Psoriasis

Can psoriasis affect my joints?

Yes, psoriasis is associated with joint problems in about 10%-35% of patients. In fact, sometimes joint pains may be the only sign of the disorder with completely clear skin. The joint disease associated with psoriasis is referred to as psoriatic arthritis. Patients may have inflammation of any joints (arthritis), although the joints of the hands, knees, and ankles tend to be most commonly affected. Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory, destructive form of arthritis and is treated with medications to stop the disease progression.

The average age for onset of psoriatic arthritis is 30-40 years of age. In most cases, the skin symptoms occur before the onset of the arthritis.

How do health-care professionals diagnose psoriasis?

The diagnosis of psoriasis is typically made by obtaining information from a physician examination, medical history, and relevant family history. Sometimes, lab tests including a microscopic examination of a skin biopsy and X-rays may necessary.

Can psoriasis affect only my nails?

Yes, psoriasis may involve solely the nails in a limited number of patients. Usually, the nail signs accompany the skin and arthritis symptoms. Nail psoriasis is typically very difficult to treat. Treatment options are somewhat limited and include potent topical steroids applied at the nail-base cuticle, injection of steroids at the nail-base cuticle, and oral or systemic medications as described below for the treatment of psoriasis.

Reviewed on 5/2/2014