Plantar hyperkeratosis is excessive keratinization and thickening of the epidermis in the area of the plantar surface of the feet. Hyperkeratosis of the feet is characterized by coarsening and dryness of the skin, the appearance of callosities, painful and bleeding cracks. Diagnosis is based on an external examination of the feet by a dermatologist, podiatrist or orthopedist; the results of a skin biopsy followed by histological examination of the material. Treatment of plantar hyperkeratosis is carried out in a complex manner: foot baths, foot peels, hardware medical pedicure, the use of special cosmetics are effective for this purpose.
Plantar hyperkeratosis (hard stratum corneum,) is a pathological overgrowth of the stratum corneum of the epidermis, reaching a thickness of up to one centimeter or more. Complications of hyperkeratosis can manifest themselves in the form of small point hemorrhages (hemorrhages), soft (interdigital, nail) and hard (root) calluses, ulcers from increased pressure on the feet. Hemorrhages and calluses are not dangerous to health in general, but they represent a cosmetic defect and cause inconvenience when walking. They require removal using special procedures. Foot ulcers often occur in patients with diabetes mellitus and, in addition to the use of cosmetic techniques, require treatment of the underlying disease.
Often, against the background of the hardening of the stratum corneum, foot cracks occur, which cause considerable discomfort. But their development is not always directly related to hyperkeratosis, they can also be a consequence of improper foot skin care.
Causes of plantar hyperkeratosis
There are two groups of factors in the occurrence of hyperkeratosis:
Exogenous factors (external)
In this case, the reason for the development of this problem is an increased and prolonged load on some areas of the foot. Under the influence of pressure, skin germ cells begin to multiply rapidly. Normally, the upper cells of the epidermis gradually peel off, giving way to newly formed ones. In the case of excessively active cell division, the upper cells do not have time to peel off, which is why the stratum corneum of the epidermis thickens. Hyperkeratosis occurs.
One of the most common exogenous factors that cause hyperkeratosis is incorrectly selected shoes. Not only wearing narrow and tight shoes exerts excessive pressure on the feet, worn shoes, or shoes larger in size, are no less insidious. In too loose shoes, the foot inside is not fixed and mobile when walking, which causes pressure and friction of the foot and, as a result, its pathological changes.
Another reason for excessive pressure on the feet is the human constitution: increased body weight and high height. Also, various types of foot deformities lead to hyperkeratosis, both congenital (flat feet or clubfoot) and acquired in the course of life (due to injuries or operations). At the same time, the load on some areas of the foot is several times higher than the physiological norm and exposes these areas to excessive pressure.
Endogenous factors (internal)
These include, first of all, endocrine and skin diseases. With diabetes mellitus, carbohydrate metabolism is disrupted in the human body. This, in turn, leads to changes in the pain and tactile sensitivity of the lower extremities, impaired blood circulation and trophic tissues, dry skin, ulcerative lesions and other risk factors for hyperkeratosis.
The cause of hyperkeratosis can also be various skin diseases, including psoriasis, keratodermia of the palmar-plantar region, ichthyosis, congenital disorders of keratin synthesis.
The combination of several factors (endo- and exogenous) increases the risk of hyperkeratosis formation and progression. For example, wearing tight shoes by a person suffering from diabetes mellitus can have the most adverse consequences in the development of LRS.
Treatment of plantar hyperkeratosis
Plantar hyperkeratosis, in addition to salon procedures, requires careful home foot care.
The enemies of hyperkeratosis are regular hygiene procedures and emollient drugs. As a “home doctor” it is recommended to use oil preparations of lavender, mountain pine, rosemary, etc. The best result is a comprehensive foot skin care, which includes applying the main drug at night, a special tonic or lotion in the morning and a foot bath 1-2 times a week.
Hygienic foot care at home should include mechanical removal of roughened skin with pumice stone of varying degrees of hardness. Daily use of pumice stone allows timely removal of the overgrown stratum corneum. To prevent the development of pathology, only a few movements of the pumice stone over the entire surface of the foot are enough. Before using the pumice stone, the feet should be washed, but not dried, since the pumice stone “likes” the moist surface of the skin.
Following these simple rules of home foot care, you can avoid education or significantly facilitate its course.
In the podologist’s office
Podiatric specialists with medical education are engaged in treatment. The treatment regimen has been worked out by many years of experience and includes several stages: softening of the roughened skin of the foot, removal of the hard stratum corneum and subsequent skin resurfacing.
There are several ways to soften the hard stratum corneum. The classic method involves using water as a softener, sometimes with the addition of salts or flavorings – it is affordable and pleasant. In modern cosmetology, chemical softeners in the form of solutions, gels or foaming agents are increasingly used. Their indisputable advantages are the disinfecting effect, cost-effectiveness and high efficiency.
Removal is carried out with disposable tools: a scalpel and removable blades of different sizes. The affected areas located on the sole of the foot, in the interdigital spaces or on the metatarsal-phalangeal joints resemble narrow ribbons or rice grains. Removal of the hard stratum corneum in these areas is successfully carried out with hollow blades.
The master podologist removes the roughened layers of the skin very carefully under careful visual control, barely reaching the young pink skin. With technically competent execution of the procedure, the integrity of the soft tissues is not violated, and the hard stratum corneum is removed without a trace.
The final stage of podological treatment of hyperkeratosis is skin resurfacing. It can be carried out both with the help of traditional saws, and by the hardware method with the help of single-use ceramic nozzles. Hardware pedicure techniques have advantages in speed, hygiene and greater efficiency.