Your Dry, Itchy Feet May Not be Athlete’s Foot

The main culprit of reddened, itchy, dry feet is athlete’s foot followed by contact dermatitis.  However, an autoimmune disease called psoriasis also has these symptoms.  Psoriasis is most commonly found on the elbows, knees, and bottoms of the feet but can also affect fingernails and toenails.  People with psoriasis typically have areas of thick, reddened skin with dry, whitish-silver patches that may itch.


Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by faster-than-normal turnover of skin cells.  Normally, new skin cells originate in the deep layers of skin and take approximately 30 days to reach the surface of the skin.  As they rise, the cells mature and older, died cells have time to be removed from the skin’s surface.  In people suffering from psoriasis, the new cells rise to the surface so quickly that dead cells build up on the surface.  This build up of dead cells causes the whitish-silver patches.  Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that seems to run in families.  Psoriasis tends to be worse during stressful times and people with weakened immune systems.


A podiatrist should be visited if you have psoriasis on your feet or have persistent reddened, itchy feet.  A podiatrist will carefully examine your feet and take a thorough medical history.  They may also collect a small sample of the affected area to confirm the diagnosis.  Treatment of psoriasis depends on the severity of the disease.  Mild cases can be treated with steroid creams.  More severe cases of psoriasis may need drugs to depress the body’s immune system.  Psoriasis cannot be prevented, but individual triggers can be avoided to reduce irritation.  If you are experiencing psoriasis, speak with your podiatrist to find out what you can do to minimize your symptoms.