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Adult female moisturizing her feet that have symptoms of psoriasis

Managing Psoriasis On The Feet

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that can flare up with exposure to certain triggers. Sometimes psoriasis plaques can occur on the soles of the feet and or the palms of the hands. The medical name for this is palmoplantar psoriasis.1

Researchers suggest that psoriasis affects between 2 and 5 percent of the population, and 3 to 4 percent of people with psoriasis are thought to have palmoplantar psoriasis.1

Symptoms to consider

When psoriasis plaques form on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, they can cause the skin to become very red, dry, and thickened. This can cause blisters and swelling, and can often lead to deep cracks called “fissures” forming in the plaques. These fissures can be very deep and quite painful.2

Be aware: When it comes to managing psoriasis on the feet, consider and take note of possible symptoms of palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP). PPP affects about 5 percent of people with psoriasis. It shows up as small, pus-filled blisters on reddened, tender skin.

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It's also important to keep in mind that toenails and fingernails can also be affected by psoriasis. Over time, the nail plate can begin to thicken, lift, form ridges, and cause discoloration.

The many treatment options

Treating psoriasis on the feet can be challenging due to its location. A person can buy some topical treatments, such as emollients, mild steroid creams, and coal tar foams, over the counter.

Working with a doctor, people who live with this condition type may need to try several different treatments before finding one that is effective. In some cases, an individual may require a combination of treatments.3

  • Topical steroids: These are usually used for up to a month at a time. Steroids need to be strong to work on thick palms and soles, so they will need to be prescribed by your dermatologist.
  • Ultraviolet light treatment: Light therapy slows down skin cell production in psoriasis and knocks out the immune cells causing inflammation and is the next step in difficult-to-treat cases.
  • Biologics: These drugs that block the immune system may be suggested if other treatments aren't working.

What real patients have to say

Chris shares his initial symptoms and disappointment as his doctor confirmed he was developing palmoplantar psoriasis. Vickie validates the difficulty and insecurity that comes with exposing your psoriasis-clad feet and provides her own tips for management. While Diane shares that it's important to recognize psoriasis symptoms on the feet and not just chalk it up to old age.

Tips for management

Palmoplantar psoriasis can cause very painful symptoms due to the location of the plaques. It can make standing and walking difficult. Tips for management include:

  • Wear comfortable shoes, and gloves when needed, that are made from natural fibers.
  • Avoid injury as much as possible. Protecting your feet with padded soles and thick cotton socks.
  • Soak your hands or feet in warm water, pat them dry, and cover them with a moisturizer.

Avoiding potential triggers, and maintaining a healthful lifestyle may also help prevent psoriasis flare-ups. If you live with palmoplantar psoriasis and looking for relief, please talk to your doctor.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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