Arthritis is a group of diseases that makes your joints hurt, swell up, and turn red. There are many different types of arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition causing flare-ups of red, scaly rashes and thickened, pitted nails.
Psoriatic arthritis happens when your body's immune system (organs and cells that fight infection) attacks your joints and tissues around them. Doctors don’t know exactly why this happens.
You're more likely to get psoriatic arthritis if someone in your family has it.
You may have one or more of the following:
Psoriasis causes a rash. The rash may appear before or after you have joint pain. You may not notice the rash if it's hidden in your scalp, navel, or creases of your skin. The skin and joint symptoms sometimes appear and disappear together, but often either the skin or the joint symptoms are worse than the other.
Doctors can tell if you have psoriatic arthritis based on your symptoms and family history and by doing an exam. They will also do tests:
X-rays to see how damaged your joints are
Blood tests to rule out other types of arthritis
Sometimes tests to look at joint fluid, if the joint is swollen
Doctors will prescribe medicines to control the rash and lessen the swelling in your joints. Medicines that can help psoriatic arthritis include:
Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by mouth or creams that can be rubbed on the skin over painful joints
Injections of corticosteroids into the joint
Injections of medicines that keep the immune system from attacking the joints and also help clear up the psoriasis rash
Doctors may prescribe physical therapy and exercises to help keep your joints moving.
When other treatments don't work, doctors may suggest surgery to replace a badly damaged joint with an artificial one.