Psoriatic Arthritis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments Dev

Medically reviewed by Dr Ong Kee Leong, MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Ortho), Senior Consultant

What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an autoimmune and chronic inflammatory condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body. It’s a skin and joint disease that causes pain and inflammation in these areas.

Usually, someone who has psoriasis may develop arthritis, leading to PsA (a combination of both conditions).

The two main types of PsA include:

  • Oligoarticular. A milder type of arthritis that affects four or fewer joints.
  • Polyarticular. A more severe form of arthritis that affects four or more joints.


The symptoms of PsA may include:

  • Red and scaly rashes on your skin
  • Swelling and pain in joints
  • Stiffness
  • Pitted or discoloured nails
  • Obvious swelling of toe or finger


The specific cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown, but many believe that genes and bacteria play a significant role. If you have a family history of PsA, you are more likely to develop it.

Alternatively, bacteria from injuries may result in infections and set off an immune response from your body, which could lead to PsA as well.

What Doctors Treat Psoriatic Arthritis?

As psoriatic arthritis is a joint and skin condition, both orthopaedic specialists and dermatologists can treat it.

However, because PsA starts from developing psoriasis, a dermatologist singapore is commonly the first point of contact for treatment as they can treat skin-related conditions. They may be able to prescribe medications to alleviate itchiness and pain.

It is crucial to have a balanced treatment approach by seeking help from an orthopaedic specialist as well due to the inflammatory arthritis condition that may develop.


A physical examination may be conducted initially to check for psoriasis and its associated symptoms, such as rashes and pitted nails. Additionally, a full review of your medical history may also be done to help confirm a diagnosis.

Further imaging tests such as x-rays, MRI scans and ultrasounds can be conducted to diagnose the arthritis portion of PsA. X-rays can reveal cartilage changes and eliminate other reasons for pain, such as a bone fracture. At the same time, MRI scans and ultrasounds can show detailed images of your bones to reveal signs of inflammation and erosion of joints.

Additionally, blood tests may indicate inflammation and rule out other arthritis types, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Treatment Options

There are various treatment options for psoriatic arthritis. Most of these methods involve treating both the skin condition and joint inflammation.

They may include the following:

  • Physical therapy. A physiotherapist may propose simple stretching and strengthening exercises for you to restore your joints’ mobility, strength, and function.
  • Medications. Medicine can help to minimise inflammation and ease the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate and injectable biologics can help prevent arthritis progression. Corticosteroid injections
  • Cold compression to reduce swelling and pain
  • Dermatology treatment to reduce rashes
  • Surgery. This is performed when the symptoms of PsA do not respond well to non-surgical treatment options. Surgery can help repair or replace damaged joints to reduce pain and restore mobility.

"Moving your body the way nature intended is a freedom not well appreciated until it is lost. We are passionate about getting you back in the game, and staying in the game. Our team is fully committed to returning you to the life and activities you love."

Dr Ong Kee Leong

About Dr. Ong Kee Leong

Senior Consultant, MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Ortho)

Dr. Ong Kee Leong is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon. He subspecializes in shoulder and knee, foot and ankle, hand wrist and elbow surgeries, arthroscopic sports surgery, and the management of sports-related injuries.

He has been registered with the Singapore Medical Council as a specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery since 2011.

  • MBBS, National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Medicine 2001
  • Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 2007
  • Master of Medicine in Orthopaedic Surgery (NUS) 2007
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Orthopaedic Surgery 2011
  • Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) Scholarship, Ministry of Health 2012-2013:
  • Sports Surgery and Arthroscopy in Germany (Hannover)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lee Kong Chian School Of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University
  • Senior Clinical Lecturer, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
Awards & Teaching
  • Dr. Ong had received numerous awards such as Best Service and Eastern Health Alliance Caring (Gold) Awards.
  • He also has an interest in clinical research and has written papers in multiple peer-review journals. As a Core Faculty of Singhealth Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program, he oversees the training of junior orthopaedic surgeons.
  • Regularly invited to teach local and regional surgeons in Shoulder and Knee Surgery Courses.
  • He is a recipient of multiple teaching awards including the Singhealth Residency Outstanding Faculty Awards from 2014-2016 and Changi General Hospital Outstanding Educator Awards 2015-2016.

Why Do Patients Choose Dr Ong Kee Leong?

  • Dr. Ong Is Passionate In Sports, Giving Him A Deep Understanding Of Sports-Related Injuries And How They Can Be Treated
  • Fellowship Trained Surgeon With 15 Years Of Experience In Orthopaedic Conditions
  • Personalised And Professional Approach To Deliver High-Quality Orthopaedic Care Based On The Most Up-To-Date Literature
  • Detailed Aftercare Plan To Ensure Smooth, Long-Term Recovery
  • Problem-Oriented, Well-Organised and Individualized Treatment Plans Catered To Your Specific Needs
  • Specialist In The Management Of Sports Injuries And Degenerative Conditions Of The Shoulder And Knee Joints
  • Knowledgeable And Pleasant Clinical Staff To Assist You With Your Every Need Detailed Aftercare Plan To Ensure
  • Our Care Is Conveniently Accessible At Mount Elizabeth Novena and Farrer Park hospital
  • Minimal Waiting Time For Initial Consultation
  • Assistance With Medical Claims (e.g. Medisave & Integrated Shield Plans)

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