Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory arthritis that can occur in people with the skin condition psoriasis. Researchers have concluded that PsA affects about 30% of individuals with psoriasis and approximately 1% of the general population.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can vary widely from one person to another, but the most common ones include the following:
- Joint pain and stiffness: PsA can cause pain and stiffness in any joint in the body but most commonly affects those in the toes, fingers, and lower back.
- Swelling and redness: The affected joints may become swollen and red and feel warm to the touch.
- Psoriasis: Many people with PsA have psoriasis, a condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin.
- Nail changes: PsA can also cause nail changes, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis?
The exact cause of PsA is unknown, but medical experts believe a dysfunctional immune system combined with genetic and environmental factors causes it. The immune system in PsA patients attacks the joints and skin, leading to inflammation, pain, and other symptoms. Smoking, obesity, stress, and other lifestyle factors may increase the risk of developing PsA, while infections and injuries may trigger the condition in individuals genetically predisposed to it.
How We Diagnose PsA
Diagnosing PsA can be challenging because there is no specific test for the condition. To make a diagnosis, doctors will typically use a physical exam and a combination of medical history, imaging studies, and laboratory tests. Blood tests may also be performed to rule out other types of arthritis.
Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis
Several treatments can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of PsA, including the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These medications can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain in affected joints.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These drugs are designed to slow the progression of PsA by suppressing the immune system.
- Biologics: These types of DMARD target specific immune system proteins involved in inflammation.
- Steroids: In severe cases of PsA, steroids may be able to reduce inflammation and relieve pain quickly.
- Physical therapy: Exercise and physical therapy can help improve joint function and reduce pain and stiffness.
- Lifestyle changes: A healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management can help reduce the severity of PsA symptoms.
Psoriatic arthritis is a complex condition. It can sometimes cause significant joint damage and disability, but early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent this. PsA’s prognosis varies widely from patient to patient, but most individuals can manage their symptoms and lead active lives.
If you suspect you may have psoriatic arthritis or have been diagnosed with psoriasis and are experiencing joint pain or other symptoms, it’s crucial to seek professional medical evaluation and treatment. Schedule an appointment with our Rheumatology team at SMC Physicians to receive a comprehensive assessment, personalized treatment options, and guidance on managing your psoriatic arthritis symptoms effectively. Take the first step towards improved joint health and overall well-being today.
Conditions We Treat
We provide ultrasound-guided arthrocentesis (joint injections) of both steroids and gel injections such as Orthovisc and Synvisc.
We offer a state-of-the art private infusion center at each location, offering the following medications and more:
Our Rheumatology Locations: