Are you one of these people that nervously step in shoe shops? Can`t you bare the sight, feel or sound of your or somebody else`s feet? If your answer to one of these questions is `yes` you might be suffering from feet phobia, known as podophobia.
Feet phobia is one of the rarest phobias as only 1 in 1000 people has it. However, it could impact your life in quite surprising ways that many without this phobia may not have considered.
To give just a few examples this unusual fear could prevent you from going to a swimming pool, exercising in a gym, shoe shopping or wearing flip flops. Feet phobia could be quite harmless, a bit annoying and at times frustrating. However, it could also cause life limitations. Therefore, it is important to judge carefully how much does it impacts on your or somebody else’s day to day life.
What exactly is feet phobia (or podophobia)?
Feet phobia like any other phobia is an irrational, inexplicable fear. People suffering from Podophobia feel very nervous, afraid, upset or even disgusted by feet in general. The exact cause of podophobia is not yet fully understood. The symptoms include an overwhelming sense of anxiety, sweating, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, breathing difficulty and a desire to run away when seeing or even thinking of feet. Some people will experience panic attacks and very unpleasant feelings when confronted with feet. Of course one person’s symptoms can be different and/or more intense than other. This fear could make some feel uncomfortable or irritated. For others it could get so intense that it interferes with their normal life.
The fear may be related to the person`s own or somebody else`s feet. A phobia sufferers generally do not like the appearance of their or somebody else’s feet, or feel of feet as they view feet as being gross and unsightly. This person may also feel uncomfortable when other people are looking at or touching his or her feet. He or she will even sleep in socks or shoes and won’t even consider buying or wearing open toed shoes or sandals of any kind. He or she may also hate the smell of feet and while thinking of feet imagine contracting fungal type infections or a verruca what makes it even worse. The uncomfortable feelings would also appear while discussing feet or problems related to feet. The phobia sufferer may avoid watching any kind of TV documentary on feet, or adverts on the television. One of my friends who suffer from feet phobia to prevent unpleasant feelings introduced a rule in her house. You must wear shoes in his house. If the shoes are really dirty he allows you to wear socks or a pair of his own shoes. He won`t even let his girlfriend touch his feet or take her socks off around him.
When should you seek help to cure feet phobia?
Most fears and phobias, including the phobia and fear of feet, are not serious especially if they do not significantly impact your normal daily life. But if your phobia of feet results in avoiding situations on a regular basis preventing you from functioning or enjoying life you should consider seeking medical advice. Regardless of how long you have suffered from it, despite the unpleasant life limitations you have endured because of your fear, your fear of feet can be overcomed.
Ana E Johnson