I've been picking obsessively at the soles of my feet for about 16 years now. In my younger days I had other obsessive habits: a year or so of OCD riutualistic behaviour with which involved categorising things with numbers, then obsessive blackhead removal followed by a period of constant searching for split ends. The foot picking began after a period of self loathing in my early 30s and I have been unable to stop.
The good thing is that it's largely invisible to the outside world and I manage to control it in the company of others, apart from close family. To this extent it hasn't ruined my life, job or anything but is nonetheless causing me great angst.
Until I came on this site this evening I did not know this condition had a name and identity, CSP, which is strangely comforting. I hope just being on the site will help me overcome the problem. I have to say I 'm hugely grateful to all of you for posting your experiences here because it helps a newcomer like myself to understand that we are not alone.
I have suffered terrible guilt and self disgust at my habit. I think the problem shifted to my feet because I loathe them anyway. They are big and wide and ugly with bunions. I've never been able to wear dainty strappy sandals and the foot picking is making things worse. In the summer the problem is exacerbated because my feet are in flip flops or sandals rather than safely zipped up in boots with socks all day! In winter evenings, when I'm in my slippers, and no one's around, are far worse. Sometimes I pick my feet so much (and use a chiropody blade too) they bleed and I have to clean blood off my shoes and wear plasters. I even limp for a few hours if I go too mad.
I can't help thinking that the typical OCD perfectionism is at play here. I feel that I am striving to achieve a perfect smoothness with my feet and am not satisfied with any kind of roughness. Unfortunately I know deep down the roughness is mostly caused by me and I'm making it worse. Sometimes I manage to avoid foot picking for a while, when I'm out all day and in the evenings in the company of others. It usually occurs in situations when I am bare footed and resting for long periods eg. watching TV, using my laptop, reading the paper. These are all situations where I cannot resist picking my darned feet and eating the skin!! My husband sometimes tries to stop me but it just adds to the tension I'm feeling.
I'd be particularly interested in hearing any comments from compulsive foot pickers out there. Is there a method for dealing with it, other than cutting my feet off or tying my hands behind my back...?