Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and psoriasis can go hand in hand. PsA is a form of arthritis that is part of a family of conditions associated with psoriasis called psoriatic disease. Psoriasis is a skin condition which appears as raised red plaques covered with white scales on different parts of the body.
Psoriasis typically occurs on the elbows, knees, scalp, chest and lower back, but lesions can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, hands, feet, nails, in the genital region and in skin folds such as the armpits and under the breasts. PsA is much less well known, but it’s important for people living with psoriasis to be aware of it since up to 30% of people who have psoriasis will develop PsA.
PsA manifests as arthritic joint pain or tenderness or swelling around the tendons and can occur in any area of the body. About 80% of people who live with psoriasis and PsA experience the skin disease before the joint disease.
If you experience psoriasis, it’s important to look out for the signs of PsA. Symptoms can either develop slowly over time or appear rapidly; much like everything else related to PsA, it varies depending on the individual:
- Generalized fatigue
- Tenderness, pain and swelling over tendons
- Swollen fingers and toes
- Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints
- A reduced range of motion
- Morning stiffness and tiredness
- Nail changes – for example, the nail separates from the nail bed and/or becomes pitted and mimics fungus infections
- Redness and pain of the eye, such as conjunctivitis
Anyone with psoriasis should be alert to the potential development of PsA, which is likely to be signaled by some form of joint pain, inflammation and tenderness or swelling of the tendons. It’s important to recognize the potential symptoms early because, if left untreated, PsA can severely damage your joints.< Back to Psoriatic Arthritis