August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and at Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS we want to take this opportunity to share some information about this disease. In fact, many patients are not even aware that psoriasis can affect your feet. Read on for more myths about psoriasis.

Myth: Psoriasis is just a skin condition.

Fact: It’s actually an autoimmune disease that causes skin cells to be produced at an abnormally fast rate. The cells build up on the surface of the skin, causing red, scaly patches to form. The patches, known as plaques or lesions, can form anywhere on your skin—including your feet. Since your nails are actually a part of your skin, psoriasis can also develop in finger and toenails. In those areas, it appears as discoloration or thickening of the nail. In some cases the nail may even separate from the nail bed.

Myth: Psoriasis is easily identifiable.

Fact: In many cases when psoriasis has not been previously diagnosed, patients may mistake it for athlete’s foot or, in the case of toenails, a fungal nail infection. It’s important that any time you notice changes in your skin or toenails that you have our podiatrist, Dr. Paul Klein, examine your feet. The foot doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the proper treatment. In the case of psoriasis, a systemic approach may be needed and a referral to other physicians as well.

Myth: Psoriasis is contagious.

Fact: It is definitely not contagious. People who get psoriasis usually have a gene that predisposes them to it and often a “trigger” that causes it to flare up. Known triggers include: certain medications, stress, injury to the skin and infection. Although not scientifically confirmed, many patients also see a connection between psoriasis flare ups and allergies, diet and weather.

Myth: At least psoriasis doesn’t affect other parts of the body.

Fact: About 30% of patients with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Although much research remains to be done, there have been correlations discovered between those who suffer with psoriasis and several other serious conditions including: diabetes, cancer, Crohn’s disease, depression, cardiovascular disease and others.

If you have psoriasis, talk to Dr. Klein about it at your next appointment. Questions? Contact our Wayne, NJ office by calling: 973-595-1555.