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Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder)

jadiegirl , 07 Mar 2009

Does anyone pick at the bottom of their feet? My story

Hi, I'm new to the site, so I've been poking around a little, and I've haven't seen any posts about anyone picking at the bottoms of their feet like I do. I'll do this to the point that patches of skin are very raw and it's painful to walk. Sometimes I bleed. I bought Solarcaine to spray on my feet b/c it numbs the skin and kills bacteria, but it also dries out the skin, so instead of helping my feet heal, it just makes my feet easier and less painful to pick. Usually I end up spreading bacitracin or neosporin on the raw areas and covering them with bandaids or gauze, then limping around my apt. The real problem comes when I have to go out or work, especially since I have to be on my feet most of the time at work. I've tried applying lotion to my feet twice a day to make them less "pickable" and have had moderate success, but when I reeeeeally want to pick, I can still do it. I've even tried filing my nails down to the skin, and while it was effective against picking, I just about went nuts. But despite the pain (and I'm a pain-adverse wimp), the embarassment, the expense (bandages, meds), the constant threat of infection, and friends/family always telling me to stop...I still do it! Arghhh! I also pick/bite at the skin around my fingernails and lips, plus I'll scratch sometimes at my scalp and the backs of my arms. But my feet are my biggest problem. Anyways, that's my story, and I was just wondering if anybody else also picks at the bottoms of their feet.
192 Answers
March 09, 2009
Yes, I also pick the dry, dead skin from the bottom of my heels and I would also eat or chew on the skin as well. However, since I recieved as a gift, this new thing called the "Ped Egg" which can be bought at any drug store, it basically is like a cheese grater and gets all the dead skin off the bottom of my heels, then I put lotion on it, so my feet, heels have been a lot better. I used to get these huge deep cracks, in my heels that would be painful and then pick them would make it worse, with raw spots like you used to have. Try buying a ped egg and applying lotion to the bottoms of your heels and feet, that has helped me with the feet anyway, the rest of my body, I still pick the scabs off.
March 09, 2009

In reply to by jadiegirl

I pick the bottom too. My thing is more of my big toe. I HATE the huge callous I get on the side. I've been doing this since fourth grade. I've gotten better about it recently, but at time I can pull about half the callous off, then my toe bleeds and I can't wear sandles. I wonder if a ped egg would work on my toe. I've been thinking about buying one as of lately.
December 27, 2010

In reply to by ragdolljo

it's like eg shaped on one side about the right size to fit in your hand and the other side is almost like a grater,so it removes all the dead skin slowly but surely when you rub it on your feet so it ends up that you have nothing to immediately pick at unless you want to go all out for really alive skin straight away...i'm a foot picker and i don't know aboutyou, but i always start out with dead skin and kind of slowly and unintentionally work my way towards really hurting myself. So yeah, i think if i didn't have any dead skin there in the first place it would really help me to avoud getting to the point where i was bleeding and couldn't walk properly.
August 23, 2016

In reply to by picks9876

Omg i do this exact same thing! mine is my right big toe that I've been picking at ever since I was in highschool (am 34 now). everytime the callous grows back it feels so big, painful and it feels like an itch that I can't get rid of which makes me wanna pick at it every time till it gets super sore and bleeds. I use a box cutter i find that box cutters seemed to work much better at removing the callous. also developed a stranger habit of getting a ballpoint pen and pressing it in one spot on my toe for some reason i get relief off doing this and then cutting that skin out again after awhile when pen marks start becoming more darker.
curious to know if you pick at your left or your right big toe? and what you use to cut it off with?

March 20, 2009

In reply to by jadiegirl

***UPDATE*** My mom sent me a Ped Egg! I love it. Using it with lotion has made my heels and sides of my feet much less pickable. If I use it on the middle of my foot though, where the skin isn't thick and dry, it just makes the skin kinda peel, and I start to pick it if I don't put lotion on asap. So the Ped Egg helps if I can stick to certain areas. It's also distracting and requires a lot of energy, so that keeps me from picking at least while I'm using it.
March 12, 2009
Yes, I do this too. My primary problem is my fingers, but I certainly do the bottoms of my feet, too. For me it's worse in the summer, when the skin on the bottoms of my feet starts peeling, and since I'm wearing sandals, it's so much easier to fool around with the bottoms of my feet. I haven't tried the ped egg... maybe I should get one. I've tried a pumice stone before, and it was too rough/painful for most of the bottom of my feet and felt gross.
March 13, 2009
Just this evening I started looking online about my compulsive picking. That's what led me here. And, like you, I primarily pick at the soles of my feet. I actually was able to stop doing it for a year or so, but last year I started picking at my left foot again. So far I've been able to stay away from my right foot, but I'm afraid that eventually I'll start on that one too. I also pick at the skin around my nails, but I've found that if I keep a pair of nail clippers close by and use them to cut off whatever's there keeps me from pulling or picking at it. It's not a perfect system, but it makes me feel like I have some sort of control over that part.
December 28, 2010

In reply to by Almonds

i know what your saying... I feel this big meat o my feet and i sit and watch TV and cant resist pulling the skin off..... A disorder?...some tine back I started putting lotion o my feet, they actualy sell a sfoot razor dead ass skin razor. lol.... since then.. I have nothing to go after.. my feet are ill work on picking my nails.. lol
March 20, 2009
Yes! My feet are my obsession. I actually look forward to when i can peel the calluses from my heels. I now use a corn parer tool to scrape away at hard skin to the point that i have bleeding and open wounds on my feet. Sometimes I have uncontrollable urges to do this and cannot wait to be alone to use my parer. It is very soothing, even when I bleed. The more skin I remove, the better. I love to look at it and sometimes keep it in pockets, etc.
March 27, 2009
I can remember being three years old, picking at my feet. I did it all the way through adulthood. It was so embarrassing, bc I was on the swim team and I was always afraid someone would notice. I picked at the soles and the heels. It used to be BAD. Like you, I'd bleed so bad, and I'd have to gauze myself up...I usually wore ace bandages and pretended to have hurt my ankle or something. Showering was awful, the pain was unbearable. I did this regularly until I was about 20-21 years old. (I'm 24 now). For some reason, I just set it in my mind that I wasn't going to do it anymore. I was moving to Hawaii, and intended on going to the beach a lot. I didn't want to have to worry about hiding my feet anymore, or worry about infection. Unfortunately, this led to me picking at my fingers even more than I used to. I still pick at the skin around my toes. I rarely get to the point where I bleed anymore though. I 'relapsed' yesterday, actually...I picked the skin where my big toe meets the sole on my left foot. I was soooo disappointed in myself, but I didn't let myself move on to the right foot, so I feel good about that. I wish I could tell you exactly what I did to stop...but I really don't know. I still have the urges...I've just managed to keep them in check, for the most part. Now, my fingers are raw and I always have at least one or two band-aids. That's my next habit I need to conquer. Good luck <3
September 08, 2009
I started picking at the bottom of my feet about a month ago. I don't know what possessed me to do this. Actually, I caught myself doing it while I was reading your post! My doctor gave me an anti-fungal ointment to put on but it did no good because it mostly wore off because I was on my feet. It hurts to walk, and sometimes I bleed and a lot of the spots on the bottom of my feet are red showing a new layer of skin. I have had no help with doctors or therapists. Apparently there is no drug to help stop the picking and the only therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy which could take years. I have had the same therapist for 20 years and I really don't want to have to start my history over again with a new therapist and a few months later after he/she knows my history start working on why I pick. I don't know why I pick I just do mostly subconsciously and it hurts to walk and I am very self-conscious about it. I was surprised to find that skin picking (even on the bottom of your feet) is a problem with someone other than myself.
September 19, 2009
Hi..I am new to this and started looking online for some help! For the heels, I just bought heeltastic ('As Seen on TV') and apply everynight before bedtime with a pair of white socks. That has helped alleviate the dry skin and kept me from picking my heels...somewhat! I seem to pick and pick until pain sets in then I stop for awhile. I have been picking at my 'barnacles' that the dematologist says most folks develop as they get older. So, here I am at 55 years of age with barnacles. They were fairly easy to pick and now I have 6 to 10 scabs that are pickable on my legs and arms and are ery embarrassing. Does anyone have problems with barnacles? Small dry raised patches on the extremeties.. HELP..Thanks!
September 21, 2009
I did this when i was about 11. What made me stop is that i couldnt play outside with my friends, because of the pain. (Although i guessing that doesn't help when your older.) Also I got caught doing it and the person interviened. Maybe it would be a good idea to keep people around you as monitors? This helps me when it comes to my fingers. I hope you find a solution.
September 21, 2009
I started picking at my feet about two years ago. I pick at my heels, mostly where the dry, crackly patches are. I believe this is because I walk barefoot a lot and my feet get very dry and I rarely use lotion because they make my feet feel greasy. But I'm in the process of healing a scab on my heel that's about two inches long that was bleeding and infected. It's better now but still very painful, but manageable. I also pick at my cuticles as well. But you are not alone. I do the same thing.
September 22, 2009
Thanks for starting this! i searched and searched until i found this I thought I was insane! For no reason at all i started picking. one little piece led to entire heal then it went farther up and today i am in intense pain! I need to get neosporan and wrap my foot in gauze. I am for the most part normal.... with no reason to do this except i was watching tv and just picked! have done this more than once after my foot heals i pick again and limp in pain for weeks! is there any help to stop the picking??? my email address is if anyone would like to talk... thanks for letting me share... at least I know I am not alone!!!!
September 23, 2009
I started picking my left foot at the arch about 8 years ago. I had no idea until today that this was actually a disorder. I'm amazed to find so many people like me. I honestly don't know how to stop. My foot bleeds every day, and it is such a big area that everyone notices. It does not help that I prefer to be barefoot. The other thing is that I mainly just want to have some self control. I don't want to bleed all the time. I worry about getting an infection. I love to pick peeling skin more than ANYTHING else. There is something so incredibly gratifying about that. I will pick at anything really. I like to peel paint....even string cheese. My grandmother always picked her scabs. Perhaps this compulsion runs in my family. I don't have to pick scabs usually, but lately I have been picking them constantly. I have a mosquito bite on my ankle that is a month old. How pathetic of me. That I really do want to stop. But it feels so good. Glad to find others like me. I don't feel so embarrassed anymore. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to all.
October 02, 2009

In reply to by Dzhessika

I pick mosquito bites too. Takes forever for them to heal because I constantly break them back open. I've gotten infections before with picking my feet. If that happens, the best thing I find is to soak my foot in a bucket with epsom salt. I've gotten borderline blood poisioning before where your veins shoot sideways from your foot. It's scary, but thankfully caught it before it spread, so I understand your worry about infection.

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