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Treating Psoriasis on the Hands or Feet


Doctors often combine retinoids with light therapy for hands and feet psoriasis. You might have UVB or psoralen-UVA (PUVA) phototherapy or targeted phototherapy (laser treatment). PUVA involves taking the drug psoralen, either by mouth or applied like paint, along with the light therapy.

If these treatments don’t work, your doctor may prescribe a type of medication called a biologic, which targets specific parts of the immune system. Different types of psoriasis respond in different ways to these medications. Examples include:

Pustular Psoriasis on the Palms and Soles

Some people -- mostly adults who smoke -- get pustular psoriasis on their palms and soles. Known as palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP), it can erupt over months or years. It may also cause painful cracks, redness, and scales. It can be more stubborn to treat than other types of hand and foot psoriasis, but the same methods are used.

Psoriasis and Your Nails

Psoriasis can also affect your nails as they form. It could cause:

  • Shallow or deep holes
  • Shape changes
  • Thickening
  • Separation of the nail from the nail bed
  • Discoloration

Corticosteroid creams or ointments and light therapy are also used to treat nail psoriasis. If these don’t get the job done, your doctor might suggest corticosteroid injections into your nail beds. Nail psoriasis can cause fungal infections -- your doctor will prescribe anti-fungal agents.

Cosmetic repair is also an option. This can involve:

  • Nail scraping and filing
  • Nail polish
  • Artificial nails
  • Surgical removal

To help prevent problems, trim your nails as short as possible, and wear gloves when you work with your hands.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 21, 2016



Di Lernia, V. Dermatology Online Journal , 2010.

FDA. "FDA approves new psoriasis drug Taltz."

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Specific locations: Hands and feet."

The Psoriasis Association: "Pustular Psoriasis."

Wound Care Advisor: “What you need to know about hydrocolloid dressings.”

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