What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear.

Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. It can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and can range from relatively mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.

Symptoms

Psoriatic arthritis can affect joints on just one side or on both sides of your body. The signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis often resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis. Both diseases cause joints to become painful, swollen, and warm to the touch.

However, psoriatic arthritis is more likely to also cause:

  • Painful, swollen fingers and toes (at times developing before any significant joint symptoms)
  • Foot pain (at the points where tendons and ligaments attach to your bones — especially at the back of your heel or in the sole of your foot)
  • Lower back pain (including a condition called spondylitis which causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of the spine and in the joints between the spine and pelvis)

Treatment Options

Today, physicians treat psoriatic arthritis using a wide variety of medicines, ranging in strength from mild to extremely strong. Prescribed medications will usually change during a person’s lifetime with lupus. However, it can take months—sometimes years—before your health care team finds just the right combination of medicines to keep your lupus symptoms under control.

The medications most commonly used to control psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Other types of anti-inflommatories
  • Immunosuppressants

We encourage you visit the National Psoriasis Foundation to become more knowledgeable about your condition.  The knowledge of your disorder helps you in understanding the disorder and its treatment.  Each person is different so what applies to one patient may not apply to another. Reading and understanding about your disorder will help you be better prepared to discuss the disorder with your physician and understand the options that are available to help you. These links are not connected to Albuquerque Center for Rheumatology and are offered for your information only.