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Harper Phillips - Jun 16, 2023 - 7 min read - 1k Likes

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis – Expert Guide

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a form of arthritis that often develops in people with psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. In this article, we’re going to cover what are the early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis from an expert’s point of view.

Early diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is crucial for managing symptoms and preventing joint damage. However, the early warning signs of the disease can be subtle and easily overlooked. In this section, we discuss the early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis that can help you identify the disease before it progresses.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body and can cause symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition, which means that it is long-lasting and can become progressively worse over time if left untreated. It is estimated that up to 30% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms Psoriasis Symptoms
Joint pain and stiffness Red, scaly patches on the skin
Swollen joints Dry skin that may crack and bleed
Fatigue Itching and burning
Inflammation of tendons and ligaments Thickened, discolored nails

Psoriatic arthritis can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the eyes, heart, and lungs. It can be difficult to diagnose psoriatic arthritis because its symptoms can be similar to other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

How is Psoriatic Arthritis Different?

Unlike other forms of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis can affect people of all ages and can develop at any time, even if they have never had psoriasis before. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause inflammation in the joints and connective tissues, leading to joint damage and deformity if left untreated.

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Additionally, psoriatic arthritis may cause symptoms to appear in particular patterns. For example, some people may experience joint pain and stiffness on one side of the body, whereas others may experience symptoms in both sides of the body. Some people may also develop a condition called enthesitis, which is inflammation of the areas where tendons and ligaments attach to bones.

Signs and Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis


Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints and skin. It can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and skin changes, and if left untreated, it can lead to permanent joint damage. Knowing the early warning signs is crucial for early diagnosis and treatment.

Joint Pain and Stiffness

Joint pain and stiffness are the hallmark symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. The pain can be mild or severe and can affect any joint in the body, including the fingers, toes, wrists, knees, and ankles. The pain is usually worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity, and it may improve with movement.

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Swelling of the joints is another common symptom of psoriatic arthritis. The affected joints may feel warm to the touch, and the swelling can make it difficult to move the joint. The swelling can also cause small bumps or nodules to form around the joint.


Many people with psoriatic arthritis experience fatigue, which can be severe and debilitating. The fatigue may be caused by the body’s immune response to the inflammation, as well as the chronic pain and disruption of sleep patterns.

Skin Changes

People with psoriatic arthritis often have a skin condition called psoriasis, which causes red, scaly patches on the skin. The skin changes may appear before or after the joint symptoms begin and can affect any part of the body, including the scalp, nails, and genitals.

Other common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Reduced range of motion in the affected joint
  • Tenderness or pain in the Achilles tendon or plantar fascia (heel pain)
  • Eye inflammation (uveitis)
  • Lower back pain or stiffness (in some cases)

It’s important to note that the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can vary from person to person, and some people may experience only mild symptoms.

“Joint pain and stiffness are the hallmark symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.”

Diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis

Treatment Options for Psoriatic Arthritis

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis can be challenging since its symptoms can be similar to those of other types of arthritis. However, early diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment and to prevent joint damage.

Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is based on a combination of several factors:

Diagnostic Criteria: Healthcare professionals use specific criteria to identify and diagnose psoriatic arthritis. These criteria involve evaluating the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests.
Blood Tests: Blood tests can help rule out other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. However, there is no single blood test that can confirm psoriatic arthritis.
Imaging Tests: Imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI, can help detect joint damage and inflammation. These tests can also help monitor the progression of psoriatic arthritis over time.

If you are experiencing joint pain, stiffness, or skin changes, it is important to seek medical attention. Your healthcare professional may refer you to a rheumatologist, a specialist in diagnosing and treating arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.

What Tests Will My Doctor Perform to Diagnose Psoriatic Arthritis?

If psoriatic arthritis is suspected, your healthcare professional may perform the following tests:

  1. Physical Examination: Your doctor will examine your joints and skin for signs of inflammation, swelling, and psoriasis.
  2. Blood Tests: Your doctor may perform blood tests to check for inflammation markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
  3. Imaging Tests: Your doctor may order imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI, to check for joint damage and inflammation.

Remember, early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent joint damage. If you suspect you may have psoriatic arthritis, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Treatment Options for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment to manage symptoms and prevent joint damage. Treatment options for psoriatic arthritis include medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and surgery.


Medication is often the first line of treatment for psoriatic arthritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologics are commonly prescribed medications to reduce inflammation and pain and slow the progression of joint damage.

Your doctor will determine the best medication for you based on the type and severity of your psoriatic arthritis. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medication as prescribed.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help improve joint flexibility, range of motion, and muscle strength. Exercises designed for psoriatic arthritis patients can also help reduce joint pain and stiffness.

A physical therapist can develop a personalized exercise plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. They can also teach you techniques to manage pain and prevent further joint damage.

Lifestyle Changes

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help manage psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Adequate rest, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can help improve joint function and overall well-being.

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can worsen psoriatic arthritis symptoms and should be avoided. Your doctor may also recommend specific dietary changes, such as reducing your intake of red meat and increasing your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts.


In severe cases of psoriatic arthritis, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace damaged joints. Joint replacement surgery can help relieve pain and restore mobility, while joint fusion surgery can help stabilize the joint and prevent further damage.

Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery and determine if it is the best option for you.

Living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis can be a challenging condition to live with, but there are many ways to manage its symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are some tips and advice to help you cope:

Stay Active

Regular exercise can help relieve joint pain and stiffness, increase flexibility, and improve overall health. Low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, and yoga are excellent options for people with psoriatic arthritis. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

Eat a Balanced Diet

A healthy diet can help manage inflammation and support joint health. Aim for a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks, which can exacerbate inflammation.

Get Enough Rest

Fatigue is a common symptom of psoriatic arthritis, so it’s important to get enough rest. Try to establish a regular sleep routine and make time for relaxation throughout the day. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about strategies to improve sleep quality.

Seek Support

Living with a chronic condition can be isolating, so it’s important to seek support from healthcare professionals, family, and friends. Joining a support group can also be helpful for meeting others who understand what you’re going through and sharing coping strategies.

Take Your Medications as Prescribed

Medications can help manage symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and prevent joint damage. It’s important to take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and to communicate any concerns or side effects with your healthcare team.

Practice Stress Management

Stress can worsen inflammation and trigger flare-ups of psoriatic arthritis. Try to find ways to manage stress, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle stretching. Regular exercise and getting enough rest can also help reduce stress.

Prevention and Outlook

Psoriatic arthritis cannot be prevented, but early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent joint damage and improve the quality of life for people with the condition. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, can also help manage symptoms and promote overall well-being.

The outlook for people with psoriatic arthritis varies depending on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of treatment. Some people may experience mild symptoms that are easily managed with medication and lifestyle changes, while others may experience more severe symptoms that require more intensive treatment.

It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to manage the condition and monitor for any changes or progression. With proper care and management, most people with psoriatic arthritis are able to maintain a good quality of life and continue to participate in the activities they enjoy.


In this section, we will answer some common questions about psoriatic arthritis that readers might have.

What is the relationship between psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are both autoimmune diseases that share an underlying genetic predisposition. Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. In some cases, psoriasis can lead to psoriatic arthritis, which causes inflammation in the joints.

Is psoriatic arthritis a disability?

Psoriatic arthritis can be a debilitating condition that impacts a person’s quality of life. In some cases, it can be considered a disability. However, this depends on the severity of the disease and how it affects a person’s ability to work or perform daily activities.

Can psoriatic arthritis be cured?

There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent joint damage. With proper treatment, many people with psoriatic arthritis are able to lead active and productive lives.

Is psoriatic arthritis contagious?

No, psoriatic arthritis is not contagious. It is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the joints.

What is the prognosis for psoriatic arthritis?

The prognosis for psoriatic arthritis varies from person to person. Some people experience mild symptoms that can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes, while others may have more severe symptoms that require more aggressive treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve the chances of a positive outcome.

Can psoriatic arthritis affect organs other than joints and skin?

Psoriatic arthritis primarily affects the joints and skin, but in rare cases, it can affect other organs such as the eyes, heart, and lungs. It is important to see a healthcare provider regularly to monitor for any potential complications.

Can psoriatic arthritis be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent psoriatic arthritis, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk of developing the condition. This includes exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Harper Phillips - Author

Greetings! I'm Harper Phillips, a dedicated Podiatrist specializing in the comprehensive care of the feet and ankles. With a deep commitment to promoting foot health and mobility, I bring 15 Years of experience in diagnosing, treating, and preventing a wide range of podiatric conditions.

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