August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and we at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland want to highlight the ways in which this autoimmune disorder can affect the feet.
Most people think of psoriasis as a skin disease. In a way, it is, since the disease manifests itself in skin lesions on hands, arms, knees, elbows, feet, and other parts of the body. The lesions form because skin cells are growing at a rapid rate, too rapid for old cells to be shed. New cells pile up onto old cells, resulting in flaky red patches, or plaques.
Plaque psoriasis is, however, more than just a skin disease. It’s also closely associated with a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis (PSA). In fact, up to 30% of psoriasis patients also have psoriatic arthritis, a condition that causes some or all of these symptoms:
- pain and swelling in your joints – typically the smaller joints of the hands, fingers, and toes
- joint stiffness, particularly in the morning, that makes walking difficult
- joints that feel warm to the touch
- arch or heel pain
- pitting of the nails
- thickened toenails
More facts about psoriatic arthritis
People with psoriatic arthritis tend to have lower bone density. To make matters worse, medications and steroid treatments used to treat PSA can also have a negative effect on bone density, putting you at risk for the weakened bones typical of osteoporosis.
Treatment for PSA
If you’ve got psoriasis and come to our podiatry office complaining of unexplained pain, stiffness, swelling, or warmth in your feet, our experienced podiatrists, Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, will probably want to test you for psoriatic arthritis.
If your joint pain is due to PSA, it’s comforting to know that there are effective treatments, including pain relieving medications, corticosteroid injections, shoe inserts to reduce pressure, exercises, and physical therapy. PSA can get worse over time, so get an early diagnosis at our state-of-the-art, conveniently located office in Solon, Ohio. Make an appointment online or call us at (440) 903-1041.