Hyperkeratosis: How Can It Affect Your Feet?

The increased thickness of the stratum corneum, the skin’s outer layer, is referred to as hyperkeratosis. However, it can also result from persistent inflammation or be a side effect of several medications, including chemotherapy. It is most usually caused by chronic physical or chemical injury, such as friction or the use of aggressive soaps.

Causes

Excessive pressure, inflammation, or irritation of the skin can cause pressure-related hyperkeratosis.

When this occurs, the skin reacts by generating additional layers of keratin to shield the skin’s injured areas. Skin that has not been inflamed develops keratosis that is not pressure related. 

There are various types of hyperkeratosis.

  • Actinic keratosis, which develops because of excessive skin exposure and results in rough, sandpaper like patches of skin,
  • Psoriasis,
  • An inherited skin condition known as epidermolysis hyperkeratosis that manifests at birth,
  • Genital warts,
  • Calluses, corns,
  • Eczema.

If a person has a potential area of hyperkeratosis on their skin that they are uncertain of, they should see their doctor.

Symptoms

Painless hyperkeratosis is the most common type. However, the problems that might result from foot hyperkeratosis are typically more severe. When completing regular tasks, corns, calluses, and plantar warts can be extremely uncomfortable. To avoid the potential development of hyperkeratosis, which could result in more serious diseases, it is advised to get an examination as soon as you notice the first symptoms.

There are numerous instances of hyperkeratosis, including:

  • Areas of the skin exposed to frequent friction or pressure generate calluses and corns. As a result, several layers of hardened dead skin cells accumulate. Fingers that are inflamed frequently develop blisters. On the palms and soles, calluses develop. Calluses and corns are frequently uncomfortable alterations that can cause medical issues.
  • Warts – Small skin lumps known as warts are brought on by a human papillomavirus infection (HPV). On the bottoms of the feet, plantar warts form.
  • Direct touch is typically how the virus is disseminated. The most common way for it to spread is through contact or handshakes with someone who already has a wart. Contact with a contaminated surface might also transmit it. One can contract the virus, for instance, by wearing someone else’s shoes or walking barefoot on the floor of a gym or swimming pool.
  • Recurrent eczema – Eczema is a skin inflammatory condition. It can be brought on by, among other things, allergies, and irritating substances. Eczema is also known as dermatitis. The outcome is little blisters, redness, and itching. Hyperkeratosis may develop because of chronic eczema if the inflammation is challenging to control.

Treatment

To prevent hyperkeratosis lesions like corns or calluses, for example:

  • Putting on a pair of snugs, comfy shoes. Padding can also provide additional protection by being worn over corns or calluses.
  • Avoiding wearing bare feet in places where fungus is likely to grow, such as in gyms, locker rooms, or swimming pools.
  • Avoiding factors in the environment that are known to aggravate eczema, such as dry air, strongly scented or perfumed soaps, harsh chemicals, or unusually hot or cold temperatures.
  • Avoiding substances that can aggravate allergies, such as pollen and pet dander.
  • Every time you are outside, use sunscreen with a UV protection factor of at least 30. Actinic keratosis can also be warded off by donning protective clothes, such as a hat or long sleeves.