If a dermatologist is managing your psoriasis, they are likely keeping a watchful eye on both your skin and joints. If certain signs or symptoms arise, they may re-evaluate your management options, including treatments that may be new to you, or they may refer you to a rheumatologist for further examination. But you have a role to play, too. By being aware of your joints and remembering the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, you can take an active role in making sure your risk for psoriatic arthritis is understood, and that the condition is managed early if any symptoms arise.
If you have concerns that you might already have some of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a doctor to talk about your concerns in detail. If you don’t yet have a psoriasis diagnosis or a known family history of it, a thorough examination for psoriasis will likely take place, including searching in difficult-to-see places such as behind the ear, on the scalp, in the belly button area, and inside the buttocks. Your fingernails and toenails will also be examined for signs like pitted nails.
While most patients who develop psoriatic arthritis have skin symptoms of psoriasis first, in about 15% of cases, symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are noticed before psoriasis appears.