Pictures of Arthritis Rashes
Pictures of Arthritis Rashes
Arthritis comes in different forms, and not all symptoms are made equal. Pain and inflammation are common arthritis complaints, but rashes from arthritis are common too, particularly if you have an underlying inflammatory condition. Some rashes may not itch, but they can still be uncomfortable. Any unusual rash that lasts more than a week should be checked out and treated by your doctor – especially if you have arthritis.
How Does Arthritis Cause Rashes?
Arthritis occurs when joint tissues swell. This persistent inflammation causes pain. Pain is often the first and most prevalent symptom of arthritis, but inflammation can lead to other complications.
Certain forms of arthritis are related to diseases that actually prompt your body to destroy its own tissues, including joint tissue. This tissue damage can also cause rashes at the site of pain and swelling.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rashes
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis caused by an autoimmune disease. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA causes the body to attack healthy tissues. This is why redness and inflammation are more prominent in RA than osteoarthritis, although both conditions are painful.
Rashes are also more common in RA. The rashes are red and blotchy, and often occur on the hands and legs. They’re not necessarily itchy, but RA rashes can be bothersome, especially if they spread to your face and abdomen.
Skin Rashes in Lupus
Lupus is another type of rheumatic disease. It is not technically classified as arthritis, but it shares many of the same characteristics. Chronic inflammation from lupus causes joint pain, and patients can also experience skin rashes.
Lupus rashes are called cutaneous lupus. These rashes are red, raised bumps that can form into patches. They are most prominent on the arms and legs, as well as the scalp.
According to Kids Health, an estimated 15 percent of lupus patients have discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). This type of skin lupus can lead to permanent scarring from rashes.
Rashes from Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis is a chronic immune disease that increases skin cell turnover. A buildup of old and new skin cells results in red scales and plaque-white patches that are characteristic of psoriasis. Some rashes may also appear thick and silver in color.
Because psoriasis is inflammatory, it can lead to arthritis. According to the American College of Rheumatology, 15 percent of psoriasis patients will develop psoriatic arthritis. If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may experience an increased prevalence of psoriasis rashes around your joints. The rash can also spread to your nails, causing splitting and breakage.
Infections and Other Causes
Arthritis and related rashes may also be the result of severe illnesses. Improperly treated bacterial, fungal, and viral infections can penetrate into the joints between your bones. Inflammation may occur, along with a red, itchy skin rash. In these cases, it’s important to treat the infectious disease along with the inflammation.
Other Symptoms of Arthritis Rashes
Chronic rashes are a real cause for concern. This is especially the case if the rashes don’t improve with over-the-counter lotions, or end up spreading to other areas of your body. If you have a rash but aren’t sure if it’s related to arthritis, consider these other common symptoms of arthritis rashes:
- joint pain
- visible redness and swelling
- loss of appetite and weight loss
Treating More Than Just the Rash
Corticosteroid creams might be enough to treat some types of rashes, but arthritis rashes need extra treatment measures. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can reduce swelling, prevent future skin rashes, and relieve pain. You can try over-the-counter versions, such as Aleve and Motrin IB, first. If the pain and rash don’t respond, your doctor will likely recommend a prescription instead.
Keep Arthritis Rashes at Bay
Widespread arthritis rashes can be both embarrassing and discouraging. Even if a rash clears up today, if you don’t take preventive health measures, a new one might occur tomorrow. That’s why it’s important to take all of your medications as directed. You should also report any new symptoms to your doctor right away. Exercise and a healthy diet can also reduce inflammation and lift your spirits while you battle arthritis rashes.
- Psoriatic Arthritis (2012, September). American College of Rheumatology. Retrieved September 24, 2013 from http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/psoriaticarthritis.asp
- Living with Lupus (2011, September). Kids Health. Retrieved September 23, 2013 from http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/arthritis/lupus.html
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (n.d.). Medline Plus. Retrieved September 23, 2013 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/rheumatoidarthritis.html
- Living with Arthritis (2010, March). National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Retrieved September 23, 2013 from http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Arthritis/default.asp