3 Things You Need To Know About Acquired Palmoplantar Keratoderma

Health & Medical Blog

Acquired palmoplantar keratoderma, also called acquired PPK, is a group of skin disorders characterized by thickened skin on the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands. Here are three things you need to know about acquired palmoplantar keratoderma.

What are the signs of acquired palmoplantar keratoderma?

If you develop acquired palmoplantar keratoderma, you'll notice that the skin on the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, or both is thickened. This thickening can vary significantly between patients. Some people only notice thickened skin on the pressure points of their feet, while other people will notice that the entirety of their soles and palms are affected.

What causes acquired palmoplantar keratoderma?

This condition can develop for a number of reasons. It has been linked to the following factors:

  • Menopause;
  • Obesity;
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure);
  • Internal malignancies (cancer);
  • Other skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, or lichen planus;
  • Infections, such as human papillomavirus or syphilis;
  • Drugs like fluorouracil or bleomycin;
  • System diseases like diabetes, chronic lymphedema, or lymphoma.

Since acquired palmoplantar keratoderma can be caused by such a wide range of health concerns, you should see your family doctor for further testing. Your dermatologist can help you manage the symptoms of the skin disorder, but your family doctor will be the one to identify and treat the underlying problem.

How do dermatologists manage this condition?

Your dermatologist can offer numerous treatments to help you manage your condition. These treatments all try to strengthen your skin's natural barrier as well as remove the thickened skin.

To remove the thickened skin, your dermatologist may have you soak your hands and feet in warm water to soften the skin. They will then remove the softened, hyperkeratotic skin. You'll need to apply moisturizer to the newly exposed skin to ensure that it stays hydrated and soft. Antibacterial and antifungal creams will need to be used as a preventative measure to ensure that you don't get any secondary infections.

Urea-based creams can also be used to manage this condition. Urea has keratolytic properties, which means it can remove excess skin, and it also helps to moisturize your skin.

Systemic treatments can also be used. For example, your dermatologist may prescribe aciretin, a pill that's used to treat other skin conditions like psoriasis. This medication can significantly improve the condition, though it can cause other side effects.

If the skin on your soles or palms is thickened, you may have acquired palmoplantar keratoderma and should see a dermatologist.


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