Foot or plantar psoriasis is a chronic, recurring and painful condition that usually affects the soles of the feet. It can also occur on the toes and upper or dorsal surface of the feet. Usually adults between the ages of 20 and 60 are affected by the disease and it could be caused due to heredity.
It can be of two types- mild and severe. In the milder form the feet become dry and scaly and the more severe form causes the formation of pustules and is also known as plantar pustulosis. Since psoriasis of the foot affects an area that is being constantly used, it can be more challenging to treat than other types of psoriasis and the severity may pose problems for the person to complete their activities of daily living.
- Red patches on the skin covered with scales.
- Thickening of skin.
- Formation of deep and painful fissures.
- Presence of deep yellowish pustules.
- New pustules form after a period of no activity.
- Pustules of about 5 cm in diameter seen on the sides of the heels.
- Pustules are filled with pus which is not infectious and last for up to 2 weeks.
- The pustules reduce in size and change color when they are covered with brown scales.
- After the scales peel off, there is a period of inactivity.
- There may be accompanying symptoms such as fever, headache, joint pain, decreased appetite and nausea.
There are various causes which trigger this condition.
- When the skin of the foot is inflamed, it produces a thick layer of dead skin cells which lead to painful cracks. The inflammation spreads when bacteria penetrate through these cracks. The condition becomes aggravated if the person is tall, overweight, has flat feet or has to stand for prolonged periods. It may get exacerbated due to activities such as aerobics and jogging.
- Allergic reactions to certain materials such as metal fasteners and buckles on footwear as well as chemicals such as chromium salts and rubber in leather shoes may cause flare-ups.
- Taking of systemic steroids for some time and then discontinuing them.
- Many drugs such as salicylates, iodine, lithium, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and penicillin.
- Strong and irritating topical creams and ointments.
- Exposure to strong and prolonged periods of sunlight.
- Hypocalcemia or very low levels of calcium in the blood.
Foot psoriasis can be resistant to treatment. The usual form of treatment involves the use of topical steroids. Acute flare-ups should be treated carefully and promptly. Conventional treatment includes the use of topical agents such as tar, salicylic acid and corticosteroids. These could be used individually or in combination to increase effectiveness.
Moisturizers, mild soaps and soap substitutes are also beneficial.
Calcipotriene can also be used to good effect while treating foot psoriasis.
Super glue is also used to seal the deep fissures which occur during the condition in some cases.
Methotrexate , cyclosporine and acitretin may be employed if topical medications do not work.
The most effective way for treating foot psoriasis is a combination of oral retinoids in low doses with PUVA or UVB phototherapy.
Soritane or acitretin can be prescribed as treatment in the case of pustular psoriasis.
Biologicals are prescribed when all other forms of treatment fail. They are given as injections and work by blocking the immune system.
Foot or Plantar Psoriasis Home remedies
- Stop smoking as it acts as a trigger for psoriasis.
- Wear thick cotton socks and shoes with padded soles to protect feet from injury.
- Wear comfortable shoes made of natural materials.
- Soak your feet in warm water twice a day, pat dry and cover with a moisturizer immediately to lock in the moisture.
- Use petroleum jelly or colloidal oatmeal to moisturize.
- Use a waterproof dressing after moisturizing for some hours or overnight.
- Consume two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil everyday. It can also be used topically on the affected area about three times a day.
- Dissolve 1/3 cup of baking soda in one gallon of water. Soak a cloth in this mixture and apply it to the affected areas after wringing it out, several times a day. This relieves the itching.