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
- 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).
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.