Some experts believe that it may be inherited or have genetic causes. People who tend to be overly anxious, or are highly strung, may possibly acquire podophobia.
✦ Shortness of breath at the sight of or thought of feet.
✦ Accelerated heartbeat
✦ Extreme anxiety issues
✦ Body trembling
✦ Refuse to discuss feet or even topics related to them.
✦ Sweating profusely
✦ Covering their feet or requesting others to cover their feet.
✦ Fear of other people touching their feet
✦ Panic attacks
✦ Feeling petrified at the sight of feet, even on television.
These are some physiological symptoms that podophobia brings about. The symptoms and their intensity vary from person to person. The phobic individual may withdraw from his surrounding, because it affects his social life and relationships profoundly.
✦ Do not wave your feet in their face, he may take offensive, and in an extreme case may turn aggressive or violent.
✦ Make sure to cover your feet, or move your legs away, if you sit besides them.
✦ Don’t clip your toenails in front of him, it may creep him out even more.
✦ Don’t discuss topics about feet in front of him, or with him.
Try to understand the individual’s situation, and help him/her overcome his fear patiently, by being considerate.
1. Various Therapies
To get rid of the fear, you may have to dig deeper to get to the root cause of the phobia. This can be done through cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, counseling, hypnotherapy, professional advice, self-help books, or the combination of the above. Medication and meditation are also considered to be effective in reducing panic attacks and other anxiety problems caused due to podophobia.
2. Systematic Desensitization
Another effective method is when therapists try to slowly and gradually persuade patients to open up and face their fear. They may start with talking and interacting with the individual, this way, they can easily understand the individual’s fear and problems, and this helps to find out the root cause of the fear. The therapists start showing the patient pictures about feet, be it on television, magazines, etc., note his/her reaction, and try to calm him/her down. This is followed by gradual exposure to the sight and touch of his and other people’s feet. Podophobics are also encouraged to go for pedicures, as this might help them to get over their feet phobia.