We’re sorry to ruin your day, but this is a video we just have to share.
The minute-long clip starts out like any other grossly satisfying video on the internet (think pimple popping, back cracking and ingrown hair tweezing), with someone touching the sole of their foot.
Their foot is covered in thick yellow skin that looks dry and cracked.
But rather than any satisfaction of seeing it removed or buffed away, the person just taunts us by poking and prodding at the hardened skin.
A grim watch, absolutely. But you won’t be able to look away.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone in watching in horror. The video was shared on the Medical Sharing Facebook page where it was viewed more than 13 million times.
It looks as though the person in the video has hyperkeratosis, a condition which causes the thickening of the skin’s outer layer.
Lots of us have slightly harder, thicker skin on our feet – that’s expected as we spend so much time on our feet – but hyperkeratosis can be more extreme.
There are different types of hyperkeratosis, including eczema, actinic keratosis (small, reddish, scaly bumps), seborrheic keratosis (brown patches), epidermolytic hyperkeratosis (thickened patches on the hands and feet), keratosis pilaris (tiny bumps on the upper arms), follicular hyperkeratosis (a single bump), and psoriasis (scaly skin).
According to Podiatry Today, the condition in this video is likely plantar hyperkeratosis, which specifically refers to hyperkeratosis on the feet.
Plantar hyperkeratosis can appear in different forms, including circular indentations on the feet and chronic verrucae.
To get even more specific, the foot in the video seems to be suffering from keratoderma climactericum, also known as Hasthausen’s disease, which causes painful cracking of the heel area. It often affects postmenopausal women but is also associated with obesity and arthritis.
A quick note that poking and prodding at hardened skin such as that shown in the video really isn’t recommended, as it’s far too easy to cause pain, irritation, and infection.
In extreme cases such as these, treatment will usually rely on a topical cream that decreases the thickness of the skin – essentially a chemical exfoliant.
This isn’t something to try at home. If you’ve got extremely thick, hardened skin on your feet, it’s worth chatting to your GP or a podiatrist, who’ll be able to recommend safe treatments.
For your average build-up of dry skin on the feet, picking isn’t a good idea either.
Instead, it’s worth trying a chemical exfoliating product such as BabyFeet or Footner (they’re basically plastic socks you wear for an hour or so that will make dry skin peel away), using a special foot file, or going for a professional pedicure.
No matter what the internet says, do not attempt to cut away dry skin. Again, that’s a path straight to pain and infection.
Moisturise your feet well, give them a break from heels and walking, wear comfortable shoes that don’t pinch or rub, and give them an occasional soak in warm water. They carry you around all day – treat them kindly.