Psoriasis symptoms and treatment
Podiatrists see many skin conditions in clinic on a regular basis, however one of the most common conditions is Psoriasis. Psoriasis affects around 2% of people in the UK. It’s a skin condition which can effect a person at any age, but it most usually begins between ages of 15 and 35. The severity of this chronic disease varies from person to person. For some people it’s just a minor irritation but, for others, it can majorly affect their quality of life.
People with psoriasis have an increased production of skin cells. Normal skin cells fully mature within one month, however with psoriasis, the process occurs too fast and the patches of effected skin cells grow within 3 to 7 days, hence the appearance of a plaque of cells.
Symptoms of psoriasis
The condition usually causes patches of thickened, itchy pinky-red skin. Most commonly these can be seen on the elbows, knees and trunk, but it can occur anywhere on the body and can even effect the scalp or the feet. Psoriasis is generally accepted to be a genetic condition that is passed down through families therefore it is not a condition you can catch. Doctors believe that the problem occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes healthy cell for harmful substances and a reaction occurs.
How does psoriasis effect the feet?
The skin usually presents as a dry scaly or shiny flaky condition under the arch of the foot. Because the skin is fragile we sometimes see pin-point bleeding. That means that if you try to remove the loose skin, it breaks of and bleeds. The effected area of skin looks slightly different to similar skin conditions such as eczema or athletes foot, and its appearance is one of the ways that helps the podiatrist diagnose the condition. We sometimes see changes in the nail. In the younger population, we may see groves or ridges across the nail. In the older patient, we may see one or all of the nails grow much faster and thicker. This type of nail tends also to be week and can break.
How does psoriasis effect a person?
Most people live perfectly normal lives with Psoriasis. They only get the condition on small patches of skin. Other than the mild itching or irritation, it is appearance that may effect some people.
In much rarer circumstances, it can effect large areas of skin, there is also a condition called psoriatic arthritis. When severe skin or joint flare ups occur, then hospitalisation can be required until the condition settle down.
Topical ointments, oils, special shampoos, prescription medicines containing vitamins A and D, coal tar therapy or medications to control the immune response. Some people respond very well to light therapy.
If you have psoriasis, then having regular foot checks with your podiatrist/chiropodist working in combination with your local medical practitioner can prove worthwhile and sometimes essential in the management of the condition.
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