The places in your body where your bones are attached to each other are called joints. Your knees, hips and knuckles are joints. Sometimes joints get swelling around them and they can be painful and difficult to move. This is called arthritis. Some people with psoriasis get a special kind of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. This disease is chronic, which means it lasts a long time. It makes it harder for a person to move around, because their painful, swollen joints slow them down.
Psoriatic arthritis isn't contagious. That means you can't catch it from someone else who has it, and no one can catch it from you.
Your joints hurt because your immune system is causing the joints to swell up, becoming tender and stiff. This can feel really bad in the morning because you have not been moving around much while you were sleeping. Psoriatic arthritis can also make you feel tired all of the time. It can make you not able to stretch as far or move as much. This makes it harder to do things like walking, tying your shoes or anything else that involves moving your joints.
We don't know why some kids get psoriatic arthritis and others do not. We know that genetics and the environment might have something to do with what triggers your arthritis. Genetics is something you inherit or get from your mom and dad, like the shape of your nose or the color of your hair. Environmental factors include the things around you, like chemicals , infections or drugs that can get on or inside your body, the weather or other things around you. These environmental factors can trigger the inflammatory response that leads to psoriatic arthritis.
You are also more likely to get psoriatic arthritis if you already have psoriasis. Almost everyone with psoriatic arthritis had the skin disease (psoriasis) first. But in some kids, psoriatic arthritis might appear before you have psoriasis on the skin—sometimes years before!
You can get psoriatic arthritis at any time in your life. Most people who get it are between 30 and 50 years old. Not everyone with psoriasis gets psoriatic arthritis. If you knew three adults with psoriasis, probably only one of them would have psoriatic arthritis.
Doctors can treat psoriatic arthritis. You may see a special doctor called a rheumatologist, who is an expert at taking care of joints. If you go to the doctor and get treatment for the swelling, it will likely go away and keep the joint from being damaged. It is important that a doctor treats you very soon if you get psoriatic arthritis. That's because if the swelling stays in your joints for a long time, it can damage them. That damage can make it difficult to move and the joint may never be the same.
What to expect at your appointment >>>
Your doctor can tell you about different drugs that can help to reduce the inflammation (swelling), joint pain and stiffness. Changing what you eat doesn't seem to make a difference for psoriatic arthritis. However, a warm, stable climate (without a lot of changes in the weather) may help with the signs of the disease.
Exercise can help you stay strong and flexible. Stretching is also important—it helps to keep your joints flexible!
Heat, cold and rest can help to relieve pain. Follow your doctor's directions. Other treatments can include physical therapy and wearing splints. Sometimes, surgery may be needed.
Foot and ankle arthritis is common in psoriatic arthritis. It can cause a great deal of pain. Sometimes inserts (special-shaped pieces of padding) for your shoes or shoe can help relieve foot pain. A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the feet. A podiatrist can help people with psoriatic arthritis of the feet and ankles.
Visit the National Psoriasis Foundation website at www.psoriasis.org »
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