While you are most likely familiar with the
rheumatic condition arthritis – you may not have heard of psoriatic arthritis. So what
is this condition, what are the signs and symptoms and what can help manage them?
Psoriatic arthritis is a condition involving joint inflammation that usually occurs in
combination with the skin disorder psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition
characterized by patches of red, irritated skin that are often covered by flaky white
scales. Signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include stiff, painful joints with redness,
heat, and swelling in the surrounding tissues. When the hands and feet are affected, swelling
and redness may result in a “sausage-like” appearance of the fingers or toes. Other symptoms
may include fatigue, exhaustion and changes to the nails and separation from the nail
bed. The cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown, however, some researchers believe it could
be genetic. Many patients are treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs called
NSAIDS that help with reducing pain and decreasing swelling in the joints. Other treatment options
may include: disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, tumor necrosis factors, joint injections
with corticosteroids and surgery.