Hands, Feet & Nails

12 – 16% of people with psoriasis have it on their hands or feet.

This is called palmoplantar psoriasis. Symptoms include red/discolored, dry and thickened skin, as well as painful, deep fissures (cracks) on the soles of the feet.

Did You Know?

Hands and Feet (Palmoplantar)

Psoriasis on the hands and feet can significantly impact your quality of life because of the way the disease may impair the use of the hands and feet. The pain from palmoplantar psoriasis may limit mobility and keep you from working or doing daily tasks.

Treatments

Topicals are a common treatment for psoriasis on the hands and feet. Follow your health care provider’s instructions for applying topical treatments. Since skin on the hands and feet can be delicate, you should carefully apply treatment to your hands and feet.

Phototherapy is another treatment option. There are special light therapy units specifically designed for the hands and feet.

Oral treatments and biologic treatments are also options, especially if your psoriasis is severe or you are not responding well to other treatments.

Roughly 50 percent of people living with psoriasis have it on their nails.

Additionally, an estimated 90 percent of people with psoriasis will experience nail psoriasis at some point in their life.

Did You Know?

Nails

Nail psoriasis normally affects several digits (fingers and toes) and is more common on the fingernails than the toenails. Pain and tenderness from nail psoriasis can impact daily activities.

Nail psoriasis may be an indicator of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), as many people have both. If you notice changes in your nails and suspect it might be nail psoriasis, visit a dermatologist to diagnose nail psoriasis and see a rheumatologist to screen for PsA.

The most common nail problems are:

  • Pitting — shallow or deep holes in the nail
  • Deformation — alterations in the normal shape of the nail
  • Thickening of the nail
  • Onycholysis — separation of the nail from the nail bed
  • Discoloration — unusual nail coloration, such as yellow-brown

Nail changes may occur on the nail plate or in the nail bed or nail matrix. Where the nail is affected can determine which treatment may be most effective. Your health care provider will discuss your treatment options which may include topicals, intralesional steroids (an injection into each affected nail), phototherapy, oral treatments and biologics.

Nail Care

Keep nails as short as possible. Loose nails can continue to be injured if they rub against surfaces. It is important to protect your nails from damage because trauma will often trigger or worsen nail psoriasis. One easy way to do this is to wear gloves while working with your hands. Care should be taken to treat the affected nails gently and cuticles should not be clipped or pushed back. If a nail is lifting, avoid overly aggressive cleaning under the nail tip, which can make lifting worse.

Nail Psoriasis Quick Guide

Learn more about the signs of nail psoriasis, Treatment options and get tips for caring for your nails without making your nail psoriasis worse.

Last updated on 9/17/20 by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

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