What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. This causes the joints to become painful, stiff and often swollen. Usually only people who have a skin disease called psoriasis are affected by psoriatic arthritis. Only one or two out of every 10 people with psoriasis will develop this type of arthritis.
What are the symptoms?
Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body and symptoms can vary from person to person. It can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or come on quickly and be severe. The most common symptoms are: • pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints • pain and stiffness in the buttocks, lower back or neck (also known as spondylitis, meaning inflammation of the spine) • pain in tendons, such as at the back of the heel or sole of the foot (tendons are the strong cords that attach muscles onto bones) • changes in nails, such as thickening, colour change or separation from the skin • pain and redness in the eyes.
What causes it?
The exact cause of psoriatic arthritis is not known. Genetics, the immune system and environmental factors, such as an infection, may play roles in causing this type of arthritis. This has yet to be proven in research. A certain gene called HLA-B27 is associated with psoriatic arthritis, especially inflammation of the spine. However this is a perfectly normal gene and there are many more people who have this gene and do not get psoriatic arthritis.
For more information about Psoriatic Arthritis, download the info sheet.