Porokeratosis: Clogged Sweat Glands

Everybody sweats. Perspiration is actually an important skin function—it helps regulate your body temperature and keep your feet from drying out. However, your sweat glands can become clogged, preventing them from doing their job and leading to discomfort in the lower limbs. This issue is called porokeratosis.

Plugged Up Ducts

Porokeratosis is a general term for a few skin conditions that block sweat glands. As the glands clog, you develop ridge-like bumps. These lesions often appear similar to corns. Sometimes the bumps are quite small, but patches may get larger and create small, reddish splotches on the skin. The specific condition you have determines where on the feet you’ll notice the issue—some are common on the weight-bearing portions of the soles, while the others often stretch up the legs.)

No one is entirely sure what causes clogged sweat glands, though genetic factors may play a role. A weakened immune system and previous skin damage increase your risk for the problem as well. Sunburns and regular exposure to radiation have also been connected to the condition. In addition to raised bumps or discolored splotches, you may experience discomfort or itching around the lesions. Pressure on the blocked glands tends to be particularly uncomfortable, which can make wearing shoes and walking unpleasant.

Unclogging the Glands

Clogged sweat glands do need to be evaluated and managed. Beyond being uncomfortable, the lesions increase your risk for developing malignant cancer. Since the glands are blocked, they also cannot do their job properly, impairing the perspiration your skin needs to stay moist. The caring doctors at Country Foot Care will carefully examine your lower limbs and use a variety of tests to rule out other serious skin issues. Then, our Country Foot Care staff can help you treat and resolve the problem.

The therapy we typically use at Country Foot Care includes chemocautery with silver nitrate, along with excision of the lesion. This breaks down and removes the tissue that is blocking up the glands. Other treatments include using medications like 5-fluorouracil cream and retinoids. Not all blocked sweat glands respond well to existing methods, so the problem may return in the future.

To help manage the problem, you should limit sun exposure to the lesion-prone lower limbs. Keep them covered when you can and wear soft, breathable shoes. Wash and actively moisturize your feet daily to help combat dryness and clogging.

Although conditions like clogged sweat glands are uncommon, they are not impossible to manage. You don’t have to live with dry, uncomfortable, itchy lower limbs. A little extra care can also help catch and prevent cancerous changes before they happen. Any unusual bumps on your feet or ankles should be investigated. Let Country Foot Care in New York, help you keep your feet healthy. To make an appointment you can call our offices to speak with one of our helpful staff or you can click on the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page to submit a request online.