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What is psoriatic arthritis?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Psoriatic arthritis strikes up to 30% of people with psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition that causes chronic irritation and plaques. Psoriatic arthritis typically triggers joint pain, stiffness, and swelling of the fingertips and spine. Flare-ups may happen after long periods of remission.

As many as one-third of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which can cause permanent joint damage, just like other forms of arthritis. Small joints of the hands and feet are frequently affected, but larger joints may also be hit, becoming painful, swollen, and hard to move.

Sometimes psoriatic arthritis happens before any skin changes occur, and some people never even develop skin changes. But they often have severe problems with psoriatic nail damage and in some cases also develop painful eye inflammation called uveitis or iritis.

Like all arthritis, psoriatic arthritis should be treated early to prevent joint damage.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.