Psoriasis of the Feet
Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition that can have an effect on the feet. It is a chronic disease that can be marked by alternating periods of improvement and worsening. The main issue is that cells build up more rapidly than they are supposed to, which leads to various symptoms. The good news is that treatment for an array of skin conditions, including this one, is available at our Plano and Dallas, TX podiatry offices.
The symptoms and signs of this skin problem tend to vary a bit from person to person, but some to be aware of include:
- Reddened patches of skin covered by silvery scales
- Burning and itching sensations, and soreness
- Cracked, dry skin that may bleed from time to time
- Small, scaling spots (particularly in children)
- Nails that are ridged, thickened, or pitted
- Stiff, swollen joints
Often, the condition will go through a cycle wherein symptoms flare up for a few weeks or months, then subside or go into complete remission before the next flare-up.
Causes and Triggers
At this time, the medical community is not completely sure as to why the chronic disease occurs, but there is a thought that psoriasis is connected to an immune system issue that affects cells in the body. The cells that are affected are white blood cells known as T lymphocytes (T cells). These cells would normally fight foreign bodies, like bacteria or viruses, but in this condition they instead attack healthy skin cells. This results in a situation where additional healthy cells are produced while T cells continue attacking. The outermost layer of skin becomes overrun with white blood cells and dead skin, which ends up building up in the recognizable scaly, thick patches that mark the disease.
Risk factors that make it more likely for someone to develop a case include family history, obesity, bacterial and viral infections, stress, and smoking. Family history is the most significant of these risk factors, which may indicate a genetic cause. Stress, infection, and smoking can all play a role in affecting the immune system.
There are certain triggers that can worsen the condition or even initiate a flare-up. Some of these are stress, cold weather, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking, infections (strep throat or skin infections), injuries to the skin, and even certain medications.
The goals of treatment for the condition are essentially to stop the cells from growing at such a quick pace (which reduces plaque formation and inflammation) and to smooth the skin to remove excess buildup and scales. These can be achieved in three different ways:
- Topical treatments. Mild to moderate cases can frequently be effectively treated with the use of ointments or creams, including topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues, anthralin, topical retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, salicylic acid, coal tar, and moisturizers. When they are prescribed, it is important to follow the directions carefully for optimal results.
- Light therapy. This can be performed with the use of either artificial or natural ultraviolet light. Typically, therapy will entail controlled amounts of exposure to natural sunlight or the use of UVA or UVB lights.
- Oral and injected medications. These are often prescribed for patients who have severe cases or are not responding to other forms of treatment. They are usually reserved as a “plan B” on account of the side effects that can be experienced.
Professional Treatment for Psoriasis of the Feet
Dallas Podiatry Works is committed to providing effective treatment for all kinds of foot and ankle issues experienced by our patients—including psoriasis. When a bothersome skin condition is affecting your feet, be sure to schedule your appointment with Dr. Joel Brook, Dr. David R. Northcutt, Dr. Irene Arroyo or Dr. John Baca to ensure that you receive the treatment you need.Call our Dallas, TX office at (972) 566-7474, our Plano office at (972) 943-3323, or use our toll-free number at (888) 716-5283 to reach us. You can also schedule an appointment at either location online.