Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet
Last updated: February 2020
Hands and feet can be the most delicate parts of your body. They are in constant motion, visible and communicate with the world all the time. If they are affected by psoriasis, your quality of life can be severely affected.
What is psoriasis on the hands and feet called?
Palmoplantar psoriasis is one type of psoriasis where you experience breakouts on both the hands and feet. Lesions, scaling, spots, and patches can occur in the sensitive folds of fingers or toes. This can feel agonizing and very painful at times. With the help of your doctor, there are steps you can take for yourself to relieve these painful symptoms.
Palmoplantar psoriasis can even appear symmetrical on both hands. There different ways palmoplantar can affect the hands and feet.
Nail psoriasis on the hands & feet
Almost half of the people with psoriasis will notice changes in their nails and toenails. Symptoms include puncturing the nail surface and discoloration or thickening of the nail. You can also experience a separation of the nail from the finger. I had a really bad case of nail psoriasis in my 20’s. It went away within a year. I am in my 60’s now and just starting to show some further symptoms of nail psoriasis.
These changes are caused by the effects of psoriasis at the base of the nail, where the nail is formed. Since this is a difficult place to reach, topical treatments are usually ineffective.
More effective treatments include injecting steroids into each wedge. This is controlled exposure to ultraviolet rays. Biological drugs that are injected or given intravenously are a good option to treat this problem. None is guaranteed to be a lasting solution. Some patients with a milder case may choose to treat the problem cosmetically by gently buffing the uneven surface or wearing nail polish.
Topical treatment options for psoriasis on hands & feet
For topical treatments to be most effective, you may first need to remove excess layers of skin so that the treatment can be properly absorbed. Try to soak the affected area in hot water. Add a little bathing oil in the water can help to wipe away any scales or calluses. When cleaning, be careful not to rub the scales too hard. This can traumatize the skin and worsen psoriasis.
Your doctor may recommend occlusion to intensify the effects of topical treatment. This means isolating the treated area for a while. This can be achieved by the use of cotton or plastic gloves on the hands. You can also use plastic bags covered with socks. This should only be done if your doctor recommends it, as it can absorb too many drugs too quickly.
If local treatments are ineffective in severe cases of psoriasis on the hands or feet, your doctor may choose other treatments including methotrexate or Ultraviolet A (PUVA).
Natural treatment options for psoriasis on hands & feet
Wash your hands and feet with mild soap. Try replacing soap with a cleanser made of natural ingredients. This can keep the irritation to a minimal level. Surface splits on the skin can be sealed with medical adhesives to prevent additional inflammation and infection. Applying moisturizers can help maintain the flexibility of your skin and reduce itching.
How can psoriatic arthritis affect the hands & feet?
Up to 40% of psoriasis sufferers can develop psoriatic arthritis. This condition causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Treatment options may include medical drugs, prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections in the affected areas.
Joints and ankles are particularly susceptible to irritation. This can sometimes cause swelling to the point where shoes and gloves become uncomfortable or impossible to wear.
When our hands & feet get a break
I have spoken to several people with feet and hands psoriasis and they find that just doing household chores presents problems. I have someone who helps me do chores. I’m thankful for my dishwasher which I never used until now.
I'm grateful for technology, everything is voice-activated. You will need special treatments and different treatments to get some relief. Make sure to see your doctor on a regular basis until things are cleared up.
Are you interested in talking about sex and intimacy with psoriasis?