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Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a disease where joints around the body become painful, inflamed and sore. People who have PsA also have (or will develop) the skin condition psoriasis. Stiffness of the joints can also lead to reduced mobility.

There is much you can do to manage your symptoms.

Causes of psoriatic arthritis psoriatic arthritis

The exact cause of PsA is unknown. In most cases the arthritis develops after the appearance of psoriasis. Many people will find that their joints are stiff first thing in the morning or after resting.

PsA can be difficult to diagnose because you may have similar symptoms to people with other forms of arthritis.

How will psoriatic arthritis affect me?

Psoriatic arthritis can affect most joints. You may have:

  • spondylitis – a stiff, painful back or neck caused by inflammation in the spine
  • iritis – inflammation around the pupil of the eye
  • swollen and sore joints at the end of fingers or toes
  • constant tiredness and the need to rest

How is psoriatic arthritis treated?

Your doctor might prescribe you:

Ointments are the main form of skin treatments, but you may also need tablet treatment and light therapy (shining ultraviolet light on your skin).

How can I help myself with psoriatic arthritis?

There are several ways in which you can manage your condition:

  • exercise to maintain muscle strength and mobility
  • rest your joints – learning some relaxation techniques can help
  • reduce the strain on your joints by managing your weight

The Arthritis Care Helpline can offer further information.

Return to Types of Arthritis

I’m really proud to say that I study Law and Politics. It has been a struggle, I’m not going to sugar coat it - I have had to take a year out because of my condition, but at the same time I’m still going. I didn’t want to sit and be dependent on other people to look after me. I want to have an independent role in society.

Caitriona, juvenile arthritis sufferer, Belfast