Is it athlete’s foot or psoriasis?

Rashes and red scaly skin are quite common skin conditions that affect many Australians. But when they affect your feet, they can severely impact your life.

The most common cause of irritated skin on the feet is psoriasis and it’s something we see a lot of in our clinic. As experienced, qualified podiatrists, we can diagnose and help you manage this painful and irritating condition.

Read on to learn more about psoriasis, its causes, and how we can help.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that typically causes a red, scaly rash. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, including the feet. It is linked to other health conditions including inflammatory arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (especially Crohn’s disease), uveitis (eye inflammation), and celiac disease (an autoimmune disease that is triggered by the consumption of gluten). People with severe psoriasis also have an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

There are several types of psoriasis but the most common is called plaque psoriasis, which affects 85 to 90% of people with psoriasis. Psoriasis that appears on the feet is called plantar psoriasis. When it appears on both hands and feet, it’s known as palmoplantar psoriasis.

Symptoms of foot psoriasis

The symptoms of psoriasis on the feet can differ from person to person. The most common symptoms of plaque psoriasis are: 

Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the feet, including the soles of your feet.

What causes psoriasis?

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells are replaced too quickly. While the exact cause is not fully understood, it’s believed that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, which means that the immune system attacks healthy tissues (e.g. skin) by mistake.

There is also a genetic predisposition to psoriasis with the condition often running in families.

Some people may notice that certain things can trigger or worsen symptoms. These include:





changes in the weather, especially if it causes skin to dry


being sick or having an infection


a recent injury to the skin such as cut, insect bite or sunburn



How is psoriasis diagnosed?

Diagnosing psoriasis is normally done via a physical examination, as symptoms are usually easy to distinguish from other conditions that cause similar symptoms. However, sometimes it may be necessary to perform a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. This is where a small sample of skin is taken and sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope.

Treatment for foot psoriasis

There is no treatment to cure psoriasis, but there are many things you can do to relieve symptoms and reduce flare-ups.

home treatment

Mild psoriasis can be managed with products applied to the skin. These include:

home treatment

Podiatry treatment

Our podiatrists are highly-experienced in diagnosing and treating psoriasis of the feet. Along with providing a diagnosis, we can also recommend the best topical treatments for your condition and how best to care for your feet, based on your symptoms. For more severe psoriasis that doesn’t respond to topical treatments, you may need systemic treatment. These treatments are administered orally or via injections, which we can perform in our clinic.

Other treatment that is often used in conjunction with topical or systemic treatments is phototherapy (light therapy). While we don’t perform this at our clinic, we can provide you with a referral.

Foot psoriasis can be extremely painful and challenging to treat which is why it’s important to seek help as soon as you notice a problem. 

Don’t suffer in silence hoping it will get better on its own. Make an appointment to visit one of our friendly podiatrists.


frequently asked questions

No, you can also get Psoriasis on your hands, knees, elbows, scalp, and skin.

Socks which are breathable, and light can be comfortable. There are specialists socks that have gel lining for further cushioning and skin protection.

You can try 1:1 apple cider vinegar and warm water foot soak. Daily for 10minutes.

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