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What is Psoriatic arthritis? Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that evolves from the dermatological skin condition, psoriasis. Psoriatic Arthritis is similar to degenerative osteo arthritis in that it presents with pain within the joints, however each condition will respond differently to treatment. Psoriasis on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease affecting skin cells.


Psoriatic arthritis is most commonly a result of a pre-existing psoriatic skin disorder. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the healthy cells and tissues surrounding joints, creating an overproduction of inflammatory cells. There are thoughts it may occur due to an underlying bacterial or viral infection, which can be confirmed via a pathology testing, or as a result of genetic predisposition.


  • It is predominantly slow in development, however it can come on very quickly also
  • Excessive swelling, pain and tenderness over the toes (and possible other joints)
  • Stiffened joints and a reduction in the range of motion
  • Accompanying skin or nail psoriasis


Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritics is predominately based on clinical presentation. Multiple unexplained inflammation and pain within joints, as well as other false diagnoses and processes of elimination. Radiography (Xrays) can often pick up signs of Psoriatic Arthritis due to abnormal changes of bone shape and appearance, however these are only present as the condition progresses.


Pain is focused around relieving pain and swelling from the joints, thereby improving mobility and flexibility of the affected joints. Controlling the skin disease can also help to eliminate discomfort from psoriatic arthritis. Anti inflammatory medications may also assist in reducing the build up of inflammation, as might disease modifying drugs (DMARDs) however it is best to consult your practitioner before commencing with these treatments.


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