Have you been itching your feet lately? Are there patches of thick, scaly skin, or have your nails turned a yellow-orange color? These symptoms are not a sign or Athlete's Foot or fungal toenails, but instead psoriasis.
Psoriasis occurs when our skin cells grow quicker than they are supposed to. Instead of taking weeks to develop, these cells form in days. Our body will not shed these new skin cells as quickly as they devlop, and therefore they will form lesions.
Of the five most common types of psoriasis (plaque, guttate, pustular, inverse, and erthrodermic), plaque is seen in 80% of people suffering with the condition. Plaque psoriasis is characterized by thick, scaly skin, in shades of red, silver, or white, and can develop anywhere on your skin. About half of all psoriasis patients have problems with their toenails. Their toenails pull away from the skin, and develop ridging as well as a yellow-orange color.
So how do you get psoriasis? Is it from touching someone who already has it? Is it genetic? You are correct if you guessed that it can be linked to your genes. Since people who suffer from psoriasis have a weak immune system, their T-cells (fighter cells) react with your skin cells, causng a chain reaction that takes less time than it should. Many people inherit the gene for psoriasis, but may not get the condition. Along with having the particular gene, other triggers for psoriasis are stress, strep throat, or a skin injury.
Psoriasis has been found to affect men and women equally, but whites (2.55) over blacks (1.3) are more likely to have the condition. People between the ages of 15-30 are roughly 75% of all psoriasis sufferers. Family history also increases your chances of psoriasis.
It is important that you know psoriasis is a lifelong, chronic condition. When flare-ups occur, your lesions will most likely crack, itch, and bleed. The itching may wake you up in the night and you may find it difficult to focus on work. People who have psoriasis often express feelings of shame, embarrassment, or depression from how their skins looks. On your feet, the most traditional methods of treating psoriasis is tar, salicylic acid, and corticosteroids. Nails that are affected may be treated as previously mentioned or may be surgically removed. Nails should be cut along the nail line. It may be best for you to have your local podiatrist do it for you.
Dr. Tina Boucher has seen all types of foot and ankle problems and says that you should never be embarrassed about having psoriasis. Make sure that you seek the advice of a medical professional!