The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Psoriasis on the Soles of the Feet

Posted by on Monday, September 3rd, 2012

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My dog is having skin allergy problems. I caught her biting, chewing, and licking a few spots on her legs, making them bright red and angry. There were no signs of fleas, so I whisked her off to the vet, who said they’d been seeing nothing but itchy dogs lately. There’s something in the air apparently, that has led to a mini-epidemic of biting, chewing, scratching dogs.

If you have psoriasis on the soles of your feet, you may feel like attacking the itchy spots the same way as the allergy-ridden dogs of my city. What? You didn’t know you could get psoriasis on your feet? Well, indeed, then, let’s discuss.

What is psoriasis? It is a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy, inflamed scaling skin. Psoriasis can flare up anywhere on your body; when it’s found on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet, it is known as “palmoplantar psoriasis.”

How do I know it’s psoriasis and not just some itchy skin allergy like your dog has? (By the way, the dog is fine after a course of meds) Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Skin rashes on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet that keep recurring
  • Small red areas of skin that get larger and become scaly
  • Silvery scales in the irritated areas
  • Red inflamed skin
  • Itchiness
  • Cracked skin
  • Bleeding skin from scratching
  • Walking issues from skin irritation on your feet

These are just a few symptoms. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to see a dermatologist.

Why would this happen to my feet? Psoriasis is an immune system disorder, where your immune system overreacts, producing skin cells in an area so quickly that the body can’t shed them; instead they stack up on each other, causing red “plaques,” that then scale. Some people are genetically predisposed to this kind of reaction. Others may be taking a medication that is connected to psoriasis flare ups (there are several). Behaviors such as excessive smoking and drinking also may cause psoriasis; so may infections and light sensitivity. Unfortunately, sometimes there is no identifiable cause.

How is it treated? There are a variety of medications that may be used to address the root cause and prevent psoriasis. Vitamin A supplements may help. Your doctor may prescribe topical creams that can help moisturize your dry, cracked skin. Soaking your feet and hands in salt water a few times a day can also help alleviate the symptoms.Make sure you dry your feet completely before you put socks and shoes on, though; putting damp feet in enclosed spaces is a recipe for a fungal infection.

If your feet are painful and irritated from psoriasis, you should see a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to discuss options that can make walking more manageable. For example, cushioning inserts can help soften the blow of each step and help protect your feet from the rough interiors of shoes.

Psoriasis is a painful condition that can interfere with your everyday life, especially when it attacks your feet. If you suspect you have psoriasis on your feet or any other foot problems get them checked out before they get out of control!

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.