Psoriasis: How it can affect the feet
Most people know of psoriasis as a skin condition which can occur anywhere on the body, including the feet.
It is an immune condition whereby the skin cell production rate speeds up – normally it takes 21-28 days for skin cells to renew themselves, but with psoriasis, this can take just 3-4 days.
This rapid skin cell production causes patches of flaky skin to form which can be itchy.
Psoriasis and joints
A less well known type of psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis – it causes inflammation in joints and tendons – and can affect the feet.
You may not have to have skin psoriasis for psoriatic arthritis to develop, but it does increase your chances.
It can be difficult to diagnose as there is no one conclusive test – it will come down to ruling out other forms of arthritis (such as rheumatoid, which is detected by a blood test), and imaging of the affected joints to look for inflammation.
Knees and heels can be affected (amongst other joints), so as Podiatrists, this is something we have to look out for.
Psoriasis and nails
Around half of psoriasis sufferers will experience nail psoriasis which may affect either fingers, toes or both. Symptoms may include:
- Discolouration of the nail
- ‘Pitting’ (small dents) across the surface of the nail
- Nails that split or crumble easily
- Thickening of the nail
- Nails that lift or detach themselves from the nail bed- known as onycholosis.
A differential diagnosis is important as psoriatic nails could be diagnosed as a fungal infection.