6 Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease caused by an overactive immune system. This chronic condition occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells, causing tissue damage, body pain, joint problems, and other symptoms. Psoriatic arthritis is common among people suffering from psoriasis.

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to other conditions so diagnosing is tricky. In fact, psoriatic arthritis is often misdiagnosed that’s why it pays to know the symptoms of the disease for proper treatment. In today’s post, we are listing down the 6 common signs that point to psoriatic arthritis.

1. Scaly Skin

Psoriasis is a common skin disease that causes inflammation, itchiness, and flaky skin patches. More than 30% of patients suffering from psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Usually, psoriasis symptoms occur about five to ten years before the arthritis pains. However, about 10% of psoriasis sufferers are diagnosed with the skin condition and arthritis at the same time. That said, the severity of the arthritis is not dependent on the severity of the skin condition. Some psoriasis symptoms are so mild they are often overlooked.

2. Joint Pains

Patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis will experience throbbing, stiff, and painful joints that are warm to the touch. Stiffness is more pronounced in the morning, just as you are getting up. Psoriatic arthritis is typically mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are so similar because both conditions are caused by autoimmune attacks. The pain could subside and flare out as the day progresses. Because the immune system is attacking the body’s own joints, severe psoriatic arthritis may lead to joint replacement surgery.

3. Asymmetrical Pain

One of the hallmarks of psoriatic arthritis is asymmetrical pain. This symptom sets the condition apart from rheumatoid arthritis, which causes symmetrical pain. Asymmetrical pain occurs when one joint is painful and the other is not. Psoriatic arthritis usually affects larger bones in the body, such as the knees, ankles, or wrists.  More than 80% of patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis experience asymmetrical pains.

4. Swollen Fingers

Psoriatic arthritis also causes dactylitis or swelling of the fingers and toes. This condition is caused by the inflammation of the entire tendon that runs along the toes and fingers. More than 40% of people suffering from psoriatic arthritis are afflicted with dactylitis too. Because dactylitis is very rare in other forms of arthritis, it helps doctors distinguish psoriatic arthritis from similar conditions.

5. Foot Pain

Apart from dactylitis, psoriatic arthritis also causes enthesitis, which is inflammation of the enthuses. Entheses are areas where tendons or ligaments connect to bone. However, enthesitis is not unique to psoriatic arthritis. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus also experience foot pain.

6. Back Pain

Persistent back pain is also a telltale sign of psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation and stiffness within the spine, neck, and pelvis. This condition also causes inflammation within the ligaments and joints that are attached to the spine. About 1 in 5 psoriatic arthritis sufferers is afflicted with psoriatic spondylitis. This condition causes the spinal bones to fuse together.