Straight, No Chaser: Rashes on Your Palms and Soles; It's Not Always Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

In the world of rashes, there aren’t an abundance of rashes that appear on the palms and soles.  However, there are a few of note, so here’s some Quick Tips to point you in the right direction. This doesn’t take long for you to learn, so commit this to memory, and you could save yourself a lot of drama down the road. Don’t forget to wear gloves and wash your hands!
There’s actually an entity called hand, foot and mouth disease, commonly seen in children and caused by the Coxsackie A virus.  It’s rather benign.
If you’ve spent any time in the woods of the Southeastern U.S. (usually between April and September), you may recall being bitten by a tick (which will transmit an infection from a bacteria named Rickettsia Rickettsii).  If you contract Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (yes, it’s misnamed – the Rocky Mountains aren’t in the Southeastern U.S.), your rash may look like this.


If you’re a child with five or more days of fever, pink eye, dryness in the mouth, big lymph nodes in the neck and this rash, your physician should consider Kawasaki’s disease.  This is caused by an inflammation of blood vessels, and demographically, it is seen more often in those of Asian descent.


Sometimes in Kawasaki’s disease, the tongue may look like a strawberry.


And yes, secondary syphilis presents with rashes on the palms and soles.  The real take home message is this.  Primary syphilis is so overlooked (because the initial genital lesion is painless and may come and go without much announcement), the development of rashes on the hands and feet may be the first time you get diagnosed.  Trust me, you want to get treated before tertiary syphilis develops.  Here’s what that rash looks like.


The long and short of it, is if you or a loved one develop a rash on the palms and/or soles, get it evaluated.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
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