Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by red patches of skin covered in silvery scales. Psoriasis usually develops years before psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed. However, for some people, joint problems arise before or at the same time as skin patches.
The main indications and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. They can affect any area of your body, including your fingers and spine, and range in severity from mild to severe. Disease flares and periods of remission can occur in both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis has no known cure. The goal of treatment is to ease the symptoms while also preventing joint damage. Psoriatic arthritis can be debilitating if left untreated.
Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are both chronic conditions that worsen over time, though symptoms may improve or subside for short periods.
The joints on one or both sides of your body can be affected by psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis's signs and symptoms are commonly mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis's. Both disorders induce painful, swollen, and warm-to-the-touch joints.
Symptoms that may be useful in distinguishing psoriatic arthritis include:
- Fingers and toes that are swollen. The painful, sausage-like swelling of your fingers and toes can sometimes be caused by psoriatic arthritis.
- Foot pain. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause pain where tendons and ligaments connect to your bones, particularly at the back of your heel (Achilles tendinitis) and the sole of your foot (plantar fasciitis).
- Pain in the lower back. As a result of psoriatic arthritis, some people acquire a condition known as spondylitis. Spondylitis mostly affects the joints between your spine's vertebrae and the joints between your spine and pelvis (sacroiliitis).
- Changes in nail colour. Nails might develop small holes, disintegrate, or split from their nail beds.
- Inflammation of the eyes. Eye pain, redness, and hazy vision are all symptoms of uveitis. Uveitis can cause visual loss if left untreated.
Because there is no specific test for psoriatic arthritis, your doctor will diagnose you based on your symptoms and a physical examination. If you have a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, tell your doctor.
If you've had psoriasis for a few years and have recently developed arthritis symptoms, it's possible you have psoriatic arthritis. However, this isn't always the case.
It might be hard to distinguish the difference between psoriatic arthritis and other inflammatory arthritis disorders such rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.
Blood tests for rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP antibody can be beneficial. These antibodies are rarely found in the blood of people with psoriatic arthritis. People who have rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to test positive for them – especially if they’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for a while. These tests won't tell you if you have psoriatic arthritis for sure, but they can help you figure out if you do.
Because psoriatic arthritis can impact certain sections of the body differently than other disorders, X-rays of your back, hands, and feet may be helpful.
Ultrasound scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are two types of imaging that may be used to confirm the diagnosis.
Reference: Psoriatic arthritis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/