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Health & Support
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hay guys, Ok first time i have told anyone about this, so its quite a thing for me to sit here and type to god knows how many of you...

I realy have a problem with my feet.. i.. i will sit there and pick them untill they bleed. I pull bits of skin off and i sometimes can hobble for days as the heel is red raw with skin missing, and i never let it grow back  - if it does im picking at it again, oepning new cuts on my feet.

iI have done it for years now.. almost 3. Its jsut a habit, and even if it hurts if the skin is coming off i will tug at it untill its completly off..

er do i need help or am i not alone? I dont know what made me post this.. other than the fact i was jsut doing it right now and thought i better tell SOMEONE im doing it..

Edited Sep 02 2008 19:50 by smw
Reason: 8/25/08 stickied for a week; 9/2/08 unstickied.
96 Replies (last)
It sounds like a stress habit to me.  I don't pick my feet, but I used to chew my nails and I still chew on my fingers.  It's very unattractive to have "hang nails" that go half way down your thumbs because you can't stop chewing your fingers!  If I'm not paying attention, I will chew on my knuckles until I chew a hole in the skin.  Also unattractive.

Sometimes when you have a problem like this, it's better to focus on the source and not the symptom.  Sure, try things that will help you stop picking at your feet, like wearing socks 24/7, but try going after the stress, and the feet picking may reduce on its own.  You don't have to "feel" stressed out in order to have too much stress.  I tend to ignore stressors, and bottle feelings.  This makes me not pay attention to the stress, but it doesn't make it go away, it just hides it.  At one point in my life, I was actually having panic attacks, and I consciously didnā??t know why!

There are some easy things that you can do to help stress levels.  Have a daily walk.  Walking even just 30 minutes a day really reduces stress.  Give meditation a try.  Make sure you are getting proper nutrition, and consider adding a good multi-vitamin to your routine.

I still have a little trouble with my fingers, but better diet, walking, and a little meditation have done wonders.  Iā??ve stopped biting my nails altogether, and I donā??t bite the skin near as badly as I had been.  Now I can paint my nails and not feel like I have to hide my hands!
Whenever I concentrate on a tv drama/sitcom I'll bit my fingers. Not the nail, but the skin around it until there's a hole and it bleeds. I've been doing this for a few years now. When I have nothing to do I don't bit them but I pick them. I tried to apply intensive hand cream but it never helps. Until 2 years ago I found a method that would prevent me doing it. Get a set of gel nails! when you have fabulous nails/toe nails you don't want to ruin the look of your hands/feet and you don't want to waste the $ you spent on them! A set of gel nails is approx $35 to $40 CDN and it's totally worth it to prevent nail biting/skin picking. A new set lasts about 3 weeks.

I used to be ashamed to show my nails/fingers but now I have nice fingers and nails and I sometimes would take pictures of them when I have a nice design on them.

For feet, try a pedicure and at home use pumice stone. I use pumice stone everyday and my heels are always smooth.

My mom used to pick her heel skins all the time when I was a kid and now she doesn't do it anymore but she has very very rough heels and she can't wear sandals/slingback ! Think about what you're missing out!

I'm glad I am not the only one who had that disgusting habit. I thought I was a weirdo.
Hmm...that sounds like more of a skin picking disorder than SI. SI is more like hurting yourself on purpose as opposed to doing something to yourself that happens to hurt sometimes...if that makes sense.

Like, I do the same to my feet, but I don't consider it even in the same category as cutting myself. I put it next to trichotillomania (hair pulling) yeah...I have some pretty bad habits :(
I have picked at my face all my life.  I've chalked it up to self soothing.  I know it's related to axieity.

The site the guy posted a ways back describes it exactly:

hey guys.  i registered on the forums, just for this topic.  i know i am going to sound like a rather extreme case, but i wanted to get this out.

i have been picking at my feet ever since i was around 15 or so.  i am 33 now.  i have become damn near a professional expert at it.  reading the stories that you guys have about it has really brought home a lot of things about it for me. 

i can completely relate to the stress relief and the ritual aspects of it.  here are some of the things that i do.  I retreat to the bathroom, I lock the door and then I grab a pair of finger nail clippers.  From that point I push them up against the very thick parts of the heel of my foot and start removing skin in little sections.  this also gives me a good starting point on the flesh for some quality digging and tuggig.  then i self consume it.  you can not believe the shame that this nasty little secret causes me.  it really makes me feel like a disgusting person. 

at the same time though, i always thought it was just kind of a manageable tic.  use the clippers, i pick at it with fingernails, i pull off sections of my heel skin... and yes i even eat it.  the entire process is revolting, and makes me feel like a revolting person.

however, because i was not limping.  because i was not catching infections and disease through the wounds i was causing myself, because it seemed somehow 'manageable' i did not view it as being problematic.

it is though.  it is a stress relief mechanisim.  it is most assuredly not  a healthy behavior.  it only affects my feet, and sometimes i will bite at the skin next to my fingernails..but i keep that in check as it looks terrible.  the foot picking is a disgusting habbit.  but it is not what is destructive.  what is destructive is the shame i get into about it, and the fact that i am not dealing with other things in my life in a productive and healthy manner. 

that took a lot for me to write out.  i am going to seek real help with this, as i know it is something that i can not address on my own.  i want to thank you guys for talking about it openly.  while i realize that my case may be at bit extreme, i am going to address it. 

thank you.
OMG! I just saw this post and I had to reply. I pick my feet sometimes, but mostly I pick my fingers. I don't bite them I just sit there and pick the skin off my fingers. It's a disgusting habit that I've had since I was in grade school. I've tried everything to stop it. It's so embarassing when people look at my hands. It's become especially embarassing now since I'm a research assistant in an experiment which requires me to touch people's faces in order to put electrodes on them. 
I can't recall a time where I didn't "scratch hangnails."  In fact, my parents say I was literally born with hangnails!  I'll scrape my index nails against the sides of my thumb when stressed and often times I'm not even aware of it until I draw blood.  and sometimes even that won't stop me.  So my thumbs looks horrible, all pitted and scabby, but the rest of my fingers look fine.

Wait, actually, I remember starting to bite my nails after reading the Bernstein bears book about nail-biting.  The cure involved money, and I thought, "hey, I want money."  My parents never did that cure.  Nail biting progressed to nail peeling (instead of biting, I would use my other nails instead) and about that same time I started making hangnails.

NewSkin helps my thumbs heal but it doesn't actually stop the habit.  When it wears off, I'm back to bleeding.
I've done that ever since middle school; except that I pick at my upper arms rather than my feet.  Even though I pick in a very conspicuous spot (and I still wear tank tops), embarassment never seemed to get me to stop.

For a while I tried to substitute another type of picking habit so that I could break it.  I picked flossing my teeth because I thought that the end result was healthier and it still served to try to "rid myself of imperfections."  That sort of worked but if I have a really stressful day I just go straight to my arms, sweaters or long sleeved shirts be damned.

When I got together with my current boyfriend I had the urge to stop picking at my arms because I wanted my skin to be perfect for him.  I got myself to at least pick less frequently (until he managed to put himself in the hospital and now I'm back to scratching myself raw).

This is more of a "you're not alone" reply than anything else.  Sorry I'm not more help.
I'm glad I finally looked this up- I thought I was alone... I have been picking my body all over for a long time and I think it's ever since I started taking Prozac... but I can't remember how long i've been doing it. I know it's a habit from stress but it's so frustrating. Beware what you're picking at, though- especially on the face. One time I was obsessively picking at one of those cyst-like under the skin pimples, trying to pop it... it became infected and turned into a deep boil, and then the infection spread. The entire left side of my face was hot and swollen with pus and I ended up having to go to the emergency room to have it lanced and drained... it was so gross. I was shivering and could barely walk from the infection and had to be given heavy antibiotics. I was warned that if I hadn't gone to see a doctor when I did that the infection could have pread into my brain or other areas and nearly killed me!! Now I have a huge scar on my chin from where they had to cut me. It hurt so much and I kept having to squeeze it for 2 days after they cut it open just to get all the pus out- including a "root" of pus that I had to tear out of my face. It was the size of the end of my pinkie.

You would think that after that type of experience I would stop picking........ but instead of my face now I attack my feet and fingers more. I'm 25 now and my face has cleared up, but now my fingers are dry, cracked, scabby, and bleeding.. and my feet are so raw it hurts to walk. It drives my fiance nuts! How do I stop this madness?!?!
and plim- I'm right there with ya. I self consume as well and bear the shame. I've gone to far as holding it in my hand and looking around to make sure nobody else sees before I ... um.. yah... :(
Hey, Im 13yrs old and I pick my feet too. Ive done it since i was around 8. I dont make my feet bleed but i make them raw. I use needles, paper clips, nail clippers, etc. But i mostly use my fingers. I have adhd (attention defacit hyperactive disorder) and Im bipolar. Both of those partly cause me to have this habit. The manic stage of bipolar and hyperactivity of adhd. I pick my nails, fingers and toes, too. The foot picking has caused ingrown toenails, infections, and limping. I come home from school every day and do it asap because the skin is moist from sweat. I do use  my mouth from time to time. I do it after i take a shower too.
Plim and Gingerpicker... I'm with you too. I don't even notice I am doing it til it's happening then I just can't stop! I also cut... which I'm pretty sure stems from the same thing. Why do I do it? I have no idea.
aureus vita i used to do the same thing with the hairs on my legs (bc i am very pale and have DARK, THICK hair).  I would 'watch tv' in my room with the doors locked and go at it with tweezers.  I was ashamed of this behavior b/c it seems so senseless but I was more ashamed of my body/legs so i kept doing it without anyone knowing. 

I wax my legs now so it's not so much of a problem.  Find out if you can do this.  I now have almost no growth on the ankle area and the red bumps I used to have have leared up.  Now I can even shave if I have not had time to wax (like if I am invited to go swimming at the last moment) and it doesn't grow back QUITE so thick/dark. 

Good luck and if you need any advice pm me. 

I used to do that for about two years. Not quite that extreme though. I don't remember making myself bleed normally. I would get out of the shower and just pick the skin off of my feet. I don't really anymore though. However, I do pick the skin on my lip sometimes, and I love scratching dandruff off of my head. One of  my friends has soriosis (sp?) on her head, and she lets me scratch the dead skin off her scalp when it becomes especially itchy.

I hope this isn't self-mutilation. I didn't think there was anyting wrong with me.
Um, I bite my nails when they start to get long or uneven, but mostly I chew and pick at the skin around them.  It used to be worse, where I'd have peeled far down my fingers.  I don't have cuticles on ANY of my fingers, and the skin around them is always red and cracked.

I've done this since (last I remember) I was 4.  Back then I'd chew off my toenails, too.  My mom used to yell at me to stop, but 16 years later I still haven't.  I don't bite my toenails, but I do go at them with tweezers or something like that to get the dirt out from the sides... and usually end up tearing off some skin.  I used to cut (not bite) my toenails so short that you couldn't even see the nail, it was just exposed skin.  They never came back in right, especially my pinky toes.  My nails on both hands and feet are all really messed up.  And the sad thing is, I was biting and picking at my fingernails and hangnails throughout reading this entire thread.

Ugh!  I think for me it's a stress/anxiety/fidgety-type habit.  I'm always swinging my legs or tapping my foot because I have a hard time sitting still.  I have an office job that I despise and an apartment all by myself so I get bored and lonely and often resort to tearing at my skin or binge-eating.  Though for my health, I prefer the chewing of fingers.  I don't think skin has that many calories.  LOL.  It's funny but just sick and wrong and a BAD, UNRELENTING HABIT at the same time.  Oh, to be normal.  Ha, that'll never happen for me (what's normal anyway?) but I'd like to have more self-control and more deep-down, pure, genuine, happiness and peace with myself.
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I've actually picked the skin off my foot for years off and on. I think it happens more when I'm bored... I was wondering if it was a disorder with a name I could give but I found this instead. Glad I'm not the only one. I think my only other thing would be obsession with tweezing hairs not only on my eyebrows but the armpits, fingers...etc.
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I'm so glad to read that I'm not alone! I've tried to bring up my foot picking with others only to have them claim to do the same, but until reading these posts, I don't think I've ever known of anyone who does the same foot picking that I do.  I can totally relate with the obsessional/soothing aspects of hiding away, using heavy-duty finger nail clippers to get a good start, and just pulling and tugging the skin off until my feet are raw.  I began doing this with the small calluses on my toes when I was just in 1st or 2nd grade and it has never stopped, only worsened with stresses in my life.  There have been times I've had to bandage my feet and there have been whole summers where I was able to stop for the sake of wanting to wear sandals (boy was that hard!), but still I enjoy picking.  I've never told any doctors because I figured there's nothing they can do to make my obsession to do this go away. Besides, it's so shameful.
yeah, that is dermatillomania [sp], or CSP[compulsive skin picking] for short, most likely.

I have a mild form of that, not so bad that my arms are completely mutiliated, but i picked the skin off my feet [not til they bleed though], however i constantly am at my fingers, and have to wear gloves [even in summer] to try and prevent myself, or else i'd have no fingers left, probably just bone =P

I also pick my lips, and as someone else was saying, any lump in my skin that I feel isn't meant to be there.

There are ways of stopping it - cognitive behavioural therapy, but i've tried it.

I just hope I might grow out of it one day.... *wishful thinking*
I can't recall a time where I didn't "scratch hangnails."  In fact, my parents say I was literally born with hangnails!  I'll scrape my index nails against the sides of my thumb when stressed and often times I'm not even aware of it until I draw blood.  and sometimes even that won't stop me.  So my thumbs looks horrible, all pitted and scabby, but the rest of my fingers look fine.

I do the same thing.  I hear people talk about cuticles all the time, but honestly, I'm not even sure of what they are.  Most likely, I probably don't have any. 

oh my god! i thought i was alone. i started picking my feet after i decided to stop cutting. i still cut but not as often and now as i watch tv i find myself pulling chunks of skin from my feet. its an ocd habit. i just decided to look it up and see if anyone else has heard of it. i cant believe i found this post. thank god im not alone!
96 Replies (last)