With August being “Psoriasis Awareness Month” around Columbus and the United States, a new study released linking the severity of psoriasis to the development of diabetes, heart, lung , gastrointestinal and vascular disease is aptly timed. Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in America and its most salient features are its effects on the skin, including the skin of the feet.
Psoriasis is characterized by an inflammatory rash of circular red areas with scaling. The scaling is a result of a shortened lifespan of the top layer of skin cells, which the body responds to by producing an increased number of cells. Excess skin results in the characteristic silvery scales typically seen on elbows and knees. Removal of these scales often results in pinpoint bleeding. There are many variants of psoriasis that affect different parts of the body. In several variants, the feet and hands are the only sites affected by psoriatic skin changes. Nail changes are also noted in about 25% of individuals. Skin thickens under the nail causing a lifting of the toenail. Changes in toenail color and shape may also occur and are referred to oil spots and pitting, respectively. When affected by psoriasis, fungal toenail infections are also more likely to develop.
In addition to the severe system-wide diseases recently linked to severe psoriasis, debilitating arthritis also occurs in about 15% of cases of psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis, like the conditions in the study, typically develops once skin changes are severe. Small joints, such as those in the toes are most commonly affected with both erosion of bone at the joint and tips of toe bones, and proliferation of bone adjacent to these erosions. When joints are affected, swelling will occur throughout the entire toe causing a “sausage toe” appearance. Treatment of psoriasis goes beyond cosmetic appearance, it is becoming evident that controlling skin changes early on can diminish or slow the progression of associated medical problems. By visiting your podiatrist at the first sign of foot skin changes, early diagnosis of psoriasis may be made and allow for appropriate management of the condition.
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.
Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.