Psoriatic arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints. Overtime it can cause be damaging to the joints and cause disability. It is associated with a skin condition called psoriasis, but not everyone that has psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease which means the body attacks its own healthy tissue.
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The exact cause of psoriatic arthritis is not known. It may be due to a combination of genetics and environmental triggers.
Factors that increase the risk of psoriatic arthritis includes having:
Psoriatic arthritis usually develops in people who already have psoriasis. Symptoms that may indicate the development of psoriatic arthritis include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, especially information about your psoriasis. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will rule out similar conditions with the physical exam.
To look for signs of an inflammation and cause of joint problem your doctor may order:
In addition to treating you psoriasis, your doctor will also create a treatment plan that focuses on your arthritis symptoms. Treatment may include:
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
You may be referred to a physical or occupational therapist. These therapists can help you to improve your range of motion and your ability to do everyday activities.
Working with a mental health therapist may also be helpful for your overall well-being. You can learn ways to better cope with your chronic condition.
If you have severe pain and disability, your doctor may recommend:
There is no way to prevent psoriatic arthritis. If you have psoriasis and experience joint pain, talk to your doctor so you can be properly diagnosed.
National Psoriasis Foundation
The Arthritis Society
Canadian Rheumatology Association
Psoriatic arthritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated June 6, 2013. Accessed June 18, 2013.
Psoriatic arthritis. National Psoriasis Foundation website. Available at: Available at: http://www.psoriasis.org/psoriatic-arthritis/treatments . Accessed June 18, 2013.
What is psoriatic arthritis? Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthrit... . Accessed June 1, 2012.
Last reviewed December 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 12/3/2012