If you’ve got psoriasis, you’re already aware of how difficult a disease it can be. If you’re not quite sure what psoriasis is all about, there’s no better time to learn – because August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. Let’s take a look at psoriasis by answering some frequently asked questions:
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body is doing something to turn against itself. In the case of psoriasis, skin cells begin to grow at an abnormally fast rate. This causes red, scaly, sometimes itchy patches to form on the skin.
What causes it?
Doctors aren’t really sure why some people’s production of skin cells goes haywire. Psoriasis isn’t ever-present; rather, it tends to affect people in waves. Flare-ups can be triggered by stress, infection, injury, certain medications, and even a bout of strep throat.
Who gets it?
The disease doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age or gender – it affects people across the population and frequently shows up during young adulthood. You’re more likely to get psoriasis if someone else in your family has it.
Where do the red patches form?
Psoriatic patches, sometimes called plaques, are commonly found on the knees, elbows, hands, feet, and scalp, though they can appear anywhere on the skin.
Can I catch psoriasis from someone else?
No. Psoriasis isn’t a viral or bacterial infection that can be passed on to others. The rash visible on a psoriasis sufferer’s skin is strictly a product of overactive skin growth from within the person’s own body. It’s not contagious.
What’s it got to do with feet?
Psoriasis commonly shows up on the feet, not only in the form of skin plaques but also as pitting or discoloration of the toenails. Psoriasis has a sister disease called psoriatic arthritis, which is psoriasis + joint pain. Pain, swelling, or redness of the toe joints can indicate psoriatic arthritis.
Is there a cure?
Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, doctors have many ways to help manage the discomfort of a psoriatic flare-up. These include topical creams, pain relieving pills, steroid injections, changes in footwear, and light therapy.
How can I get more information?
If you’ve got swollen toes or any kind of rash on your feet, contact podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center for an appointment and full examination of your feet. It may be psoriasis, but there are many possible causes for these symptoms, so get it checked out by our board-certified foot doctor. Our phone number in Centreville, VA is (703) 996-3000.