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Key Information About Psoriatic Arthritis

Updated on November 28, 2022
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Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease associated with psoriasis.

Between 10 and 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which is most commonly a seronegative oligoarthritis.

MRI of Psoriatic Arthritis

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source


Distal interphalangeal predominant
Asymmetric oligoarticular
Symmetric polyarthritis
Arthritis mutilans


The cause of psoriatic arthritis is not known. It may result from a combination of genetic (family), environmental, and immune factors.

Many experts are of the opinion that like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning it occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, in this case the joints and skin.

Up to 40 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of skin or joint disease.

Children of parents with psoriasis are three times more likely to have psoriasis and are at greater risk for developing psoriatic arthritis than children born of parents without psoriasis.

HLA-B27 is a powerful predisposing gene associated with this arthritis. The gene itself does not cause disease, but can make people more susceptible.



Many symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to that of rheumatoid arthritis and they may appear either before or after the onset of psoriasis.

Symptoms of this chronic condition include pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Commonly affected joints are neck, back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles and toes.

Changes to your nails, such as pitting, may be an early sign of this condition. Pitted nails appear bumpy or dented.

Fingers and toes may swell and take on a sausage-like appearance known as dactylitis.

This disease often begins with a few swollen joints. A single finger or toe may be noticeably swollen. Some people feel stiff when they wake up. As they move around, the stiffness fades.

Some patients experience tenderness or pain where tendons or ligaments attach to bones. This commonly occurs at the heel (Achilles tendinitis) or the bottom of the foot (plantar fasciitis), but it can also occur in the elbow (tennis elbow).

Simply living with psoriatic arthritis is stressful — it affects every part of your being. There is no denying that emotional stress can trigger flares; likewise, flares can cause increased stress.

“Any time you have a lot of inflammation for a long time you get bone loss,” says Harris H. McIlwain, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist in Tampa, Florida. “Not only does PsA cause joint pain, swelling, fatigue, and skin issues, systemic bone loss has been documented to occur, and increased occurrence of fractures is reported.”

When my joints swell, it feels like someone has wedged a screwdriver into them and is trying to pry my joints out. Swelling around the spine sends nerve pain down to my toes and up through my skull.

— Cynthia Covert, 48, a blogger, writer and psoriatic arthritis patient from Riverside, California.

Structure of Ibuprofen

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source


Doctors usually do a physical exam and imaging tests to diagnose psoriatic arthritis.

There is no cure for this arthritis. The goal of treatment of this chronic condition is to control inflammation of the affected joints, prevent joints pain and prevent disability.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and immunosuppressants are some medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritis.

In severe cases, there is a risk of the joints becoming permanently damaged or deformed, which may require surgical treatment.

Based on psoriatic arthritis disease activity score, a combination of methotrexate plus leflunomide vs MTX monotherapy showed greater improvements in disease activity, according to study results published in Lancet Rheumatology in March 2022.

Patients with psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis who received once daily upadacitinib 15 mg experienced improvements in pain measures through 1 year, according to data published in RMD Open.

Risankizumab, sold under the brand name Skyrizi, is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting interleukin 23A. It improves joint and skin symptoms in patients with this condition.

Bimekizumab uses a novel approach to biologic treatment in psoriatic arthritis through dual cytokine blockade.

Avocado is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin E — the latter is not found in a lot of other fruits. These vitamins have an anti-inflammatory effect, which means eating avocados may help decrease joint pain.

For people with chronic health conditions such as psoriatic arthritis access to care is vital for the management of their disease.

If a person cannot receive the care they need, their condition can worsen, leading to further disability and a decreased quality of life.


Do yoga daily. Put as little stress on the joints as possible. Use larger, stronger joints when you can, instead of smaller ones.

Do you practice yoga?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R


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