Does Psoriatic Arthritis Affect Elbows?

Reviewed on 7/21/2021

Psoriatic arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in joints such as the elbows, neck, back, shoulders, wrists, and fingers. It most commonly occurs in large joints of lower extremities such as the knees, feet, and ankles.
Psoriatic arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in joints such as the elbows, neck, back, shoulders, wrists, and fingers. It most commonly occurs in large joints of lower extremities such as the knees, feet, and ankles.

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can develop in people who have psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin condition that causes rapid skin cell growth and renewal. Psoriatic arthritis differs from other forms of arthritis because it involves the skin and it affects the joints differently. 

Areas of the Body Affected by Psoriatic Arthritis

The joint pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint including the elbows, neck, back, shoulders, wrists, and fingers, but it most commonly occurs in large joints of lower extremities such as the knees, feet, and ankles. 

In addition, the skin effects of psoriatic arthritis including red patches of skin with silvery scales (plaques), commonly occur on the elbows, scalp, knees, and around the ears.

What Are Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis?

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Skin effects
    • Skin rash (psoriasis)
    • Red patches of skin with silvery scales (plaques)
    • Skin redness and warmth 
    • Scaly and itchy skin
    • Thickening skin
  • Joint effects
    • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
      • Often on one side of the body
      • Pain is worse in the morning or after resting
    • Pain and stiffness of the neck and lower back
    • Back, hip, and shoulder pain
    • Reduced range of motion in the joints
    • Heel pain and foot pain 
  • Other symptoms
    • Fatigue
    • Sausage-like swelling of fingers and/or toes
    • Nails separate from nail bed
    • Pitted, crumbling nails
    • Eye inflammation such as pink eye (conjunctivitis

What Kind of Treatment Can Help Psoriatic Arthritis?

There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Treatment is aimed at relief of symptoms and prevention of further joint damage. 

For mild psoriatic arthritis, medications to treat pain and inflammation may be used such as:

Treatment for more severe cases of psoriatic arthritis may include: 

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Reviewed on 7/21/2021
References
https://www.psoriasis.org/

https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Psoriatic_Arthritis/default.asp

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/psoriatic-arthritis-beyond-the-basics

https://creakyjoints.org/

https://www.arthritis.org/

https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/