Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease of the skin and nails. About 30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis and of these about 20% go on to experience some spinal involvement.
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis:
- Scaly skin patches
- ‘Sausage’ fingers and toes caused by swelling
- Pain and swelling in joints
- Pain and stiffness in the spine, especially at rest
- Discolouration of fingernails and toenails, together with pits, indentations and crumbling
- Iritis or red, painful eyes
Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis
A rheumatologist is best placed to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. Diagnosis can be difficult because PsA can mimic other conditions. A physical examination, individual and family medical history, blood tests and X-rays can all help in the diagnosis. If ‘sausage’ fingers or toes and fingernail or toenail discolouration and abnormity are present, the diagnosis is easier to make.