Autoimmune mechanisms and genetics are the major causes of Psoriasis on the hands and feet. If you follow an appropriate lifestyle making the correct choices in nutrition, exercise, and many other aspects of your life, you will have full control of your Psoriasis.
Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body and may also affect joints and nails. Psoriasis on limbs is more common than its other kinds. Despite contrary belief, psoriasis can appear on hands and on other limbs along with other body parts simultaneously.
When Psoriasis spreads to the limbs it can affect elbows, knees, fingers, toes, palms, soles, finger joints, and toe joints.
These are different kinds of psoriasis on hands and feet. Let’s go through each type to understand it better. You will further learn its current treatment, methods of diagnosis, symptoms, and much more!
- What Causes Psoriasis on Hands and Feet?
- Types of Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet
- Pustular Psoriasis on Hands and Feet
- Acropustulosis Psoriasis on Hand and Feet
- Palmoplantar Psoriasis (PPP) on Hands and Feet
- Nail Psoriasis on Hand and Feet
- Psoriasis Arthritis on Hands and Feet
- Does Psoriasis on Hand and Feet Spread?
- What Can Trigger Psoriasis on Hand and Feet?
- How to Diagnose Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet?
- How to Prevent Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet?
- Is There a Cure for Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet?
What Causes Psoriasis on Hands and Feet?
Like any other kind of psoriasis, psoriasis on hands and feet is caused by unknown reasons. However, researches show that autoimmune mechanisms and genetics are their major causes.
- Autoimmune Mechanism
Due to some unidentified reason, your immune system may start attacking your normal skin cells. This attack of the immune system is called an autoimmune mechanism.
Due to this mechanism, skin cells start proliferating at a faster rate. As shedding of the older skin cells occurs at the normal rate, newly formed skin cells start accumulating on the skin surface. It further leads to plaque formation, which is linked to psoriasis.
Due to this immune assault, skin also becomes reddish around plaques. Scales may also develop.
- Genetic Cause
Psoriasis on hands and feet can also happen due to a genetic basis. Some people acquire disease-causing genes from their parents. Such people have a higher chance of developing this skin condition at any time in life.
Some studies also reveal that certain mutations occurring in the normal genes can disrupt their function and cause psoriasis. However, more research needs to be done to study these genes or mutations and understand their real connection with psoriasis.
Let’s find what the common types of psoriasis on hands and feet are.
Psoriasis on Hands Pictures
Types of Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet
Psoriasis on the hands and feet has several variations; just like psoriasis on other body parts, it can be identified in 5 different visual types.
And, just like Psoriasis on the skin, you can have one type of psoriasis on the hands or feet, or you might have a combination of several symptoms.
Only with a medical checkup you can confirm exactly what type you have and what treatment options are available.
Pustular Psoriasis on Hands and Feet
It is a rare form of psoriasis that mostly occurs in adults (very uncommon in children). As the name indicates, small pustules form in this illness. It progresses speedily and more commonly affects hands and feet (palms, soles, fingers, and toes).
Your skin will first become red and sensitive. In a few hours, small white pustules filled with pus start forming on the skin.
These small blisters will join each other and become larger in the next few hours. After some hours, they will get dried, making skin flaky and scaly.
With proper treatment, its symptoms can be reduced, or your skin can get recovered, but any environmental trigger can make them reappear at any time.
Pustular psoriasis usually occurs in people who have plaque psoriasis. It can be transferred from one generation to the other.
- A person suffering from pustular psoriasis may develop the following symptoms.
- Formation of small pustules (they become larger with time)
- Itching on pustules
- Inflammation on skin
- Joint pain
- Nausea and anemia
Acropustulosis Psoriasis on Hand and Feet
This hands and feet condition is actually a type of pustular psoriasis. It is more common in children younger than the age of 3, but it has also been found in older children and adults in some rare cases.
In acropustulosis, first rashes develop on your skin. Then small lesions start forming on fingers, tips, toes, palms, and soles. They feel very painful and can influence your performance in daily tasks.
They get dried with time and disappear but can resurface when triggered by external factors.
It’s few symptoms resemble the symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD); it is sometimes misdiagnosed as HFMD. A thorough examination by a doctor is required to diagnose it correctly.
As it is a kind of pustular psoriasis, most of its symptoms are similar to the symptoms of pustular psoriasis. In it, very small pustules form on fingers, toes, palms, and soles.
Palmoplantar Psoriasis (PPP) on Hands and Feet
Palmoplantar psoriasis is another type of hand and feet psoriasis. Of all the people having psoriasis, only 3% to 4% get this type of disease. It usually occurs in people of age ranging from 20 to 60 years.
As it is a subcategory of pustular psoriasis similar pus-filled bristles form in it, too. These pustules are more likely to be found on the soles of feet and palms of hands.
In this illness, rashes start developing on the skin. Bristles soon develop on these rashes. They become brown after some hours and get completely dried.
After that they may peel off from the skin, making the skin feel scaly and itchy.
Symptoms of palmoplantar psoriasis do not stay forever. They vanish after appearing for a few days and reappear if the person is exposed to an environmental trigger.
Its symptoms are similar to the symptoms of pustular psoriasis. But the bristles appear majorly on the palms and soles. In rare cases, they develop on other body parts, as well.
Nail Psoriasis on Hand and Feet
As the name indicates, nail psoriasis is the kind of psoriasis in which the immune system attacks nails. Toenails and fingernails become weaker, yellowish, and damaged.
If the person keeps on using fingers and toes, the nails can start crumbling and may cause bleeding of the fingertips.
In some cases, the whole nail gets separated from the nail bed.
Nail psoriasis mostly occurs with other kinds of psoriasis. In rare cases, it appears on its own. And if it does appear, it is usually misdiagnosed with another nail disease.
Other forms of psoriasis can be concealed by wearing long clothes etc., people having this illness fail to hide the damaged nails.
They face difficulty in doing simple tasks.
Patients with nail psoriasis are often advised to wear gloves and keep their nails short to avoid further damage.
Symptoms of nail psoriasis can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:
- Cracks start forming in the nail surface
- Nail color starts changing
- Nails get thicker and harder
- White patches form on the nails
- Nails start crumbling
- The base of nails become red
- Pain in the finger or toe joints (psoriasis arthritis)
- Lines and furrows form in nails
Psoriasis Arthritis on Hands and Feet
Psoriasis arthritis on the hands and feet usually occurs 10 years after a person develops psoriasis for the first time (30% to 33% psoriasis sufferers develop psoriasis arthritis).
In some cases, it develops on its own, as well. This kind of psoriasis is associated with the body joints and causes joint damage. It can occur in any part of the body but psoriasis arthritis on hands and feet is observed more.
In this disease, body joints become stiff, painful, and swollen. The sufferer faces difficulty in movement. It can affect one or more than one joint.
Or it may affect all joints of one side of the body. It is more common in people above 30 but may also occur in children.
It can cause arthritis mutilans (in rare cases) if its symptoms get worse with time. Arthritis mutilans is very painful and can even cause permanent disability.
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Difficulty in motion
- Pain and swelling of the joints
- Swollen toes and fingers
- Stiff and tired body in the morning
- Pain in one or more than one joint
- Redness of eyes
- Nail color changes and nail crumbling starts
Does Psoriasis on Hand and Feet Spread?
There is a misconception that any kind of psoriasis can spread from one person to the other. But no study or experience proves this concept.
You cannot acquire it by touching the skin of a diseased person. Even the pus-filled blisters do not induce psoriasis.
As mentioned earlier, it is the genes and immune system that mainly cause psoriasis. Your diet, lifestyle, or any habit has no connection with the occurrence of this illness.
What Can Trigger Psoriasis on Hand and Feet?
Environmental triggers are certain factors that can cause the development of general psoriasis symptoms and worsen them if the patient stays in the same environment for long.
These triggers vary from one patient to the other. The most common triggers are:
- Certain Medications
Using certain medications can cause psoriasis outbreaks. For instance, medicines used for high blood pressure and malaria. If you are taking any such medicine, it is better to tell your doctor about your psoriasis condition and ask him to recommend better alternatives.
- Emotional Stress
If a person stays in a stressed and tense environment most of the time then the psoriasis symptoms may appear more frequently.
- Skin Injury
Staying longer under the sun, getting an injection, or an injury on the skin can also trigger psoriasis. Excessive exposure to the damaging UV rays can also lead to psoriasis outbreaks.
- Alcohol Consumption
Consuming alcohol can make the appearance of symptoms more often. So, start with reducing its consumption then move on to quitting it completely.
If you face difficulty in keeping yourself away from alcohol, consult a doctor who can provide you with a better plan. Remember, quitting alcohol will not only reduce the breakout of psoriasis but will also prevent many diseases.
How to Diagnose Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet?
Diagnosing psoriasis on limbs is a challenging task. Doctors often confuse it with other diseases that have the same symptoms such as hand, foot, and mouth disease. The following two forms of examinations are usually done to diagnose this illness.
- Physical Examination of Hands and Feet
During this examination, your doctor will look at the rashes and blisters very closely to determine what their real cause is.
He will also ask you related questions to identify them more correctly. It is better to share your all concerns and thoughts with the doctor to help him understand your case better.
The doctor may also examine your other body parts because even if you have psoriasis of the hands and feet, its symptoms can appear on other body organs as well.
- Testing Skin Cells (Biopsy)
Sometimes, a physical examination is not enough to declare which disease you have. Doctors then move on to the next method of examination which is through a lab test.
For this test, your doctor will take your skin cells carefully (called a biopsy) and send them to the lab for a proper examination.
Experts in the lab will examine your skin cells or maybe pus cells under the microscope. This microscopic examination will make things more clear.
A report will be sent back to your doctor. He will call you for the next appointment where he will share the test results.
How to Prevent Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet?
As the real cause of psoriasis is still unclear, it is impossible to prevent it, especially if it is because of a genetic reason. Still, you can reduce its symptoms and chances of its occurrence by bringing a few changes in your lifestyle.
The following tips may help you control Psoriasis symptoms on the Hands and Feet.
- Establish healthy eating habits
- Avoid smoking
- Reduce alcohol consumption as much as possible
- Avoid getting stressed and tensed if possible
- Have a healthy night’s sleep
Is There a Cure for Psoriasis on the Hands and Feet?
No true cure for psoriasis has been discovered yet. It is mainly because of the lack of understanding of its cause. Doctors recommend different medicines and therapies to reduce the inflammation, pain, plaques, etc.
Doctors initially tend to suggest some ointments, creams, or lotions applied to the affected areas. The application of cream may reduce itchiness, dryness, and cracks formed on the skin.
They also recommend using gloves and similar protections to avoid more damage to the hands or feet. Phototherapy is another mode of treatment that doctors opt for psoriasis for hands and feet.
Taking preventative measures is your best bet if you want to prevent psoriasis outbreaks on the hands and feet.
If you endorse a moderated lifestyle and follow your doctor’s advice well, you will be able to control your psoriasis and enjoy life to the fullest.
Your day doesn’t have to be hard just because of Psoriasis, there is always a plan B.
"About Psoriasis" - Last updated Feb 2020 https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/ "PSORS2 Is Due to Mutations in CARD14" - Last updated May 2012 https://www.cell.com/ajhg/fulltext/S0002-9297(12)00156-5 "Palmoplantar Psoriasis" - Last updated Aug 2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448142/ "Psoriasis: Facts, Statistics, and You" - Last updated Apr 2020 https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/facts-statistics-infographic