10 Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Is It Psoriatic Arthritis?
Certain forms of arthritis have similar symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis can all cause joint pain, inflammation, and a feeling of warmth in your joints.
So how can you tell them apart? There are some symptoms of psoriatic arthritis which set it apart from the others.
Read on to learn about 10 common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
Joint swelling occurs with both psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis. But psoriatic arthritis commonly causes a unique type of swelling in your fingers or toes.
With psoriatic arthritis, you may actually notice a “sausage-like” swelling in your digits before you notice any pain or swelling in your joints, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition to visible physical changes, these hand and foot deformities can be quite painful as well.
Pain in Your Feet
Joint pain is also common in both rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. However, psoriatic arthritis is more likely to also cause pain in your tendons, particularly in your feet.
Two conditions that can occur with psoriatic arthritis are plantar fasciitis (pain at the bottom of your foot), and Achilles tendonitis (pain in your heel). This pain occurs where your bones attach to your ligaments, making walking difficult and uncomfortable.
A secondary condition called “spondylitis” may occur with psoriatic arthritis. Also known as lower back pain, spondylitis leads to joint inflammation in two main areas: between your pelvis and spine, and between your spine’s vertebrae.
Psoriatic spondylitis occurs in about 20 percent of people who have psoriatic arthritis, according to the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA).
Both rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis can cause you to feel stiff and inflexible in the morning. This stiffness might make it difficult to move joints on either or both sides of your body.
You might notice similar stiffness when you first stand up after sitting in one spot for a period of time. As you start moving around, you’ll often feel less stiff, according to the American College of Dermatology. But it can last up to 45 minutes or longer.
Psoriatic arthritis can cause many nail problems and changes. These include “pitting”—which means depressions in your fingernails or toenails—or separation from your nail bed.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), nail dysfunctions can appear similar to fungus infections.
If your nails on either your hands or feet look discolored or have indentations, this could be a sign of psoriatic arthritis. In later stages, the nails can be crumble and may become very damaged.
Red Skin Patches
The NPF reports that as many as 85 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis experience skin problems prior to any noticeable joint issues.
Psoriasis—which is a red, scaly rash that appears on the body—is a common skin condition for people with psoriatic arthritis. It’s also a possible indicator of psoriatic arthritis.
As many as 30 percent of people with psoriasis will also develop psoriatic arthritis, according to the SAA.
People with psoriatic arthritis often feel tired due to the pain and inflammation caused by this immune disorder. Some arthritis medications may also cause a general fatigue.
Fatigue may have broader health implications for people with psoriatic arthritis. It can make it more difficult to conduct daily activities and to stay physically active. This can lead to other problems, like mood changes.
Psoriatic arthritis can lead to a reduced range of motion as a result of stiffness and pain in joints, as well as swelling and tenderness in tendons. Your own range of motion will depend on the severity of your other symptoms. It also will depend on how many joints are affected.
It can be helpful to try specific exercises to improve your range-of-motion. Exercising regularly can also help.
Eye swelling and eye pain are other side effects of psoriatic arthritis. Your doctor may diagnose conjunctivitis if you have redness in your eye tissues or around your eyelid.
Other possible eye problems that may go hand-in-hand with psoriatic arthritis include dry eye, vision changes, and lid swelling.
According to research published in Psoriasis Forum, around 30 percent of patients with psoriatic arthritis suffer from eye inflammation.
People with psoriatic arthritis often have anemia, which is caused by a drop in red blood cells and protein in your blood. Anemia can cause you to feel tired, look pale, and have trouble breathing properly. Psoriatic anemia is most often mild.
If you have other symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, your doctor may perform a blood test to see if you're anemic. If you are, it may help your doctor make a diagnosis.
Check It Out
Because arthritis types are often similar, you should speak to your doctor if you think you have arthritis. An examination, medical history, and discussing your symptoms will all help your doctor make a diagnosis. Your doctor can also give you a blood test to help detect some telltale signs of psoriatic arthritis, such as a high inflammation level and anemia.
With a proper diagnosis and treatment, you can avoid joint damage and relieve pain caused by psoriatic arthritis.
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- Psoriatic Arthritis. (n.d.). Spondylitis Association of America - Ankylosing Spondylitis and Related Disease Information & Support. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://www.spondylitis.org/about/psoriatic.aspx
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- Psoriatic arthritis: Signs and symptoms. (n.d.). American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/psoriatic-arthritis/signs-symptoms
- Psoriatic arthritis: Symptoms - MayoClinic.com. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/psoriatic-arthritis/DS00476/DSECTION=symptoms
- Psoriatic Eye Manifestations. (n.d.). Psoriasis Forum. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from www.psoriasis.org/files/pdfs/forum/Psoriatic-Eye-Manifestations-Forum_Fall_11_WEB.pdf
- Slide show: 7 fingernail problems not to ignore - MayoClinic.com. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nails/WO00055&slide=210 Pictures of Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms