Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory and chronic arthritis that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Psoriatic arthritis is typically diagnosed in people with psoriasis – a skin condition that causes scaly, flaky red and white patches, usually occurring over joints. Occasionally, psoriatic arthritis presents before psoriasis is identified.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, which leads to stiffness, swelling, and pain typically in the joints of the hands and feet. Pain in the Achilles’ tendon or in the sole of the foot, called plantar fasciitis, is common among individuals with psoriatic arthritis.
Additionally, swelling of the fingers and toes is present, often called a “sausage digit” as the entire finger or toe will become swollen and tender. Occasionally, eye inflammation (uveitis) and gastrointestinal symptoms like chronic abdominal pain and diarrhea are associated with this type of inflammatory arthritis. In more severe cases, individuals may develop spondylitis, which causes inflammation and pain in the lower back.
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Options
Treatment of psoriatic arthritis focuses on decreasing inflammation and varies based on the severity of the individual’s symptoms. Mild cases may only require over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and close monitoring. If conservative treatments do not improve symptoms, then drugs that suppress the immune system may be carefully considered.
Living With Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis causes stiff and painful joints, which can lead to decreased function and disability. However, frequent exercise can help improve the feeling and flexibility of your joints. Walking is the best way to get exercise and stretch joints. Some patients find shoe inserts to reduce stress on the feet, ankles, and knees.
The majority of patients are able to manage their skin and arthritis symptoms with proper exercise and individualized treatment. Dr.Brionez of Advanced Rheumatology of Houston specializes in treating advanced psoriatic arthritis She is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and has been in private practice for more than ten years. Contact our office today at (281) 766-7886 to learn how to make your psoriatic arthritis symptoms more manageable.
Learn More About Psoriatic Arthritis
Frequently Asked Questions
How is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed?
Blood tests can rule out other conditions with similar symptoms like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or osteoarthritis. Blood tests typically include evaluating blood cell counts, liver and kidney function in addition to genetic markers and levels of inflammation. Once the condition has been diagnosed, the doctor will decide on treatment.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is an immune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy skin tissue. . This immune response triggers inflammation of the joints and an abundance of skin cells. Due to the excess inflammation and the overproduction of skin cells, patients typically experience joint pain.
There are genetic markers that are correlated with increased susceptibility to developing psoriatic arthritis. Environmental factors such as bacterial or viral infections can also increase a person’s likelihood of developing the disease.
What are the Complications of Psoriatic Arthritis?
Left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage and deformities. In severe cases, psoriatic arthritis can lead to arthritis mutilans, which is a rare form of disfiguring arthritis that causes significant bone loss. Patients with psoriatic arthritis are also more likely to develop heart disease due to the presence of widespread inflammation.
Who is Most At Risk for Getting Psoriatic Arthritis?
Men and women between the ages of 30 and 50 are typically diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. 15 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis in their lifetime.
Dr. Tamar Brionez
About Our Doctor
Dr. Brionez has more than 10 years of experience in diagnosing and treating rheumatic musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University and completed her Doctor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, she completed her Fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of Texas-Health Science Center. Dr. Brionez is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and has been in private practice since 2009.
Dr. Brionez is known for her dedication to her patients and her ability to diagnose complex conditions. She adheres to the highest standards of medical care while relying on cutting-edge technology and the most up-to-date medical research. Dr. Brionez has adopted a holistic view of her patients’ health and is considered a leading specialist in managing complex autoimmune disorders including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, osteoporosis, and many others. She is fluent in Spanish and is dedicated to hiring diverse staff to best meet her patients’ needs.