A FOOT phobia may seem a bit irrational to most people.
But this stomach-churning video is arguably enough to put anyone off the sight of feet for life.
The disgusting footage, uploaded to Facebook, shows a patient attempting to peel back a massive, thick callus from the bottom of their foot.
But the hardened yellow skin isn't going anywhere as the person, thought to be a man, has little joy at picking it off.
He can be seen trying to slip his thumb under the cracks to lift it away from the foot but that doesn't work either.
The video gives no commentary, so we asked a foot specialist to explain exactly what's going on here.
Rare skin condition
Robert Duff, a podiatrist at Margaret Dabbs London, told The Sun Online: "It’s a skin condition known as plantar hyperkeratosis, where excess keratin is produced by the body to thicken the skin in certain places, soles of the feet being a common area.
"Eczema and psoriasis are forms of hyperkeratosis.
"The reason it affects the feet is because it’s an area of increased pressure from standing and walking.
"In terms of treatment, sufferers should see a podiatrist regularly who will debride the callus using a scalpel blade.
"Wearing comfortable, well fitting shoes, and adding padding to the shoe can help decrease the pressure on the feet.
"You should also avoid going barefoot, and use moisturiser to soften the skin.
"Creams with a high percentage of urea are best to treat this condition."
What is hyperkeratosis?
Hyperkeratosis is a skin condition that occurs when a person's skin becomes thicker than usual in certain places.
It can be caused as a result of inflammation, pressure or irritation.
When this happens, the skin responds by producing extra layers of keratin to protect the damaged areas of skin.
Non-pressure related keratosis occurs when the skin hasn't been irritated, and experts reckon it's down to genetics.
Hyperkeratosis has a range of symptoms, but all will have an area of rough or patchy skin that feels different to the surrounding skin.
Some symptoms of the more common causes of hyperkeratosis include:
- Calluses: A callus is an area of thickened skin that usually occurs on the feet, but can also grow on the fingers. Unlike a corn (see below), a callus is usually of even thickness.
- Corns: A lesion that typically develops on or between the toes. A corn usually has a center lesion of very hard keratin with an outer ring of hard tissue that is slightly softer.
- Eczema: This condition causes red, itching skin that may appear in patches or as small bumps
- Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis: This condition causes very red skin and severe blistering of the skin at birth. As the baby ages, they will develop areas of thickened skin (hyperkeratosis), particularly over their joints.
- Leukoplakia: This condition causes thick, white patches to build up inside the mouth.
- Plaque psoriasis: This condition can cause an excess buildup of skin cells that are often silvery and scaled.
Treatment usually depends on the type of hyperkeratosis. Some of the ways to avoid the likes of corns and calluses include wearing comfy shoes, putting padding over the corns/calluses and avoid going barefoot in places like gyms or swimming pools.
Healthcare professionals may prescribe medication in some cases.
People should see a doctor if they start to experience pain or discomfort and seek medical attention if the skin appears infected or pus-filled.
Source: Medical News Today
The video, which was posted online last week, has already been viewed more than 12 million times.
Many of the comments come from disgusted viewers questioning how the person let their feet get so bad.
Others said it would be their "dream" to pick it off.
Another simply said: "I can't unsee this".
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