Psoriatic Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

May 7th 2016

Causes

Psoriatic arthritis attacks healthy cells and tissues when the immune system does not respond. The exact cause of the condition has not yet been determined, but people with a family history of arthritis or psoriasis may be more prone to developing the disease. A viral or bacterial infection, as well as physical trauma, can also trigger symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Age also plays a factor in the development of psoriatic arthritis. The condition is more prominent in adults between 30 and 50 years of age. Individuals with psoriasis are also more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis.

Symptoms

People with psoriatic arthritis experience symptoms that gradually worsen over time. The most common symptom is joint pain within the body. In addition, joints often become swollen and feel tender and stiff during intense stages of psoriatic arthritis. The condition can cause fingers and toes to swell, which can produce deformities in the hands and feet.

Extreme foot and lower back pain are also symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. The back of the heel and the sole of the foot are prone to tenderness, especially near points where the ligaments and tendons attach to the bones. Inflammation of the joints between the spine and vertebrae in the lower back can cause pain and tenderness. Some patients notice that joints are more stiff in the morning, which can result in a feeling of fatigue throughout the day.

Treatments

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis is focused on managing the symptoms of the disease. The most common method of treatment involves controlling inflammation of the joints with medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, enzyme inhibitors, biologic drugs and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

Physicians also recommend regular exercise to strengthen the muscles surrounding the stiff and sore joints. Low-impact movements and activity help to expand the patient's range of motion and reduce stress associated with the condition. Individuals experiencing intense pain can find relief with heat and cold therapy, massages, acupuncture and acupressure. In some cases, individuals choose to use splints and assistive devices to continue daily activities.

Conclusion

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints when the immune system is overactive. The disorder is commonly associated with psoriasis, which is a condition that produces red patches topped with silvery scales on the skin. It is possible for psoriatic arthritis to affect any part of the body, including both the spine and fingertips, and its intensity ranges from mild to severe. A cure for psoriatic arthritis does not exist as of 2015, so treatment is focused on reducing pain and controlling symptoms.

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