August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and all of us here at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center want you to know that psoriasis is a common disease that can affect your feet. Psoriasis crops up when skin cells grow too fast, creating a buildup of thick, red, itchy patches (plaques) on your skin or nails. It’s considered an autoimmune disease, where, for reasons that aren’t clear, the body decides to attack itself.
Psoriasis isn’t terribly well understood by most people, so Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm offers up the top 3 myths and an explanation busting each of them.
MYTH #1: Psoriasis is nothing but a nuisance of the skin.
Psoriasis is much more than just some itchy skin:
- Psoriasis can be quite painful – to the point of being disabling. Walking on plaque-covered feet may not be possible.
- The affected areas can create breaks in the skin that allow bacteria to enter. People with psoriasis need to check their feet and other areas where there’s plaque to ensure that their skin hasn’t become infected.
- An outbreak of psoriasis can affect your toenails as well as your skin.
- It can also affect your joints with a type of painful arthritis.
- Psoriasis has a psychological component: it can cause people to become socially isolated because they don’t want their condition to be seen.
MYTH #2: Psoriasis is contagious.
There’s nothing on a person’s skin that can be passed on to anyone else. The flaky patches are caused by an internal mechanism gone wrong – not by some bacteria, virus, or fungus that someone else can “catch.”
MYTH #3: You can just get some prescription meds to clear it up.
Topical moisturizers can provide relief, but it’s only temporary. Creams won’t prevent the overproduction of skin cells that underlies the condition. Outbreaks of psoriasis can be managed, but unfortunately, there isn’t a cure.
If you’re in the habit of checking your feet on a regular basis (and we hope you are), watch out for patches of scaly or flaky red skin of any size. If you do notice them, schedule an appointment online or call our podiatry office (West of D.C. in Centreville, VA) at (703) 996-3000. You should know that there’s also the possibility that you have athletes’ foot – so count on Dr. Wilhelm for an accurate diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment.