Psoriatic Arthritis

Posted September 10, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 2 min read

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It affects about 1 million people in the United States, or 30% of people who have psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes a red, scaly rash, most often on your elbows, knees, ankles, feet, and hands.

Causes of Psoriatic Arthritis


Having a parent with psoriasis triples your chance of getting psoriasis and makes you more likely to have psoriatic arthritis.


An infection that sets off your immune system could be to blame. Psoriasis, for example, is often triggered by strep throat.

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

  • Swollen fingers and toes

  • Foot pain

  • Lower back pain

  • Fatigue

  • Swelling and pain around tendons

  • Stiffness and tiredness in the morning

  • Less range of motion

  • Nail changes

  • Eye redness and pain

  • Scaly skin, especially on your knees, elbows, and scalp

Diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis

  • Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds

  • Blood tests to rule out other kinds of arthritis and look for signs of inflammation

  • Tests of the fluid from your joints or tiny samples of skin

Treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

These are over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

  • These can slow or stop pain, swelling, and joint and tissue damage. If NSAIDs don’t work, your doctor will try DMARDs

  • They may take longer to work.


  • If you can’t take a DMARD, you might get a type of drug called an immunosuppressant.

  • These drugs curb your immune system, which is what’s causing the problem in an autoimmune condition like PsA.

  • But they can also make it more likely that you’ll get an infection.

UV light

Therapy with UVA light can ease skin symptoms in people who have severe psoriasis. But it may also raise your chances of skin cancer.


If immune suppression doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe a biologic. These are a newer type of DMARD. Rather than weaken your entire immune system, these medications block a protein that causes inflammation.

Enzyme inhibitor

This works by blocking a certain enzyme, a kind of protein, called PDE-4. That helps slow other reactions that lead to inflammation.


  • These can help control inflammation, but doctors don’t use them often for PsA because they can make your skin rash worse.

  • Doctors prescribe steroids only when you really need them.

  • If you use them for a long time, you could have serious side effects such as brittle bones, weight gain, hypertension, and diabetes.


A severely damaged joint can be replaced with a new one made from metal and plastic.

diseases disorders psoriatic-arthritis

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