Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the joints and where tendons and ligaments connect to bone. Like psoriasis, PsA is associated with related health conditions (comorbidities).
It can start at any age and may affect children. The disease often appears between ages 30 and 50. For many people, it starts about 10 years after psoriasis develops, but some develop PsA first or without ever developing or noticing psoriasis.
Though there is no cure, there is a growing range of treatments available to help stop the disease progression, lessen pain, protect joints and preserve range of motion. If you have or suspect you may have PsA, it is extremely important to work with a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in how the immune system affects joints, bone and muscles) to find the right treatment plan. For help finding a rheumatologist near you, contact the Patient Navigation Center.
Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of PsA can prevent or limit the extensive joint damage that can occur in later stages of the disease.
Symptoms of PsA
PsA can develop slowly, with mild symptoms, or it can develop quickly and severely. Some people may develop PsA in a joint after an injury. Development may also be related to genetics. Scientists estimate that at least 10 percent of the general population inherits one or more of the genes that create a predisposition to psoriasis.
- Tenderness, pain and swelling over tendons
- Swollen fingers and toes that sometimes resemble sausages
- Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints
- Reduced range of motion
- Morning stiffness and tiredness
- Nail changes, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed
- Redness and pain of the eye (uveitis)
- There is little connection between psoriasis severity and PsA severity. You could have few skin lesions but many joints affected by arthritis.