Arthritis – psoriatic
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Psoriasis is a common skin problem that causes red patches on the body. It is a chronic (ongoing) condition. About 1 in 20 people with psoriasis will develop arthritis with the skin condition. In most cases, psoriasis comes before the arthritis.
The cause of psoriatic arthritis is not known. Genes may play a role.
The arthritis may be mild and involve only a few joints. The joints at the end of the fingers or toes may be more affected.
Signs and tests
During a physical exam, the health care provider will look for:
Skin patches (psoriasis) and pitting in the nails
Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce pain and swelling of the joints.
Worse arthritis will need to be treated with more powerful drugs called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These include:
New medicines that block an inflammatory protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) are being widely used for progressive psoriatic arthritis. These drugs include:
Very painful joints may be injected with steroid medicines.
In rare cases, surgery may be needed to repair or replace damaged joints.
Your doctor may suggest a mix of rest and exercise. Physical therapy may help with increase joint movement. You may also use heat and cold therapy.
Early treatment can ease pain and prevent joint damage even in very bad cases.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if arthritis symptoms develop along with psoriasis.