August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. All of us at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center in Monmouth County, New Jersey want to take the opportunity to answer some common questions about psoriasis and your feet.
Q: What is psoriasis?
A: Millions of Americans suffer from this autoimmune disease that affects the skin. Normally, old skin cells are constantly being replaced by new ones. However, people with psoriasis have skin cells that re-generate faster than normal. New cells rise to the surface so quickly that old cells don’t have a chance to disappear.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: The build-up of old cells causes thick, scaly patches of skin to appear anywhere on the body. On your feet, psoriasis typically appears on the soles.
Q: How does psoriasis affect the feet?
A: The feet are affected in the following ways:
toenails become thickened, brittle, and/or discolored.
the scaly patches can crack open, leaving your feet vulnerable to infections
psoriasis can also affect the joints of the feet and toes through a complication called psoriatic arthritis
the disease can become severe enough to limit your ability to walk and perform everyday activities.
Q: Is psoriasis of the feet a cause for concern?
A: Yes, it is. Delaying treatment puts you at risk for dangerous infections. Also, as the disease progresses, it can damage your joints.
Q: Is there a cure for psoriasis?
A: There is no cure, but the symptoms can be controlled. Two things that seem to trigger psoriatic flare-ups are stress and alcohol, so be sure to avoid those whenever possible. We also advise psoriasis sufferers to stop smoking. At home, soothe your feet by applying moisturizer daily and soaking them in oatmeal baths.
If home treatments don’t provide relief, visit our board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Dan Phan, and Dr. Joseph Saka, for effective, prescription-strength topical creams and oral medications.
Psoriasis can mimic the symptoms of athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, so it’s important to see a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis. If reddened, scaly feet are interfering with your life, don’t hesitate to call us at (732) 905-1110. We’ll set up an appointment for a full medical history, foot exam, diagnosis, and treatment. If you prefer, you can make an appointment online to see us at our office in Howell or Jackson.