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Actinic Keratosis & Associated Skin Conditions

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis is the name of a skin cancer which can cause a wound to occur on the feet. Though it is usually found in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun frequently like the ears, face and the back of the hands, lesions can still be found on the feet too. They are described as having a raised flaky surface or being flat. They are usually the colour of the skin or reddish in colour. They are commonly mistaken for planter warts on the foot. These lesions are a sign of epidermis carcinoma. These lesions should be treated as though they are certainly pre-cancerous. Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the lesions or the lesion is cut out and removed.

 

Actinic Keratosis

Malignant Melanoma

  • Malignant melanoma is a cancer of the pigment cells of the skin. Most pigmented areas are harmless freckles and moles but pigmented lesions should always be checked out and kept an eye on. Nevertheless a pigmented lesion that can be deadly can occur on the lower part of the body and foot; this is known as a malignant melanoma. Any pigmented lesions that occur out of the blue or begin to change should be checked out by a doctor.
  • These changes are generally very slight, the pigmentation may be changing in size or colour or there may be a discharge of fluid or blood. The colour is usually a mixture of brown, black or bluish black. The pigmentation may increase over a period of time. Even though any part of the body can be affected, the foot is a generally a common place, then the legs, stomach, head, neck, arms and back. Under the nails of the feet and hands can also be affected by a malignant melanoma. Usually the big toe and thumb are affected rather than the rest of the nails. The skin around the nails generally becomes ulcerated. When examined, usually the nail is diagnosed with a fungal infection and anti-fungal treatment begins, it can be months before the right diagnosis is made. A malignant melanoma of the toe which is black can also be wrongly mistaken for gangrene. On the whole, there is a small chance of a malignant melanoma reoccurring.
  • Kaposi's Sarcoma

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma is another lesion that can occur on the foot that is cancerous. These lesions generally come out on the bottom of the feet. They are a reddish, bluish back, purplish in colour and an uneven rough shape. They have a tendency to stretch and increase in size or become a round nodular shape. These nodular lesions look firm and rubbery. This is a warning sign. There was an epidemic of kaposi’s sarcoma in San Francisco in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It was after that the disease was linked with the aids infection. It is rare to have this disease without it coexisting with the aids infection but it can happen.
  • Increased pigmentation to the soles of the feet can also be caused by suffering from chronic athlete’s foot. It is linked with having a reddish looking colour and dry flaky skin.

Venous Stasis

  • Pigmentation that is widely spread happens for many reasons. People who have patches of skin that are dark in colour around the lower legs and ankles suffer from venous stasis. When fluid builds up in the lower part of the body, this causes venous stasis. This is from the poor return of venous blood to the heart. Venous blood flows back to the heart through the veins in the legs and feet. Venous stasis is linked with varicose veins that do a bad job of sending the blood back to the heart. This results in the blood flow becoming slow and inactive, thus causing fluid to build up in the lower legs and ankles.
  • Whilst the fluid builds up in the legs, the small and medium veins break or fluid begins to seep into the surrounding tissues. When blood cells break up in the tissue, they leave the iron from the hemoglobin in the blood cells. This iron then marks the skin, leaving a light to dark brownish coloured stain. Over time, the fat and skin will become thin, causing it to break down and form venous stasis ulcerations. Sometimes these ulcerations will blister, filled with watery liquid that oozes from the skin. This will need to be checked out by a doctor.
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

  • Diabetes is another reason the pigmentation becomes widespread. Diabetic dermopathy usually occurs on the lower legs and shins. They might look like tiny scar like marks. Due to the way they look, it can take years to lead the diagnosis to diabetes. The definite cause of diabetic dermopathy is not as yet clear, but it does not cause any particular health problems.
  • Increased pigmentation on the ankles that look small and spider-like in appearance are caused when small veins in the area break down. These are called spider veins and do not pose a risk to your health.

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