Does Psoriasis Cause Joint Pain?

Can Psoriasis on knees and elbows cause joint pain?

Doctor Answers 7

Psoriatic arthritis can cause painful joints

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There are several variants of psoriasis including psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can be a progressive process impacting joints. Initially asymptomatic, the joints can be harmed over time, producing more pain. It is best to stop the destruction early on because often, it cannot be reversed. If you have not been seen by a dermatologist or rheumaologist for evaluation, it may be a good time to do so. There are many new therapies out there to help treat psoriasis which can positively impact the quality of your life.

Psoriasis causing joint pain

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Psoriasis + arthritis = psoriatic arthritis until proven otherwise. That is, I’d be very suspicious of a connection here. Good news is, there are very safe medications now on the market called biologics (i.e. Humira and Enbrel) that can treat both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis simultaneously.

Psoriasis causing arthritis or joint pain

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Psoriasis can most definitely cause joint pain or arthritis, commonly referred to as psoriatic arthritis. Most commonly, this occurs after 10 years or more of suffering with skin and/or nail psoriasis; however, there are instances where the arthritis precedes the skin condition. If you have both joint and skin involvement, or just joint involvement, then we'd consider traditional systemic (oral) therapy such as methotrexate, or more commonly these days the self-injected or infused biologic agents such as adalimumab, etanercept, ustekinumab or infliximab. Speak to your dermatologist about all your treatment options.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Psoriasis and Joint Pain

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Up to 20% of patients that have psoriasis can also develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is characterized by joint pains and stiffness. Over time, this progressive condition can destroy joints and be quite disabling in some individuals. There are good treatments available. Make sure you mention this to your physician. If you don;t already have one, make sure you see a dermatologist and rheumatologist - these physicians will confirm the diagnosis and work together to get you on the best regimen for your skin and joints. 

Adam J. Mamelak, MD
Austin Dermatologic Surgeon

Psoriasis can possibly cause joint pain

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About 20 per cent of people with psoriasis ( including myself) have psoriatic arthritis. If you wake up with morning stiffness, and it takes you about 30 minutes "to get going" you may have psoriatic arthritis. Pain in your hands along with sausage digits, or tenderness when you press down on the digits, or symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.

In many ways psoriatic arthritis behaves and is similar to rheumatoid arthritis. A simple blood test, an RA factor, can differentiate. A test called an anti-CCP (antibody to citrulline modified protein) can confirm the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. It would be essential to see a rheumatologist or dermatolgogist to have this evaluated. If you have psoriatic arthritis there are now excellent treatments.

Methotrexate is tried and true. Although it is very good for treating hands and feet arthritis it does not seem to help axial (spine) arthritis. For that problem, Humira and Enbrel, so-called biologics, are best. One of the reasons the bunch of us dermatologists are stressing early treatment is that the changes of psoriatic arthritis are not reversible and treatment is so good it would be a shame to end up like one of my patients.

At his appointment time they would wheel this man in who was nearly in a fetal position, so crippled by his psoriatic arthitis. He would smell as he could not urinate or defecate properly. This poor soul seemed to be bright enough, he would come with a book, and it must have terrible to present this sort of picture to the world. I believe he had been treated with methotrexate without benefit, long before I ever saw him.

There is absolutely no reason for this failure today, with the great drugs we have. So if you have psoriatic arthritis take advantage of these medications.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Psoriasis and joint pain

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There is a form of arthritis that occurs in up to 10-20% of individuals with psoriasis called psoriatic arthritis. Typical symptoms include morning stiffness and tender, swollen "sausage-like" fingers (if you have hand involvement) with involvement in a few of your joints.

I would consult with a dermatologist and rheumatologist as Dr. Lupo has suggested. The earlier this condition is addressed, the better, to prevent permanent joint damage and deformity.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist


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You could indeed have psoriatic arthritis. You should see boith your dermatologist and a rheumatologist to be sure. With so many new options to treat this condition, there is no reason to wonder. Good luck.

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