The National Psoriasis Foundation has declared August “National Psoriasis Awareness Month.” Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease of the skin. The podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists in Montgomery, Alabama, offer this look into some of the symptoms, causes, and treatment of this chronic disease.
Psoriasis is characterized by round, reddish, dry patches of skin dotted with grayish-white or silvery-white scales. These patches, or lesions, can break out on your scalp, elbows, shins, fingernails, feet, and toenails. They can be itchy or painful. Because its appearance is similar to other conditions, psoriasis is sometimes mistaken for advanced athlete’s foot or a fungal nail infection. Diagnosis is best left to our qualified podiatrists, Heidi M. Christie, DPM, and Michael L. Rosenberg, DPM.
Scientists believe that 2%-3% of the population will develop psoriasis because they are pre-programmed to develop it. Recent advancements in the study of the human genome, or how our genes work, have led to new knowledge about who might develop psoriasis. Having certain genes means you have a greater chance of coming down with the disease, and it appears to have specific triggers such as
- Certain medications
- Infection or injury
Anecdotal information directly from patients shows that an outbreak of psoriasis can be caused by allergies, what they eat, or even the weather, but these causes don’t really have any scientific basis.
Unfortunately, no cure exists for psoriasis, and it can be hard to treat. The good news is that the symptoms of psoriasis come and go, so patients are not affected all the time. Reducing stress and monitoring or changing the medications that you take may help prevent or reduce a flare-up. Moisturizing lotions and creams can be helpful. Over-the-counter pain relievers may provide relief, but if you find they’re not helping, Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Christie can prescribe medications to help with your symptoms.
Awareness of psoriasis is the first step toward seeking a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If your feet or toenails appear scaly or feel itchy, you could have psoriasis or a similar condition. Visit our office in Montgomery for a complete exam, diagnosis, and treatment. Call us at (334) 396-3668 or make an appointment online.