You Have A Hard Time Moving In The Morning
Psoriatic arthritis can make it incredibly hard to get out of bed when your alarm goes off. The disease can cause inflammation, worn joints, and tightness in the muscles and tendons that can all make you feel really stiff and immobile, especially in the morning after you havent moved around for many hours, says Mikulik.
This symptom can be incredibly wide-reaching some research suggests that morning stiffness affects about 70% of people with psoriatic arthritis.
Past Research And Achievements In This Area
In 2015, research led by our centre for genetics and genomics at the University of Manchester identified genetic variants associated with psoriatic arthritis, but not with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. This helped to establish psoriatic arthritis as a condition in its own right. The findings could lead to the development of drugs specifically for psoriatic arthritis.
Later in the same year, our TICOPA trial looked at the benefits of early aggressive drug treatment for people with psoriatic arthritis followed by an increase in drug dosage if initial treatment isnt working. The trial found that patients treated this way, required fewer hospital- and community-based services than patients receiving the standard care.
How Does It Affect Cartilage
In arthritis, the cartilage at the end of the bones becomes damaged and breaks down. In PsA, this damage results from persistent inflammation. As the cartilage erodes, the bones rub together, causing further pain and joint damage. Inflammation can also lead to bone erosion and extra bone growth.
Chronic inflammation can also affect the ligaments and tendons around the joint.
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When Psoriatic Disease Strikes The Hands And Feet
We take many common movements and activities for granted â until they become difficult or impossible to do. Get a grip on whatâs happening.
Our hands and feet are ultra-sensitive. Sensory neurons, which trigger pain sensations in the brain, cluster at the fingertips. The complex anatomical structure of hands and feet â with many joints, tendons and ligaments packed tightly together â gives us an acute sense of touch and lets us do precision movements. Our hands, particularly when used for communication through gesture, draw attention.Our feet are so important for our balance and mobility.
Thatâs why psoriatic disease, when it strikes the hands and feet, has an outsize effect. The symptoms can be more intense and more upsetting. Fingernail psoriasis, for instance, is often immediately noticeable and can make something as basic as a handshake feel uncomfortable. Pain and other symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in the hands and feet can make other routine tasks hard to accomplish.
Gary Bixby, who lost all his fingernails and toenails to severe psoriasis , says psoriatic nail disease makes it painful to chop fuel for his wood-burning stove, a frustrating problem during winters at his home in Blair, Wisconsin.
âIt was affecting more fingernails, then my toenails and large areas on my arms, legs and trunk,â says Bixby. âThatâs when I went to a podiatrist, who thought I had psoriasis, and then to a dermatologist, who confirmed it.”
What Does Psa In The Knees Feel Like
Many MyPsoriasisTeam members have shared how it feels to have PsA affect their knees. One MyPsoriasisTeam member wrote that their left knee was hot to the touch and that pain had spread to the area behind their knees. Another member with psoriasis and PsA commented, I dont know which is worse the knee pain or the psoriasis.
Some members have shared what its like to deal with a limited range of motion as a result of their PsA. One member, describing the stiffness they felt while walking, wrote: I felt like I was walking like a robot because my knees were so stiff and wouldnt bend right. This member added that although they made it through, they still experienced stiffness and some back-of-knee pain on one side the next day. Another member reported experiencing similar symptoms, writing: There are days my knees and legs lock up.
Many MyPsoriasisTeam members have expressed frustration while waiting to have surgery to help alleviate their symptoms. As one member wrote, The pain in my knees is getting worse every day. Im not sure how much longer I can keep putting off knee replacement surgery. I was told a year ago that was pretty much my last option.
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How Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Prevents Disease Progression
The primary way to slow the progression of PsA is through medications that modify the immune system. It may take trial and error to find the treatment that works best for a given patient, notes Dr. Haberman. While we have a lot of medication options for PsA, we dont know which ones a patient will respond to, so sometimes we need to try more than one medication to find the one thats right for that patient, she says.
In addition, medications that have been effective for you can stop working over time. If this happens, your doctor may recommend a medication that works differently say, targets a different part of the immune system to control disease activity.
There are many drugs used to treat PsA. The ones that you will use will depend on the type and severity of symptoms as well as the most problematic areas .
Medications use to treat PsA include:
Symptoms Of Psoriatic Arthritis
The severity of the condition can vary considerably from person to person. Some people may have severe problems affecting many joints, whereas others may only notice mild symptoms in 1 or 2 joints.
There may be times when your symptoms improve and periods when they get worse .
Relapses can be very difficult to predict, but can often be managed with medicine when they do occur.
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Early Stages Of Psoriatic Arthritis
Recognizing the signs of psoriatic arthritis can be tricky since symptoms differ from patient to patient. For example, one person can experience psoriasis skin involvement and peripheral arthritis, another may experience axial disease , and someone else could have a combination of all three.
Whats more, especially during early disease, you may confuse your symptoms with other conditions. People can mistake enthesitis, inflammation of the entheses for tennis elbow or dactylitis for an infection, explains Dr. Mikulik.
If you have psoriasis and are having pain in your tendon and musculature and you think maybe Ive been too active lately, that may be the first sign of PsA, says Dr. Haberman. Doctors commonly hear people chalk up their symptoms to overuse, such as getting more exercise than usual or doing work around the house.
If you experience any of the following signs of early psoriatic arthritis its important to see your doctor as soon as possible:
- Back pain
- Changes in your fingernails or toenails, including holes, pitting, discoloration, or softness
- Eye inflammation
- Sausage-like swelling of an entire finger or toe
- Scalp psoriasis
- Skin rash
- Tendon or ligament pain at the Achilles tendon, bottom of the foot , or elbow
Medications For Psa In The Shoulder
One of the main goals of treating PsA with medication is to control inflammation. Medication helps to reduce joint pain and prevent joint damage, and it might repair some of the previous damage to the joint.
There are several medications used to treat PsA and manage PsA pain.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation caused by PsA. These drugs include over-the-counter medications, like Ibuprofen, as well as other options only available by prescription.
These drugs may not be strong enough to work alone, however. As one MyPsoriasisTeam member wrote, Aleve and Ibuprofen aren’t helping my PsA shoulder pain. Your rheumatologist will work with you to determine whether NSAIDs are right for you and, if they are, which ones will be the most helpful.
Steroid Injections or Oral Steroid Treatments
Steroid injections are sometimes injected directly into the shoulder. They can quickly reduce inflammation and help ease painful joints caused by PsA. They can even keep pain and inflammation away for months at a time.
However, repeated injections into the same joint can cause damage, and the inflammation may be worse after the injection wears off. One MyPsoriasisTeam member explained, Im on day eight of the 10-day Prednisone taper. Yup, my stiff neck and shoulder pain are returning with a vengeance.
Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs
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It Hurts To Grip A Pen Or Bend Your Toes
Pain and swelling over tendonsa symptom known as tenosynovitisis a common symptom in people with psoriatic arthritis due to that persistent inflammation, says Mikulik. It tends to affect the tendons of the toes or fingers. Depending on how exactly it affects you, it might hurt when you try to rotate your wrist or grasp anything, according to the Mayo Clinic, or you may feel pain or stiffness when trying to move your feet and toes.
What Treatment Is Right For Me
The type of treatment will depend on how severe your symptoms are at the time of diagnosis with the goal being to control the disease to the point of remission and avoid complications. Medications may need to be changed over time to continue to maintain control and avoid disease progression and systemic effects. Some early indicators of more severe disease include onset at a young age, multiple joint involvement, and spinal involvement. Good control of the skin is important in the management of psoriatic arthritis. In many cases, you may be seen by two different types of healthcare providers, one in rheumatology and one in dermatology.
Early diagnosis and treatment can relieve pain and inflammation and help prevent progressive joint involvement and damage. Without treatment psoriatic arthritis can potentially be disabling, cause chronic pain, affect quality of life, and increase risk of heart disease. It is important to update your healthcare provider when you have a change in symptoms or if your medication regimen is no longer effective.
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How Psoriatic Arthritis Affects The Body
PsA causes a combination of skin and arthritis symptoms. These symptoms are caused by inflammation from an overreactive immune system.
Inflammation is the way the body protects and repairs itself from foreign substances. Characteristics of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. Inflammation may cause fevers, joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue, skin symptoms, and organ dysfunction.
PsA inflammation often affects larger joints and the distal joints of the fingers and toes. The distal joints are the first knuckles at the top of the fingers and toes.
How To Protect Your Bones With Psoriatic Arthritis And Psoriasis
The findings from this study emphasize how important it is to monitor your psoriasis and make sure you seek treatment if you think youre starting to show symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Early detection and treatment may delay bone erosion and bony spur development.
In addition to staying on top of your condition and seeing a specialist for a treatment plan, here are other ways to protect your bones:
Manage your weight: The researchers noted that that the groups of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis patients in this study had a higher BMI than those in the control group. Excess weight can cause added pressure on joints, exacerbating inflammation and pain.
Assess your calcium intake: Calcium is an important mineral for maintaining bone health. Making sure you get enough calcium from your diet can help strengthen your bones against fractures. Research shows people with psoriatic arthritis are more susceptible bone fractures.
Add weight-bearing moves to your exercise regimen: If your primary forms of exercise are swimming or biking, youre missing a chance to bolster your bone health. Weight-bearing exercises are those that force your body to work against gravity. These include walking, jogging, dancing, and sports like tennis and basketball. Swimming can be especially soothing when youre dealing with an arthritis flare, but aim to include weight-bearing exercise in your schedule regularly.
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Treatment For Psoriatic Arthritis
Treatment for psoriatic arthritis aims to:
- relieve symptoms
- slow the condition’s progression
- improve quality of life
This usually involves trying a number of different medicines, some of which can also treat the psoriasis. If possible, you should take 1 medicine to treat both your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
The main medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritis are:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- biological therapies
Who Is At Risk For Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis affects 2-3 percent of the population or approximately 7 million people in the U.S. and up to 30% of these people can develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis occurs most commonly in adults between the ages of 35 and 55 however, it can develop at any age. Psoriatic arthritis affects men and women equally.
It is possible to develop psoriatic arthritis with only a family history of psoriasis and while less common, psoriatic arthritis can occur before psoriasis appears. Children of parents with psoriasis are three times more likely to have psoriasis and are at greater risk for developing psoriatic arthritis. The most typical age of juvenile onset is 9-11 years of age.
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Is It Normal To Feel Fatigued In Psoriatic Disease
It is normal to feel tired after exertion, insufficient sleep or at the end of the day this tiredness is usually relieved by rest or sleep. With fatigue, the symptoms often go beyond normal tiredness and can include decreased or lack of energy with accompanying physical or mental exhaustion. These symptoms usually persist even after a good nights sleep.
In the UK, 10-20% of the population report being tired for a month or longer, with 1.5% feeling a need to see their GP. The symptoms often include difficulty sleeping muscle or joint pain headaches painful lymph nodes sore throat cognitive dysfunction symptoms made worse by physical or mental exertion flu-like symptoms dizziness nausea or palpitations.
Half The Battle Is Getting The Right Diagnosis
Teresa Dishner, 64, a former chemistry teacher from Virginia, saw her primary care doctor after experiencing sudden painful symptoms. I was having extreme pain while getting dressed, and my fingertips bled while teaching class, says Dishner, who was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2002. The doctor initially told her to simply lay off salt. But Dishner had a feeling that something more was amiss, so she decided to see a rheumatologist. Thats how she got the right diagnosis.
If you suspect theres something behind your pain, dont ignore it and think it will go away, says Renae Rabe, a finance manager living with psoriatic arthritis in West Allis, Wisconsin. She believes she had psoriatic arthritis for at least five years before receiving her diagnosis. Go to your doctor until you get answers, Rabe says.
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Who Will Be Responsible For My Healthcare
Youre likely to see a team of healthcare professionals.
Your doctor, usually a rheumatologist, will be responsible for your overall care. And a specialist nurse may help monitor your condition and treatments. A skin specialist called a dermatologist may be responsible for the treatment of your psoriasis.
You may also see:
- a physiotherapist, who can advise on exercises to help maintain your mobility
- an occupational therapist, who can help you protect your joints, for example, by using splints for the wrist or knee braces. You may be advised to change the way you do some tasks to reduce the strain on your joints.
- a podiatrist, who can assess your footcare needs and offer advice on special insoles and good supportive footwear.
Chair Selection Is Important
It can be extremely difficult to get in different types of seats, depending on their height, width, and design, because of pain or stiffness. Luckily, I was a chemistry teacher, so I had lab stools, which were much easier for me, Dishner says. But outside school I would find myself scanning a room to find the right chair.
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The Effects Of Psoriatic Arthritis On The Body
PsA is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack healthy parts of the body, mostly the skin and the joints.
This causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, either singly or throughout the body. Early treatment is essential to avoid long-term joint and tissue deterioration.
Psoriatic arthritis usually develops within 10 years of developing psoriasis. Skin psoriasis causes flare-ups of red, patchy skin that can occur anywhere on the body.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 30 percent of people with psoriasis eventually develop PsA.
In some cases, PsA is diagnosed before you have skin psoriasis because the arthritic symptoms might be more noticeable.
Its also possible to develop PsA without having psoriasis, especially if you have a family history of psoriasis. Both skin psoriasis and inflammatory types of arthritis are considered autoimmune disorders.
PsA is a chronic, or long-term, condition. Anyone can get it, but its most common between ages 30 and 50 years. Since theres no cure, treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and preventing permanent joint damage.
Research theorizes that genetics play a part in the development of psoriatic arthritis. Scientists are trying to find out which genes are involved. Identifying the genes may allow the development of gene therapy treatment.
You Feel Joint Pain But You Haven’t Been To The Doctor For It
Joint pain in the large joints, finger, and toes are usually signs of psoriatic disease. If you don’t treat you could obtain irreversible damage in your joints which can be prevented with the proper treatment if determined early on.
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