Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. The condition can develop in patients who have psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin condition that causes rapid skin cell growth and renewal.
The joint pain, swelling, and stiffness felt in psoriatic arthritis are often just on one side of the body. Psoriatic arthritis pain can affect any joint, but commonly occurs in large joints of the lower extremities such as the knees and ankles.
Pain may also occur in the neck, lower back, hips, shoulders, heels, and feet.
Psoriatic arthritis pain may be described as:
- Worse in the morning or after resting
- Warm to the touch
Other symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:
- Skin rash (psoriasis)
- Red patches of skin with silvery scales (plaques)
- Commonly appears on the scalp, elbows, knees, and around the ears
- Skin redness and warmth
- Scaly and itchy skin
- Thickening skin
- Reduced range of motion in the joints
- Sausage-like swelling of fingers and/or toes
- Nails separate from nail bed
- Pitted, crumbling nails
- Eye inflammation such as pink eye (conjunctivitis)
What Medications Treat Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms?
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis and the goal of treatment is to relive symptoms and prevent further joint damage.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to treat pain and inflammation in mild psoriatic arthritis:
Treatment for more severe cases of psoriatic arthritis may include:
- Corticosteroid injections into the joints
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Antitumor necrosis factor (TNF) agents (also called biologics)
- Topical treatments for psoriasis symptoms
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