Keratoderma climactericum


Keratoderma climactericum

Also known as Haxthausen disease

What is keratoderma climactericum?

There are many forms of keratoderma which is the term given to the development of harmless skin thickening on the soles, particularly the heels. Keratoderma climactericum refers to the form that occurs during the menopausal period.

What causes keratoderma climactericum?

Keratoderma climactericum occurs more commonly in women of menopausal age with no personal or family history of skin diseases.

Hormonal imbalance may play a role as well as obesity, hypertension, cold dry climates and wearing backless shoes, e.g. sandals.

What does it look like?

Skin thickening (hyperkeratosis) and redness (erythema) begin over pressure points on the heels and forefeet. As the hyperkeratosis extends, cracks (fissures) form that make walking painful. Itching is usually minimal.

If present, involvement of the palms is much milder and more discrete.

How is it diagnosed?

The condition is diagnosed based on its appearance, where it is distinguished from other conditions such as contact dermatitis, psoriasis and tinea.

How is it treated?

  • Avoid and correct aggravating factors, for example, avoid wearing sandals, lose weight and use thick moisturisers regularly.
  • Topical estradiol 0.05% ointment or preparations containing 25–40% urea or other keratolytics may be useful.
  • A low-dose oral vitamin A (retinoid) treatment may be needed in severe cases.

This information has been written by Dr Davin Lim and Dr Heba Jibreal
Updated 10 October 2016


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