West County Rheumatology
Rheumatologists located in Saint Louis, MO
When you think of psoriasis, you likely think about the ways that it affects your skin. About 30% of psoriasis patients also develop an inflammatory condition affecting their joints called psoriatic arthritis. The experts at West County Rheumatology in Saint Louis frequently treat the joint stiffness and pain associated with psoriatic arthritis. To book your appointment with Sona Kamat, MD, FACR, or another member of our team, call the clinic or request an appointment online today.
Psoriatic Arthritis Q & A
What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that appears as a product of psoriasis. Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that most people associate with the patchy skin flare-ups that appear on your skin.
These flare-ups happen when your immune system attacks your healthy skin cells. Similarly, psoriatic arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks the healthy tissues in your joints.
Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have unknown causes, but experts think they’re linked to certain genes since they appear in families.
The symptoms aren’t always constant. They might be severe for a while before going into a period of remission, during which you don’t feel them at all. Overall, however, they tend to worsen with time as the inflammation wears away at your joints. For this reason, early diagnosis and treatment are imperative.
How can I tell if I have psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis typically appears after you’ve already developed symptoms of psoriasis, like scaly and itchy patches on your skin, dry skin, or lesions on your fingernails. However, this isn’t always the case. You might develop arthritic symptoms before you know you have psoriasis. In very rare cases, you can develop psoriatic arthritis without psoriasis.
Like other types of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis affects your joints’ comfort and mobility. Specifically, psoriatic arthritis usually results in:
- Swelling in your fingers and toes
- Pain in your lower back
- Pain in your heels and soles
- Joint stiffness in the morning
If you have symmetric psoriatic arthritis, five or more corresponding joints on both sides of your body express symptoms. With asymmetric psoriatic arthritis, you get symptoms on fewer than five joints, and they can be on either side of your body.
What are my treatment options for psoriatic arthritis?
The team at West County Rheumatology assesses your case of psoriatic arthritis to create an effective treatment plan. They may recommend or prescribe:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Infusion therapy with biologics
- Steroid injections
- Exercises to keep your joints mobile
While there’s currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis, catching your symptoms and starting treatment early helps ease the pain and gives you a better outcome for future mobility.
If you suspect that you’re developing psoriatic arthritis with or without symptoms of psoriasis, call West County Rheumatology or book an appointment online today.