Psoriatic arthritis commonly causes sore joints

Arthritis is a painful condition that causes swelling and stiffness in your joints. The condition can be caused by several factors, depending on your type of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, is caused by your immune system attacking healthy cells.

Psoriatic arthritis occurs simultaneously with a common skin condition called psoriasis. You may notice the symptoms of psoriasis (red, scaly rashes) before or after you start to have psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

Psoriatic arthritis can show itself in a couple of different ways, including:

  • Pain and swelling in your fingers or toes
  • Joint swelling in just one hand or foot on one side of your body
  • Deformities in your joints
  • Pain and swelling in your lower back

Psoriatic arthritis might look like other types of arthritis, but requires different treatments. Your doctor will need to do a thorough exam, including a blood test, to determine the cause of your arthritis.

Treatment combinations help you move more freely

Psoriatic arthritis is chronic, meaning it lasts a long time, and doesn’t currently have a cure. However, new treatments and medicines can help slow down psoriatic arthritis progression and relieve your symptoms.

You and your doctor will work together to decide on a combination of treatments that can help you. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Pain relievers – Your doctor can prescribe you strong pain relievers that help your joints feel better. Over-the- counter medicines, like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, may also help. You should take pain medicines exactly as your doctor tells you.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs – Corticosteroids help reduce swelling in your joints so you can move and feel better.
  • Immunosuppressive medicines – These medicines slow down your immune system, which can help with skin and joint symptoms of psoriasis. Biologic medicines also stop certain parts of your immune system, which can decrease swelling and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapists use many tools to help ease pain and let you move better. You may have certain exercises to build up muscle and increase your flexibility. Hot and cold therapy can also relieve pain and swelling.
  • Occupational therapy – Occupational therapists help you find ways to do daily tasks, such as buttoning your shirt, more easily. They teach you new ways to perform the tasks or give you tools, like button-hooks, that don’t stress out your joints.
  • Surgery – If joints become very damaged or deformed, you may need surgery to replace them or fuse them together. These new joints can be less painful and help you use your joints more easily. While fused joints can limit your ability to move, they can greatly reduce pain.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.