Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Foot Phobia, Seriously!?!

Okay, I have a dilema and I can't figure it out! I am 30 years old and I seem to have developed a foot phobia. And the weirdest part...this has developed only over the last 6 months or so and gotten progressively worse.

I am okay seeing feet. I am okay with foot rubs. I am okay with my feet. But...when, for instance, my husband's feet come into contact with me, I almost flip out. I don't get it. I have never had a problem with feet before, or even his feet, for that matter. I have given him pedicures in the past and sometimes I still tickle his feet (something I like to do because he isn't typically ticklish).

As the last 6 months have progressed though, if he tries to put his feet in my lap I cringe. And it's gotten worse. Today I actually cried because he was playing around and put his cold foot on my leg. Now, I do need to clear one thing up. My husband has "pretty" feet. They are not bad at all, for a man that refuses to get a pedicure. LOL. But seriously, he doesn't even have foot odor, but if I even touch his feet I feel like I need to wash my hands. And I only use him as an example because, lets face it, I don't exactly get exposed to a lot of peoples feet.

But all of this has got me to wondering...how do people develop phobias, especially so late in life (not that I am old, but you know what I mean)? Is it possible for a 30 year old to develop a phobia and why?

Most of the articles that I read said that the starting point of phobias can be tracked to a 'Significant Emotional Event' in which the person links the phobia trigger to the negative feeling. The trigger may be an event, a situation or a specific object. What appears to happen is that it becomes integrated and neurologically linked or 'anchored' to the emotion. This process is something that we naturally use to remember memorable events. A phobia is simply an extreme version of an anchor linked to a negative emotion.

Anchors are easy to create. In a well quoted test, Martin Seligman an American psychologist bound a small electric shock to certain images. Only two to four shocks were enough to create a negative anchor or phobia to images of spiders or snakes, while a much larger series of shocks was required to cause a neurological link to images of flowers. The key factors are the intensity of the experience, in this instance the pain of the shock and the number of repetitions needed to create the link.

When faced with a real-life extreme experience it is much easier to create a phobia in just one significant emotional event. That's because the brain learns very quickly in intense situations - you only have to touch a naked flame once to learn not to do it again.

But this doesn't make much sense to me in my situation. It's not like my husband, or any one else, has attacked me with their feet or traumatized me with their feet, somehow. I really can't figure out what is going on....


  1. I'm sorry but this made me LOL! Maybe he attacked you with his feet in your sleep one time? ;)

  2. I am glad that it provided some amusement. lol

  3. Hi there. I just found your blog and I'm going through the exact same thing. It's only been about 1-2 weeks since I realized that I too have podophobia. As a child i was feet shy and never liked to show my feet in public, but when I grew up I was fine and started wearing sandals in the summer.

    My boyfriend and I are currently living together, I'm currently 21. And basically he comes home from work and the first thing I notice is how shiny his feet look from wearing socks and shoes all day / sweat. He has normal feet but not the best looking feet, no oder like your husband.

    I had the hiccups yesterday and all he did was lift his feet up into the air close to my face...My hiccups stopped. Funny enough again I experienced the same FAST heart rate beating...Sweating, that ill knotty feeling in the stomach, and screaming/laughing uncontrollably.

    Today a more extreme case...He purposely kept touching me with his feet which lead me to screaming/laughing, sweating, this knotty fear feeling in the stomach and heart raced liked mad!! He didn't understand and made me feel like a very bad person, I felt so upset that I feel grossed out with his feet. I can't control this feeling and it bugs me.

    Also, no one has ever touched me with their feet before apart from my boyfriend...XD But I'm ok with my own feet.

    It is strange for me because now that I've upset my own boyfriend makes me feel so bad!! And i think it's getting worse...

    Do you still have podophobia? Or did you find a solution to over come it?

  4. Emi,

    I am glad that you found me. I am still scared of feet, more particularly my husband's feet. Not sure what happened...I was fine as a kid, as a teen, as an adult; I just suddenly developed this not quite two years ago. Have not found a way to overcome it and it makes my husband feel bad, sometimes.

    It should make him feel better that as my oldest is getting older, I am getting more and more repulsed by her feet as well. So, baby feet I am good with, but anything bigger and it gives me the creeps.

    I wish I had answers for you, but I haven't been able to overcome my foot phobia. But, thanks for reading!
    Working Mom

    1. OMG Thank you so much for understanding...No one around me at the moment seems to be able to understand, they all think I'm over reacting, attention seeking or just acting stupid. I do know one friend who hates feet as she told me during last summer (Not sure if it's a phobia or not since she didn't expand) but it's her birthday today so I didn't wanna bother her with my problems - but I'll talk to her when the time is right!!

      Yeah, it's mainly my boyfriends feet I fear too.

      My Boyfriend has massive feet, well to me he's got massive feet (UK 9/10) Since everyone in my family has small feet, and me being a size 3 and my dad only a UK mens 6. My boyfriend has flippers compared to people in my family. I rarely see my friends feet since they all usually wear socks when they visit me or when I visit them.

      I think baby feet are cute. But yes anything I consider big seems to look weird especially when theres hair on the toes... (Boyfriend has hair on his toes - sometimes I think it should be all waxed off to make them look less strange and scary) Just really don't know how to deal with it since my boyfriend has been taking it as a joke to purposely wiggle his toes near me, tries to touch me with his big feet, also placing them on the sofa just to make me freak out (It's a terrifying feeling)...I'm pretty sure after today my boyfriend will act all grumpy tomorrow and possibly make me feel worse since he can't entirely understand how I feel at the moment and seriously thinks I'm just acting stupid.

      I don't blame him for feeling like I'm just acting since I was entirely okay with his feet last month...It was just last month i was tickling his feet to make him laugh and was 100% fine with them...Now this, this phobia doesn't make sense to me...It's not a great feeling to also feel alone and the people around are not understanding.

      Awww But SERIOUSLY Thanks for sharing. I was researching in trying to find people with similar experiences or a solution. And great to know I found someone right now with the same kind of phobia.

      I followed your blog too, just in case you find a solution and post it up!! Thank you so much!!

      I really do hope there is a cure for this. Since I feel that my fear is getting worse each time he takes off his socks...LOL!!

      Take care!!

      Emi ✿