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Psoriatic arthritis: Overview


A guide for patients: Psoriatic arthritis

Dermatologist David M. Pariser, MD, FAAD, explains why it is so important for people who have psoriasis to let their doctor know if they have pain or swelling in their joints.

Dermatologist David M. Pariser, MD, FAAD, explains why it is so important for people who have psoriasis to let their doctor know if they have pain or swelling in their joints.


What is psoriatic arthritis?

Do you have psoriasis? If so, it's important to pay attention to your joints. Some people who have psoriasis get a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. 

This arthritis often begins with a few swollen joints. A single finger or toe may be noticeably swollen. Some people feel stiff when they wake up. As they move around, the stiffness fades.

Most people get psoriatic arthritis about 5 to 12 years after psoriasis. This arthritis can show up earlier. Some people get psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis at the same time. A few get psoriatic arthritis first and psoriasis later.

If you have psoriasis, there is no way to tell whether you will get psoriatic arthritis. This is why it is important to pay attention to swollen joints. An early diagnosis and treatment will help. These can reduce the effect that arthritis has on your life.

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis includes physical therapy, arthritis-friendly exercise, and medicine. A few medicines can prevent psoriatic arthritis from worsening and damaging your joints. Not everyone needs this medicine.

Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is often a lifelong medical condition. It can flare and clear unpredictably.


All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Supported in part by Novartis.

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